Model United Nations NGO Guide
Since the founding of the United Nations, NGOs have been critical members of the policy and implementation process. NGOs, or Non-Governmental Organizations, are non-profit organizations working on humanitarian, human rights, and sustainable development issues worldwide. In Model UN, knowledge of NGOs will help you write a better position paper, deliver stronger speeches, and write more informed and realistic resolutions. However, in Model UN students often have a hard time finding NGOs to help with their solutions, and often use NGOs in the entirely wrong way! We’re hoping to fix that.
On this page, we give you a list of NGOs working in nearly every area of work of the United Nations. However, before scrolling through this list (sorted by Sustainable Development Goal), we first need to discuss how to use NGOs in a Model UN Conference.
In the UN System, NGOs have three main roles:
- Sharing their research and expertise with the United Nations in the policy-making process
- Working directly with UN Departments and Programs to assist in the implementation of solutions
- Using their networks and local contacts to amplify the work of the UN through disseminating information and bringing global access to remote or unknown areas
This means that NGOs do not fund the UN, UN Programs, or UN solutions. They also do not take orders from the United Nations, though the UN can make recommendations for NGOs.
These facts give you many opportunities to use NGOs to make you a better delegate in Model UN. For example:
- In your Position Paper, use research and solutions from NGOs to strengthen your ideas.
- In your Opening Speech, use NGOs to demonstrate why your solutions already work, and to show that your ideas and realistic and well-planned.
- In your Preambular Clauses, use NGOs to call attention to issue and recognize their hard work.
- In your Operative Clauses, use NGOs as a local network to help implement your solutions, as an amplifier for your public awareness campaigns, or as a reference point for new creative solutions.
By coming to a conference prepared with the NGOs working on your topic (which you can find below), you can bring new ideas grounded in real-world solutions to the topic in your committee.
Acumen was founded in 2001 by CISCO and the Rockefeller Foundation to help build financial sustainability in organizations and small businesses in developing countries. Acumen makes investments in enterprises ranging from $300,000-$2,000,000 in six key areas: Water, Health, Housing, Energy, Agriculture, and Education. Rather than a traditional grant-making organization, Acumen invests in organizations rather than giving grants, and partners with corporate entities to find the capital for these initial investments to create new enterprises across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
BRAC is a Bangladeshi-based NGO that has worked to alleviate poverty since 1972. It is considered by some to be the largest NGO in the world in terms of staff employed. BRAC works in Asia, Africa, and Haiti, and focuses on educating the “ultra-poor”, providing them with resources to start businesses, and giving them a support community to lift families out of poverty. BRAC has a strong focus on women and girls, and over 70% of their 100,000-person staff are women. BRAC works on economic development, education, public health, social development, and disaster relief.
CARE began following the Second World War when they sent “CARE Packages” to European communities to stem the rates of hunger in war-torn regions across Europe, however CARE now works globally. CARE International is a broad-ranging relief organization that focuses on several sectors to reduce global poverty. CARE works in over 90 countries, and operates over 900 projects annually. CARE’s main areas of work include HIV/AIDS, Food Security, Education, Gender Equality, Climate Change Mitigation, Water and Sanitation, and Economic Development in developing and least-developed countries.
Concern Worldwide is an Ireland-based development organization employing over 3,000 development professionals worldwide. Concern works on long-term poverty eradication in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean through education and medical support. Concern also works on disaster relief globally, and forms part of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership. Concern manages the “1000 days” campaign, seeking to improve nutrition for the 1000 days from the start of a pregnancy to the second birthday of a child. Concern’s three core areas of work are Climate Resilience, Health & Nutrition, and Emergency Response.
Oxfam International consists of 17 organizations within 90 countries, aiming to alleviate poverty around the world. Oxfam focuses on disaster management, inequality, and access to food. In immediate disaster situations, Oxfam assists with providing basic essentials such as hot meals, clean drinking water, and health care. In economic and social development, Oxfam provides business training and school supplies using donations.
Mercy Corps is a global humanitarian aid organization of over 4,000 staff dedicated to providing emergency assistance, medical support, food relief, and economic development in post-conflict and disaster–stricken areas. One of the main forms of support provided by Mercy Corps is financial services to help guarantee to these other forms of support. To this day, Mercy Corps has supported over 16.7 million people with over $2 billion in financial services in over 40 different countries.
The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian relief organization founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein. The IRC provided emergency support to refugees and those displaced by war in over 40 countries. The IRCs main focuses are refugee resettlement, refugee camp support, and emergency aid to displaced persons. The IRC actively campaigns for the US to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
World Vision is an international faith-based organization working in over 90 countries with annual revenues of nearly $3 Billion each year. Partnering with a variety of different UN organizations, World Vision works on emergency relief, education, health care, promotion of justice, and economic development. World Vision has over 40,000 employees globally.
The One Acre Fund is an NGO that seeks to eradicate poverty and end hunger by empowering smallholder farms in developing countries. The One Acre Fund provides financing, seeds and supplies, training, and a network for farmers to develop their own farms to feed their families and their communities. The One Acre Fund currently works in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya, and helps more than 200,000 farm families each year. The One Acre Fund currently works with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and corporate partners.
Heifer International seeks to eradicate poverty and hunger by sending livestock to families in need in developing countries and giving training in agriculture and animal husbandry. These animals are meant to provide self-sufficiency, and any offspring from the animals provided are to be shared with others in the community. Heifer International has distributed animals to more than 10 million families in over 125 countries. Heifer International holds “passing on the gift” as a core goal of their programs, encouraging families to become donors themselves through the products or offspring of the animals they are granted.
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) was developed at the 2002 Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children to address global hunger and malnutrition. GAIN works globally to guarantee proper nutrition for people living in poverty by working on food fortification (increasing the vitamin yields in foods), maternal and infant nutrition (through nutrition supplements), and assisting communities to develop more nutritious crops on their farms. GAIN has led to a 30% reduction in anemia of childbearing age women in China, a 5% reduction in Vitamin A deficiency for children in Nigeria, and many other impacts across Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Kickstart International is a non-profit that provides manually-powered water pumps for irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kickstart seeks to empower farms to make more money and become self sufficient by giving them year-round access to water, rather than seasonal subsistence farming. Kickstart has sold more than 250,000 pumps for less than $200 each. Kickstart has received awards for their work with women and girls in rural areas from the U.S. State Department, and is a common case-study for enterprise-model NGOs in developing countries.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is by most standards the largest international NGO, comprising 97 million worldwide volunteers, staff, and organization members worldwide. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the parent organization of Red Cross and Red Crescent Federations worldwide, initially founded in 1863 as the International Committee of the Red Cross, and as won the Nobel Peace Prize on three separate occasions. With nearly $4 Billion in revenue each year, the Red Cross has the ability to operate in nearly every country worldwide. The ICRC provides emergency medical support, health services, food aid, and myriad other humanitarian relief activities worldwide.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is a worldwide medical humanitarian organization that has reached over 80 countries in its efforts to provide aid to those struggling to survive when facing epidemics, hunger, displacement and natural disasters. In 1999, MSF won the Nobel Peace Prize due to its dedication to helping those who require medical assistance most, regardless of political and religious affiliations. MSF generates 90% of it’s funding from private donors, letting the organization utilize this money without any influence. Due to MSF’s successes, the organization is now capable of ensuring the transportation of required equipment to any area globally in under 24 hours.
Partners in Health strives to provide health care in areas where either minimal or no aid is available to poor patients. PIH works closely with the local government of nations and their medical and academic institutions for effective results in the following four stages: arriving in the area and discerning the amount of aid required, making personal house visits to patients to provide medication and medical advise, creating a healthcare system in conjunction with local institutions, and establishing a long term plan to assess the progress of the area. PIH is currently working in the following countries and communities: Haiti, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Russia, Peru, the U.S. Navajo Nation, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is determined to salvage the lives of the individuals living with HIV/AIDs in the developing countries. The primary approach CHAI has taken is to provide more affordable antiretroviral treatment to individuals win developing countries. Ever since the creation of this organization in 2002, the Clinton Health Access Initiative has made antiretroviral treatment accessible to over 4 million patients globally. CHAI is currently expanding efforts to make viral load testing for those affected by HIV in the developing nations more accessible, thus helping to identify and stop the spread of HIV from infected patients.
Amref serves as an organization with the priority of training the health workers of Africa in the medical areas which affect the continent to the greatest extent. 90% of Amref staff is African, contributing to local economies and carrying knowledge of the local traditions and challenges faced in each of their communities. Amref currently operates 160 programs in 30 African countries targeting the need to train health workers to address to following six health challenges: Maternal Health, Child Health, Infectious Diseases, Surgical Outreach, Water and Sanitation, and Health Worker Training.
Established in 1919 as a fund to provide food for children facing starvation post-WWI, Save the Children has grown to dedicate its efforts to all dangers children face around the world. Currently, Save The Children works in 120 countries and has been able to directly reach 55 million children through their efforts. Save The Children is dedicated towards creating a world where all children are ensured the rights to survival, protection, development and participation. While offering on-the-ground aid in times of emergencies, Save the Children also works to establish long term plans focused around restoring the lives of any children affected by natural disasters and war.
Handicap International, the co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, is an organization dedicated to aiding victims of mine-related accidents and violence. Handicap International works in areas with overwhelming poverty and vulnerable populations due to the effects of these mine-related accidents to clear war debris and provide education to prevent further accidents. Many of these victims have disabilities and Handicap International works to create health and rehabilitation programs to integrate these affected individuals back into society. By providing education, reform programs and case-by-case care, Handicap International aims to protect the rights of individuals and improve their living conditions.
Riders for Health is a group focused on the need to acquire reliable transport throughout the African continent to be able to transport doctors and medicines efficiently. Without the ability to transport aid, the focus of many groups would be concentrated in high-population areas, which is why Riders for Health specializes in managing and maintaining vehicles for efficient transportation in sub-Saharan Africa. The management of four-wheel vehicles in conjunction with partnerships with the Ministries of Health, international and African-based NGOs and private sector organizations, Riders for Health delivers crucial health care to communities in Africa in a reliable and effective manner. Currently working in seven nations across Africa, Riders for Health has upgraded health care access to over 21 million people through the provision of 4-wheel vehicles and bicycles to health care workers.
Helen Keller International
Helen Keller International aims to prevent blindness and malnutrition through the enhancement of research and education worldwide. Helen Keller International relies on research conducted towards both blindness and malnutrition to advance medical solutions and access to these solutions for individuals in poor communities seeking access to these medicines. Helen Keller International also works to provide care for those with eye diseases to prevent vision loss. With 180 programs in 21 African and Asian nations, Helen Keller International collaborates with local groups and national organizations to create programs catered to the needs of different communities.
The Fred Hollows Foundation strives to prevent avoidable blindness in local communities. Many people who are blind in rural communities are blind due to the lack of access to quality healthcare or nutrition and the Fred Hollows Foundation helps provide individuals with this necessary care. The foundation also works to empower communities by training local nurses and doctors how to recognize, diagnose and treat eye problems which lead to blindness. Working in 25 countries, the FHF has prevented over 2 million people from losing partial or full eyesight.
Founded in 1991, the Brazil Child Health Organization aims to encourage health awareness in Brazilian families with children who suffer chronic diseases while living in poverty. To promote the well-being of these children, Brazil Child Health focuses on education of families, access to medical diagnoses, and promotion of stable, health households. BCH bases its work on the Family Action Plan which outlines the actions families in poverty should take when a member of their family is suffering with chronic or life-threatening diseases.
Founded in 2000, Gavi is an International Vaccine Alliance which partners the public and private sector to improve access to vaccines for individuals in developing countries. With the mission of creating equal access to necessary vaccines, Gavi funds vaccine production which leads to the drop in price in developing nations where individuals may be priced out of access to these vaccines otherwise. Gavi works towards co-financing policies which require nations to attribute money to the productions of more vaccines, putting pressure on governments to provide better care for their people. Since 2000, Gavi has provided vaccinations for over 500 million children and has prevented over 7 million deaths.
Population Services International (PSI) focuses on improving the health of individuals in developing nations. PSI stands firm with the belief that health services are only effective when communication is applied in communities, to ensure the community-wide acceptance of health efforts. PSI works in conjunction with local governments, ministries and local organizations in the following health challenges facing developing countries: lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. PSI has helped prevent over 5,000,000 unintended pregnancies and save over 270,000 lives due to efforts made to address diseases like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia which primarily target children.
The Wikimedia Foundation is an organization dedicated to providing the public with free, educational content through their platform Wikipedia and many other sources. Wikimedia strives to become one of the world’s largest web databases and use its local influence to create catered community programs and bring free access to information previously limited to those with access to extensive libraries or the finances to buy the information that the foundation now shares for free. In 2015, The Global Journal named the Wikimedia Foundation the #1 Education NGO globally. The Foundation does not utilize advertisements as a source of funding and is funded solely off of donations they receive worldwide, which total in excess of $75 Million each year.
Room to Read is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that aims to improve child literacy and gender equality in global education systems. Room to Read operates in Europe, Asia, and Africa to assist elementary school children with developing literacy skills. In addition, Room to Read provides students with donated books and sets up libraries in communities where there was previously a lack of access to sources of literature. Room to Read has established more than 17,000 libraries and 1930 schools as part of their goal to lift millions out of poverty.
With the goal of providing universal education, Pratham has grown to be the largest education NGO in India, with programs in over 21 Indian states. In order to create better education-focused solutions to poverty, Pratham established “The Annual Status of Education Report” to assess the problems of education in developing nations. Pratham places the establishment of preschool education first, seeing that as the first step to exposing more children to education earlier, and keep them in school throughout their childhoods. Pratham works to bring the thousands of children it helps a year from basic familiarity they have regarding issues in their everyday lives to a deeper understanding of the causes of and solutions to these challenges. For Pratham’s successes in expanding education, the organization has been awarded the Global Development Network Award.
Fundacion Escuela Nueva is a Colombian NGO providing quality education to underprivileged children. Since 1987, the NGO has maintained various schools known as “Escuelas Nuevas” to battle poverty. Primarily operating in South America and Asia, Fundacion Escuela Nueva assesses the cultural context of each potential project while creating an Escuela Nueva that provides the educational needs of that specific community, leveraging local knowledge and traditions combined with an international curriculum.
Planet Read, an organization based in Canada, the USA and India, works towards the goal of a planet in which everyone can read and have access to reading opportunities. Planet Read utilizes mass media and information technologies to spread simple, innovative and effective solutions. Through their Same Language Subtitling programs, Planet Read helps millions of Indian children and adults learn and practice reading by allowing them to see the words they’re hearing in their TV shows, but spelled out in front of them. This, combined with specific mass-media programs to address the gender gap in reading, seeks to bring literacy to the over 200 million illiterate individuals across India.
Injaz al-Arab is an organization based off of the belief that the key to curbing Arab youth unemployment is through training and the establishment of connections with businesses. By pairing young entrepreneurs with business leaders, Arab youth experienced hands-on training to address the social and economic challenges youth face in their communities. Injaz al-Arab has reached over 2 million individuals, empowering them to take control of their future by strengthening their workforce readiness, financial leadership and entrepreneurship.
In 1965, Barefoot College was created to aid the poor, neglected and marginalized populations globally. Creating rural craft programs, Barefoot College allows workers to compete in markets and learn tactics that will aid them in pushing out of of their current state of poverty. Providing schooling paired with local traditional knowledge in their rural schools, Barefoot College spreads knowledge to alleviate socio-economic challenges at a local level. Barefoot college’s sustainable anti-poverty solutions include solar electrification, clean water, childhood education, livelihood development, and activism. Barefoot college focuses on LDCs and seeks sustainable and gender-empowering solutions to all the problems introduced in their program communities.
The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) is working to eliminate gender disparities seen in the education systems within Africa. FAWE urges governments and organizations to work on legislation and policies towards equal treatment of girls and boys in school systems. With the belief that better educated girls lead to more stable communities because of their abilities play an active role in society, FAWE uses the following principles to work towards their mission: policy and community advocacy, interventions in communities, and mainstreaming of the issues to raise public awareness. FAWE is currently working in conjunction with communities, schools, ministries and other NGO’s in 33 African nations to advance the education of girls and women.
Marie Stopes International provides services for family planning and reproductive health for women and families in extreme poverty or in dangerous conditions. This NGO was founded in 1976 and named after Marie Stopes, a well-known reproductive rights advocate in the UK. Marie Stopes International has operations in 37 countries, making it one of the world’s most prominent family planning organizations. Using health centres and clinical outreach teams, Marie Stopes International provides safe abortions, HIV/STI treatment and prevention, family planning services, and maternal health services. This NGO also emphasizes advocacy for reproductive and maternal health, as well as partnerships with healthcare providers, the government, and other NGOs.
In response to the hostility and imprisonment of women who fought for the right to control their fertility, the International Planned Parenthood Federation(IPPF) was found at the 3rd International Conference of Planned Parenthood in 1952. Since its establishment, this organization is working in 172 countries and has fulfilled over 65,000 service projects. As one of the most profound advocates for reproductive health information and the access to such services, the IPPF has distributed over 89 million sexual and reproductive health services. the IPPF recognizes access to such services as a fundamental human right and calls for the need to respect parenthood as a natural and precious part of one’s life determined solely by an individual’s choices.
The Akilah Institute for Women, a renowned college for women in Africa, strives to provide women an education designed to aid women in succeeding in leadership roles in business. Since the establishment of Akilah’s first campus in 2010, 90% of graduates have found employment within six months of graduation. As of the 5th anniversary since the institute’s creation, Akilah students earn incomes 13% higher than the national median and have a 100% internship placement rate for graduates.
Madre is an international organization dedicated to standing up to injustices women face through organized and grassroots efforts. Madre partners with various organizations around the globe to create programs catered to the inequality women face in these nations while also providing women in the communities with food, water and health care. While creating initiatives in different nations, Madre also provides emergency and disaster relief to women. Madre’s primary focus is providing all women with basic rights and access to resources through all of the different areas of injustice Madre addresses.
Equality Now, founded in 1992, is an organization which advocates for the respect and promotion of women and girls’ rights. Equality Now has documented the violence and gender discrimination women have faced across different countries and continents to spread the message of action worldwide. For effective results in local areas, Equality Now creates partnerships and coalitions with women’s rights groups in local communities to advocate for local, provincial, and national policy changes.
Water For People works across Latin America, Africa, and Asia to ensure long-term access to clean water and sanitation. Water For People is unique in that it focuses on specific towns and districts and works to provide access to water for all the people, businesses, and community resources in that area, while training local staff to continue maintenance to ensure the access to water will last for generations. Water For People also works to guarantee sanitation to some of the 2.4 billion people worldwide without access to sanitation services through their programs, and works closely with the local governments to carry out their work.
Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) Foundation is an international NGO that works with UN Habitat to educate students and teachers globally about water management. Through this work, they seek to ensure communities can properly manage their water resources for drinking water, irrigation, and sanitation, and guarantee clean water as a right in their community. Project WET’s materials are used in over 60 countries and myriad languages, in partnership with more direct water security implementation NGOs.
Charity: Water is a water NGO that uses online marketing, a web-store, and in-person events to raise money for local water security organizations globally. Through their fundraising, Charity: Water has funded over 17,000 water initiatives in 24 countries, providing access to clean water for over 5,000,000 people. Charity: Water uses wells, water purification systems, water filtration systems, piping systems, and latrines to guarantee access to water in the communities it works in, and works with local groups to ensure local solutions to local problems.
Water.org works across the developing world on ensuring access to water and sanitation through a variety of locally-based programs. Water.org partners with local communities to determine what type of water project will be needed, what technologies will be used, and how this project will be maintained for years to come. Water.org also provided “Watercredit”, the ability for local ventures to start up without traditional financing to guarantee access to water in their communities, with the expectation that it will be paid back over time.
WaterAid is one of the largest Water and Sanitation NGOs globally, impacting over 21 million people annually through their clean water programs. WaterAid works with the goal of universal access to clean and safe water by 2030, and currently works in 37 countries across North America, Central America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific in pursuit of this goal. WaterAid works to promote inclusion as part of their work guaranteeing access to water to mitigate unfair distribution of water resources. WaterAid uses wells, composting latrines, and other tools to guarantee access to water, and has a strong advocacy arm to work with national and local governments to start their own water programs with WaterAid’s assistance.
The World Health Organization predicts a staggering 4.3 million people are dying each year due to health problems related to the exposure of smoke from solid fuel stoves. The Global Alliance is an initiative for households to use environmentally friendly cookstoves as a clean and healthier alternative; conventional ways of cooking emit greenhouse gases and black carbon which is not only harmful for the health of people around it but also to the environment. Clean Cookstoves’ focus countries include: China, Bangladesh, India, Guatemala, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Using clean stoves means less hassle for women to search for oil and more time to contribute to the workforce or continue schooling.
Kopernik, headquartered in Indonesia, sells low cost renewable energy technologies to people living in less developed countries. Kopernik’s outreach strategy revolves around the idea of “the last mile” and how seemingly developed countries will often write off rural villages and struggling parts of the country. Kopernik strives to “serve the last mile” and bridge the gap between national capitals and poorer, harder-to-reach rural areas in their program countries. Kopernik has helped over 300,000 people worldwide by helping providing basic energy and electrification services, or through partner programs such as clean water initiatives.
Research has shown that in communities with access to energy, women are twice as likely to be employed. Solar Sister does exactly what their name entails; provide alternative sources of clean and sustainable energy whilst promoting employment opportunities for women. Solar Sister is made up of over 2,000 African female entrepreneurs selling solar energy products from small lanterns to large scale solar installations. Solar Sister is currently operating and specifically targets remote communities in rural Africa in Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria. Solar Sister has received significant praise for their initiative from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, World Food Program, and other notable NGOs and international organizations. Over 300,000 people benefit directly from the work of Solar Sister.
We Care Solar is an NGO founded to address the lack of reliable energy sources in hospitals located near northern Nigeria. We Care Solar revolutionizes portable energy with a suitcase-sized generator grid, capable of supplying stable electricity for an extended period of time. The solar suitcase is specifically designed to be used by disaster relief teams who need to set up portable medical units and provide emergency medical relief to those impacted by the disaster. Easy to use, accessible, and affordable, We Care Solar seeks to revolutionize the world of energy in hard-to-reach off-grid populated areas of the world.
Climate Solutions is a clean energy non-profit that works at the city level to promote clean energy practices to the political leadership in their focus cities across North America. Climate Solutions advocates for specific policies to raise the levels of clean energy in their focus communities, and has received recognition by Philanthropedia as a model for regionally-based organizations that can promote climate change mitigation. Climate Solutions advocates for higher-efficiency energy grids, adoption of advanced low-carbon fuels, and investment in renewable energies.
An international charity with over 100 employees, with the intention to combat poverty and climate change, the goal of SolarAid is to eliminate non-renewable sources of energy in Africa. Through their extensive work, Solar Aid has provided 10 million people with access to safe and clean solar lights, a saved a staggering 345 million dollars for families who no longer have to purchase kerosene and other non-renewable energy resources, totally 880,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions being mitigated. SolarAid also manages an African Social enterprise “Sunnymoney” the largest solar light distributor in Africa. SolarAid is a branch of the company SolarCentury based in United Kingdom.
Root Capital is a social enterprise investment organization which targets the prosperity of poor rural areas in Latin America and Africa. Root Capital lends capital and delivers financial training to farmer associations and various private businesses to aid their development. By providing loans to these businesses, Root Capital help them create stronger market connections and stabilize their business so that one day they will be self-sufficient. Since 1999, Root Capital has issued over $740 million in credit to more than 530 businesses in both Latin America and Africa.
Fonkoze is a poverty alleviation organization in Haiti which provides women with the required resources and job training to escape poverty. Fonkoze partners with non-bank financial institutions in Haiti to provide these resources to women at affordable and sustainable lending rates. Fonkoze has established a ‘Staircase Out of Poverty’ plan to aid 200,00 women and provide $90 million in remittances per year through it’s partnership with other financial institutions.
The Positive Planet Foundation aims to develop positive economies through micro-finance strategies. The Positive Planet Foundation has evolved into a movement which not only ensures the development of communities and regions, but focuses on creating long-term plans to further secure the prosperity of their programs. PPF outlines the way of alleviating poverty through micro-financing through improving access to financial services for entrepreneurs and funding enterprises to ensure basic rights such as health, water and education.
One of the most well-known international micro-finance NGOs, KIVA upholds a mission of alleviating poverty by providing access to capital for people in need. Through lending, individuals are able to improve their living conditions even while living outside of communities with access to traditional forms of finance, credit, and banking. Working hand-in hand with microfinance institutions on five continents, KIVA has provided safe and affordable access to capital worldwide. KIVA’s field partners ensure the fluidity and success of the lending system primarily funded through donations and corporate sponsors, and a majority of loan recipients are women.
MIYA is a project of the Arison group dedicated to increasing access to clean water, specifically in urban areas. MIYA does this by building resilient and efficient water infrastructure in urban areas, alleviating the 33% loss of water in urban areas due to outdated infrastructure and unidentified leaks. MIYA works with local governments globally, and has completed over 150 programs across 4 continents. MIYA’s work helps increase access to water, reduces health risk from water (by reducing rates of water contamination in old pipes), and helps reduce energy spending in urban water management systems.
The Development Innovations Group (DIG) works to create financial and urban infrastructures to help lift communities out of poverty. By providing financial services to communities in poverty, DIG can help families start businesses, finance homes, or even finance public works projects with local governments, helping communities escape the poverty trap. DIG also works on physical infrastructure projects, such as water, sanitation, solid waste infrastructure, slum development, and even transportation infrastructure. DIG works in over 50 countries on every continent except for Australia, and works in post-emergency and post-conflict settings.
Construction for Change is an infrastructure NGO that partners with local NGOs for community-based construction projects. Construction for Change brings in international expertise on construction projects while leveraging local resources and local labor. Construction for Change handles design and project management to build new schools, medical facilities, and vocational training facilities across Asia and Africa.
The Clean Clothes Campaign is an organization set to ensure the basic labor and safety rights of workers worldwide. By educating consumers and governments, CCC raises awareness for workers to advocate for their rights and achieve better living conditions. The CCC works in 16 European countries with trade unions and NGOs to protect interests of consumers in a nation. In collaboration of with over 200 organizations, the CCC creates campaign strategies catered to raise awareness for consumer and labor rights.
Impactt is a leading consultancy group working to establish human rights and labor standards. In 2008, Impactt worked to establish programs discouraging child labor with 90 practitioners worldwide. Impactt works with the goal of creating initiatives which respect ethical and consumer considerations, are tailored to work well with businesses and workers and have a high likelihood of success. Impactt addresses both sides of labor standard debates, by advocating for stricter regulations from governments, as well as advocating directly to businesses to adopt better standards and galvanizing public awareness to encourage action.
ActionAId works in 45 countries to advocate for those in poverty and who face injustice. ActionAid focuses on unequal distribution of wealth in nations and the ability for powerful individuals to create institutions that undermine the needs of countries’ poorer populations. ActionAid works at the local level to help restore people the rights they are denied, to address each case with the individual attention they deserve.
FairFood International works to establish wages high enough so that workers are ensured the ability to account for day-to-day needs. The living wage campaign set by FairFood International calls for supermarkets to establish a living wage for their workers due to their role in supply chains. FairFood International’s work on the ground provides consumers with information regarding the abuse of workers and the rights they deserve to allow those being affected by unequal treatment the ability to voice against inequality. The work of FairFood International wishes to one day create social and economic equality in the workplace, with every working human being being able to provide from themselves and their family.
The IndustriALL global Union works with 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors to improve working conditions around the globe. IndustriALL advocates for a new economic order based on democracy and social justices. IndustriAll’s objectives and strategies include: creating stronger labor unions, increasing union membership, advocating for trade union rights with businesses and governments, promote new labor protection policies, promote social justice, promote equality in the workplace, and establish safer work conditions in the mining, energy, and manufacturing industries.
Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based organization dedicated to providing homes to people who are homeless or stuck in slum housing. Originally brought to international prominence by the work of former US President Jimmy Carter, Habitat has helped nearly 7 million people since 1976 by improving their living conditions, working with over 1,400 local affiliates. Their work includes building homes, housing assistance, and home improvement in communities with the highest need.
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a collective of over 80 Mega-Cities dedicated to responsible climate policy, and is one of the most prominent organizations in the world when it comes to urban policy and climate change policy. C40 is a forum for cities to share experiences and best practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, and cities can share their challenges or expertise. The cities collectively represent over half a billion people worldwide, and play a major role in international climate negotiations.
The International Urban Food Network is a research organization that focuses on sustainable urban food systems to guarantee sustainable cities and access to food for the entire population of cities. IUFN works with local decision-makers to provide them with the knowledge and expertise to create responsible food policies. Based on the needs of each of their program cities, IUFN works as an advocacy organization, technical consultant, or think-tank to promote sustainable urban food policy.
You’ve probably heard the term “Ecological Footprint”; this is where it started. The Global Footprint Network is an international think tank that provides companies, governments, and organizations the research and accounting tools to assess and reduce their footprint. The Global Footprint Network works in over 23 countries and 200 cities, as well as with educational institutions and business leaders across 70 partner organizations to plan projects for footprint reduction and evaluation to reduce resource consumption globally.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a global council of CEOs that evaluate reducing resource consumption for economic and environmental reasons. The WBCSD is one of the most influential and effective sustainable development research organizations, and one of the leading organizations for climate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects. WBCSD’s work has been rated second-most influential for sustainable development research among experts, second only to the European Union. The council advocates for sustainable development action in business and policy communities.
The Carbon Trust is a consumption reduction organization with nearly 200 staff globally whose mission is to move to a low-carbon sustainable economy. The Carbon Trust is a private no-dividend organization that works with clients (businesses and governments) to reduce their contribution to carbon emissions and increase their energy security. The Carbon Trust so far has reduced energy costs by over $6 Billion to date, and has cut global carbon emissions by 60 Megatons.
The Climate Action Network comprises nearly 1000 NGOs across the world to advocate for climate action at the local, national, and international levels by limiting emissions and bringing consumption to sustainable levels. CAN members work from over 100 countries online and at in-person conferences to set a comprehensive climate agenda on behalf of their collective of NGOs, and publishes regular reports and recommendations on climate action.
The World Resources Institute is a non-profit dedicated to climate research that works in over 50 countries with nearly 500 experts and staff. WRI focuses on six inter-sectional issues related to the environment: climate, energy, food, forests, water, and cities and transportation. WRI’s research is used widely by policy makers across these issue areas, and provides recommendations on reducing waste, increasing clean energies, agricultural yield, and access to clean water, all with the goal of holistically improving the climate.
Acadia Center is a non-profit based on developing green economies and green technologies, which operates mainly in the United States. Acadia Center works with state, local, and regional governments to advocate for solutions to tackle climate change, and help provide these governments with the expertise needed to create proper policy responses. Acadia’s main areas of work include transportation, power generation, land use, and carbon emission reduction.
Sierra Club is the largest environmental organization in the United States, founded in 1892 long before the modern environmental movement. Sierra Club has 2.4 million members globally, and works mainly on advocacy for environmental goals. Sierra Club lobbied extensively for the US Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and well as the Endangered Species Act. Sierra Club’s goals are to help lead the world to move past fossil fuels, and to preserve wildlife and biodiversity. With over 250 million acres of land protected and over 200 coal power plants retired due to their advocacy, Sierra Club is one of the world’s most influential climate organizations.
Founded in 1977 by Nobel Peace Price laureate Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement is one of the most successful global climate NGOs seeking to combat deforestation and climate change by planting trees in communities across Africa, starting in Kenya. Through a network of 2000 local community organizations, the Green Belt Movement advocates for climate change awareness in rural communities, plants trees, and works with networks of women to promote female empowerment at the rural level. The movement to this day has planted over 50 million trees, and trained over 30,000 women in agricultural jobs to help them earn income.
Greenpeace is one of the largest international NGOs working to maintain marine ecosystems. Funded solely by individual contributions, Greenpeace has 2.8 million members worldwide. Greenpeace’s campaigns focus on five core areas: saving the arctic, protecting forests, fighting global warming, eliminating harmful toxic chemicals from consumer products, and promoting sustainable agriculture. Greenpeace is also one of the most visible international NGOs, as their controversial practices have at times included their activists taking illegal actions such as destroying GMO crops or direct action against ships at sea.
Oceana is an international marine conservation NGO established in 2001 by a collection of foundations including the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Oceana’s work to protect the oceans so far has reached over one million square miles of ocean across 100 policy victories, through advocating to local, national, and international bodies to protect the ocean from over-consumption, pollution, and unsustainable transportation practices through science-based awareness campaigns.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is one of the largest international charities dedicated to the conservation of Whales and Dolphins. WDC works through public awareness campaigns, political lobbying, and field research to convince policy makers to pass laws protecting these animals in their natural habitat. WDC also conducts field rescues and conservation projects to directly protect specific whales and dolphins in their natural habitats, or in conserved areas to protect biodiversity.
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) is the only NGO dedicated solely to the preservation of the Southern Ocean and Antarctic Continent. ASOC is the main representation for the environmental NGO community in international bodies governing the Antarctic, serving the role of Environmental Observer within the Antarctic Treaty System. ASOC focuses on two core goals: establishing much of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean as “Marine Protected Areas”, and forming an internationally legally binding Polar Code that determines rules and regulations for all ships operating in the Southern Ocean.
The World Wildlife Fund is an international NGO dedicated to protecting biodiversity against human impacts, whose mission is “ “to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.” Their six main work areas focus on forests, marine life, freshwater life, wildlife, food, and climate. WWF is made up of 5 million members globally, and brings together business leaders, policymakers, and scientists to maximize their impact in over 100 program countries.
Rare is a conservation organization aiming to promote sustainable practices by changing human behavior in local communities. Instead of analyzing environmental issues, this NGO uses proven solutions such as sustainable agriculture, fisheries, and watersheds. Rare creates partnerships called “Pride campaigns” with local groups using social marketing and engagement to protect local biodiversity. Currently, Rare has developed over 245 partnerships in 56 countries.
Rainforest Alliance focuses on natural resource conservation and sustainable land use by improving business practices and consumer actions. The organization trains and works with farmers, foresters, and tourism developers to facilitate sustainable practices. Rainforest Alliance also assesses the farming and forestry industry through regular and surprise audits, and organizations that pass these audits are given the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal. Entrepreneurs, businesses, and industries around the world use the Rainforest Alliance to connect with a growing community of conservation-oriented consumers.
Born Free Foundation is an international animal rights organization and wildlife charity. Their goals include protecting threatened species, ending animal cruelty, and preventing wildlife captivity, all of which serve their objective of wildlife and humans coexisting in an ecosystem. Born Free Foundation’s programs and projects have addressed welfare and conservation of animals. The organization also campaigns against “sport” hunting, the ivory trade, wildlife trafficking, and other causes.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is one of the largest nature conservation organizations in the world, founded in 1948 to protect biological diversity and reduce use of unsustainable energies and resources. Unlike many environmental organizations, IUCN doesn’t focus on public awareness efforts, but instead works directly with governments by lobbying and forming partnerships with influential organizations. IUCN is made up of 11,000 scientists, and IUCN staff work in 60 different countries all across the world with an annual budget of over $110 Million.
The Center for Biological Diversity is an Arizona-based environmental organization boasting over 625,000 members across the United States. Working in 11 different states, since 1989 the Center for Biological Diversity has fought to protect ecosystems and biodiversity through scientific research, public awareness, and policy advocacy to protect biological life. The Center for Biological Diversity also brings forward legal cases against companies and local governments it believes are harming the environment, seeking to protect these spaces, and has a 93% success rate in their environmental lawsuits.
Amnesty International is comprised of over 7 million members worldwide, working to combat injustice and protect human rights. Advocating on issues such as fair trials, unmanned aerial vehicles, and public education, Amnesty International has won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work. Amnesty International is one of the largest advocacy organizations globally, and works on all the following issues, and more: Prisoner Rights, Poverty and Human Rights, the Death Penalty, Refugee Rights, Torture, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, and Censorship and Free Speech.
Transparency International is a civic organisation involved with promoting anti-corruption measures while ensuring that victims and witnesses are given voices in over 100 countries. The organization works within five core areas: climate change, business integrity, public sector integrity, open governance, and public transport. Furthermore, Transparency International has developed research programs and tools such as the Corruption Perceptions Index while in collaboration with businesses and governments to help inform the public about the status of government accountability in each country.
The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) is a non-profit organization that addresses human rights violations in the case of mass repression. The ICTJ assists in developing civic trust and accountability through providing legal expertise. The organization develops civic trust by advising state institutions, capacity building with other civil organizations, and analyzing transitional justice progress.
A commission of 60 judges, the organization aims to use legal experience to solidify various international justice systems. The ICJ was created in 1952 and runs operations in five continents. The commission oversees the development of humanitarian law through publishing annual briefs and coordinating discussion forums about different global justice systems. Furthermore, the ICJ is well known for developing its Center for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, an initiative focusing on improving judicial systems that are vulnerable and ensuring that the interests of victims of human rights are heard.
Open Society Foundations (OSF) is an organization founded by philanthropist George Soros in 1979. OSF encourages the development of tolerant democratic societies where the diversity of opinions are heard, rather than repressed by governments. OSF focuses on five core areas: Education, Governance, Health, Media, and Justice. The organization provides several programs such as documentary photography projects and independent journalist initiatives to promote the concept of democracy and freedom of press.
TRIAL (Track Impunity Always) is a tax exempt organization that operates under Swiss law. TRIAL was founded in 2002 for the purpose of providing law services for victims of international war crimes such as genocide. In addition, the organization provides law services through defending victims in the International Criminal Court and advocating for efficient judicial systems. TRIAL was founded at the same time the International Criminal Court was established to assist victims in the Rome Statute system.
International Bridges to Justice is a Geneva-based NGO dedicated to “protecting the basic legal rights of organized citizens in developing countries by guaranteeing all citizens the right to competent legal representation”. Founded by and comprised of defense lawyers, IBJ seeks to guarantee fair trials to all citizens of the world, and to “end torture this century”. IBJ’s work includes providing training to criminal defense lawyers, organizing roundtable discussions of defenders, prosecutors, and judges about justice, and raising awareness about legal rights among populations of developing countries. Their online platform “JusticeMakers” allows defenders to share expertise worldwide about their experiences.
DCAF, the “Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces” was founded by the Swiss Confederation to promote civilian influence over the armed forces of their country. Their work focuses on encouraging responsive security sectors accountable to the citizens of a state and obedient to Rule of Law and the goals of sustainable peace. DCAF has permanent offices in Lebanon, Belgium, Slovenia, Palestine, and Tunisia working with governments toward transparency and democratization.
CIVICUS is an international organization comprised of civil-society organizations that wish to promote and protect the rights of civil society organizations globally. Their work covers three objectives: increase the influence of civil society in decision-making processes, connect civil society organizations and citizens to the available resources in their community, and enable civil society work through legal protections. CIVICUS is based in South Africa, however has membership in over 150 countries.
Ceres is a Boston-based sustainability advocacy organization that serves as a forum for organizations and businesses to promote sustainable practices and sustainable development. Ceres works to protect the biosphere, reduce waste and consumption, improve public education, and promote environmental remediation globally to achieve their goals. Ceres is funded by private investors, and works with top-level officials from the UN and national governments to set sustainability standards and ratings. Ceres works with governments to set sustainability regulations and incentives, and business and industry leaders to recognize the long-term economic impacts and risks of ignoring unsustainable practices.
The NGO/DPI Executive Committee is a council of UN-affiliated NGOs that work with the UN Department of Public Information to bridge the gap between civil society organizations and the UN in development policy-making. Each year the organization coordinates the DPI/NGO Conference jointly with the UN Department of Public Information, convening over 5000 NGO leaders for roundtable discussions and to debate the future of NGO involvement with UN activities, including adopting a final resolution that is presented to the United Nations Member States.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a global non-profit based in Switzerland that works to promote international development and cooperation. The World Economic Forum works with policy makers from national governments, the UN, and civil society organizations to “bridge the gap” on climate change and sustainable development. Each year the central WEF meeting is held in Davos, however there are dozens of annual ministerial, youth, head of state, and regional meetings globally to engage the international community through the WEF.