10 Advocacy Organizations Improving Life for the World’s Poor

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ten advocacy organizations in particular are improving life for the world’s poor by going above and beyond to do great work. This list functions as a comprehensive guide to ten great anti-poverty advocacy organizations who are champions of the poor.

ONE

ONE is an international organization that campaigns and advocates for the world’s poor with a focus on ending extreme poverty and preventable disease. The organization has a geographical emphasis on Africa, which contains 29 percent of the world’s poor in its sub-Saharan region, according to recent estimates by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. The organization works with African legislators and advocates to combat corruption and monitor aid efforts as well as campaign for poverty as a top priority in government programs and policies.

ONE’s volunteer and staff base includes six million people and consists of seven teams in seven different major world cities, including Washington D.C., New York, London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin and Paris. Co-founded by Bono, the organization advocates for the poor by raising awareness and campaigning for continued and increased government aid utilizing a non-partisan approach. ONE is funded through philanthropic foundations and charitable individuals.

CARE

CARE is a humanitarian organization focused on reducing global poverty. It was founded after World War II by religious, civic and other organizations. The Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe supplied CARE packages across war-torn Europe and still continues to aid and advocate for the poor to this day. The organization, now referred to as the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, places an emphasis on working to empower women and believes that women equipped with the right resources and skills can lift entire communities out of poverty.

The organization’s efforts are community-based and focus on education, preventable disease, water and sanitation access, economic development and environmental protection. CARE also assists with emergency relief efforts for conflict survivors and victims of natural disasters. CARE operates in over 80 countries in support of approximately 1,000 economic development aid programs and projects and focuses on advocacy as well as direct aid.

Oxfam International

Oxfam International began in 1995 when several NGOs decided to combine their efforts in order to maximize their impact on poverty reduction and injustice. Oxfam currently designs long term plans for economic development, delivers emergency aid relief and campaigns on behalf of the world’s poor. Their campaigns place emphasis on accountability in trade, improving education and health and fighting climate change. Oxfam is an international collaborative effort of 17 organizations with staff in 93 countries. The organization’s framework is based on five principles, including the right to a sustainable world, basic social services, life and security, the right to be heard and the right to identity.

Global Poverty Project

Founded in 2008, the Global Poverty Project is an advocacy organization focused on health, food, water and sanitation, women’s rights, entrepreneurship, innovation and environmental protection in relation to global poverty. The organization’s goal is to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 utilizing the engagement of citizens to support aid and policy that helps reduce poverty. The organization’s movement is characterized by its desire to end extreme poverty in a generation.

This goal was the main focus of a speech by Bono for TED in 2013, during which he explained the generational goal using data to illustrate the reality of such an achievement.  The Global Poverty Project is responsible for 250,000 people that have a taken a total of 1.5 million actions toward ending extreme poverty by 2030. This includes over 30 policy victories and aid commitments by governments of the world.

Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide was originally known as Africa Concern. Kay and John O’Loughlin Kennedy founded the organization on March 19, 1968 in response to appeals from missionaries operating in the war-torn country of Biafra. Following a cyclone hitting what is now Bangladesh, the organization simply became known as Concern and began providing aid relief to other countries around the world. Concern offers aid relief through charitable donations and funding from philanthropists.  They advocate through social media to develop support and engage the public in the cause. A large majority, approximately 90 percent of the organization’s budget, goes directly to relief and development. A smaller amount, 3.5 percent, does go to advocacy and governance efforts.

Norwegian Church Aid

Norwegian Church Aid was founded in 1947 as a fundraising drive and has evolved into one of the Nordic countries’ largest poverty aid organizations. This organization’s origins are similar to CARE’s beginnings. Norwegian Church Aid was inspired to help in post World War II Europe by providing emergency relief. The organization now functions in three vital areas. These areas are emergency relief, long-term development aid and advocacy. The Norwegian Church Aid works in 30 different countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Latin America and has representation in more than 150 countries. Their advocacy efforts are focused on influencing policy decisions in Norway and all other areas where they actively operate as well as engaging the public in support of human rights.

World Vision International

World Vision International is a Christian based organization working to provide relief, development, and advocacy efforts on behalf of and for the world’s poor. World Vision began in 1950 as a child sponsorship organization and grew into an emergency relief organization in the 1970’s. World Vision’s 21st century strategy is to enhance their advocacy efforts especially in relation to survival of children. They are now advocating against several children’s issues including child labor, sexual exploitation and the use of children in war. The organization currently has 40,000 staff members working on poverty issues in approximately 100 different countries.

Friends of the Global Fight

Recently founded in 2004, Friends of the Global Fight began as an independent nonprofit organization located in Washington, D.C. Friends of the Global Fight advocates on behalf of the Global Fund, which is the world’s largest public health funder. The Global Fund contributes health care services to people with AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in heavily disease-burdened countries with a severe lack of resources. They have had a significant impact advocating for increased funding from the U.S. government. They are responsible for an increase of approximately 1.2 billion dollars in funding since 2005. Recent success in June 2014 came in the form of the passage of several bills that resulted in 1.35 billion dollars being allocated to the Global Fund by the U.S. government.

Women Thrive Worldwide

Women Thrive Worldwide is a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on bringing the voices of women from around the world to policy makers and legislators in Washington D.C.  The focus on gender equality is embodied in their vision statement: “Women Thrive Worldwide works to create a world in which women and men work together as equals so that they, their families and their communities can thrive.”

The organization focuses on women living in poverty and works to bring about partnerships with local organizations and create coalitions in which the interests of women and girls are advanced within their communities. Since its inception in 1998, the organization has been responsible for the passing of numerous laws and has received seven awards, including most recently the best small charity award from Washington D.C.’s Catalogue for Philanthropy in 2012.

The Borgen Project

The Borgen Project is a national organization focused on eliminating extreme poverty by raising awareness on U.S. foreign policy and advocating for legislation that benefits the worlds poor. Its founder, Clint Borgen, formed The Borgen Project in 2003. Since then the organization has grown into a national nonprofit averaging around 100 meetings with senators, congressmen and diplomats annually. The organization currently has volunteers in over 220 U.S. cities.

As a result of The Borgen Project advocating for Food Aid Reform, 800,000 additional people per year receive assistance. The most recent piece of legislation being advocated for was the Electrify Africa Act, which passed the House on May 8, 2014.  This bill is now the Energize Africa Act, Senate bill S2508. Twenty-five congressmen cosponsored the act after meetings with The Borgen Project and 13 more did the same after receiving emails from constituents in their district. The Electrify Africa Act will give 50 million African citizens access to electricity by 2020.

Other people served by The Borgen Project include 200,000 malnourished people; 40 million people who receive increased income above $2 a day, millions of poor families who receive lower food prices, and $1 billion in health aid money. The Borgen Project is also responsible in part for President Obama’s foreign policy agenda of cutting global poverty in half and his focus on achieving Millennium Development Goals.

Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: ONE, CARE 1, CARE 2, Oxfam 1, Oxfam 2, Oxfam 3, Global Poverty Project 1, Global Poverty Project 2, Concern Worldwide 1, Concern Worldwide 2, Norwegian Church Aid 1, Norwegian Church Aid 2, Norwegian Church Aid 3, World Vision International 1, World Vision International 2, FRIENDS 1, FRIENDS 2, FRIENDS 3, Women Thrive International 1, Women Thrive International 2, Women Thrive International 3, The Borgen Project 1, The Borgen Project 2
Photo: IRC

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