Top NGOs of 2016
Considering how some people have devoted their lives to causes aided by NGOs, itâ€™s worth engaging with what these organisations are and which have obtained the attention of the world during 2016.
Knowing more about them, you could find your own interest peaked, so you can support them â€“ or youâ€™ll be more informed about what kinds of things people have devoted their lives to.
What is an NGO?
So what exactly is an NGO? As Investopedia highlights:
â€śNGOs, sometimes called civil societies, are organized on community, national and international levels to serve specific social or political purposes, and are cooperative, rather than commercial, in nature.â€ť
There are two categories for NGOs, recognised by the World Bank: Operational NGOs focus on development projects and advocacy NGOs that promote particular causes.
Of course, as with any organisation, money is required to function. Investopedia points out:
â€śSome NGOs rely primarily on volunteers, while others support a paid staff. As non-profits, NGOs rely on a variety of sources for funding, including membership dues, private donations, the sale of goods and services, and grants. Despite their independence from government, some NGOs rely significantly on government funding.â€ť
To get a better sense of what NGOs do and look like, letâ€™s consider those which got the headlines in 2016.
MSF/Doctors Without Borders
Anyone can agree that medicine is needed, now more than ever. With various conflicts around the world, innocent people are without medical intervention to help them. From war-torn countries to those dealing with severe poverty, people still require health care in some form or another. That is where Medicens Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) comes in. As their website makes clear, the organisation â€śdelivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of neutrality and impartiality.â€ť
This year, theyâ€™ve been active in Jordan, Niger and elsewhere. Theyâ€™re also on the ground helping people in Aleppo, in war-torn Syria. Theyâ€™re doing important work that deserves the support they can get. It speaks volumes of the people working there that theyâ€™re risking their lives to save others. MSF will always be relevant, so long as people around the world need healthcare but do not have access to it.
The Bangladesh-based NGO, BRAC has become a major player on the world stage thanks to its incredible efforts. BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities), according to its site, â€śwas ranked the number one NGO in the world by the Geneva-based NGO Advisor, an independent media organisation committed to highlighting innovation, impact and governance in the non-profit sector. BRAC clinched the top spot as part of the 2016 Top 500 NGOs World rankings.â€ť
The reason is quite obvious once you understand the organisation. BRAC is â€śa global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. It is the world’s largest non-governmental development organisation, touching the lives of an estimated 138 million people in 12 countries using a wide array of tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more to create opportunities for people most in need.â€ť
With that in mind, itâ€™s no wonder that it has stood out in 2016.
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, this NGO has spread across the world with its focus on human rights. From Iraq to Crimea, Amnesty has focused its efforts on combating and raising awareness of human rights abuses. They also were some of the first to raise awareness of the arrest of Azza Soliman, the founder of the Center for Egyptian Womenâ€™s Legal Assistance.
They focus on a range of issues, from the abolition of the death penalty to indigenous peopleâ€™s rights. They operate through legal advocacy, support for artists, consultation and engagement with media. Their efforts have managed to make headlines â€“ and, letâ€™s not forget, win them two Nobel Prizes â€“ due to the tireless efforts of their volunteers and staff.
Donating is the best way to help these NGOs, but you can also become part of these to help further their causes. Like all organisations, there are critics of their work but almost no one will oppose ending disease and medical suffering, poverty and human rights abuses. NGOs are important because they are not supposed to be partisan or give in to government pressure â€“ they are about citizens first, regardless of country in some instances. Indeed, Amnesty proudly puts â€śinternationalâ€ť as part of its name since it is focused on the belief that people deserve freedom and support.