The year 2020 required global mobilisation like no other – a wave of health and socio-economic crises has sent ripples across the whole world.
Apart from local and international governments, the mantle too was taken by NGOs that got involved in the fight against a vast array of modern problems: from saving wildlife, through tackling hunger and poverty, to saving the planet.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have a rich history of sparking change and action, whose roots reach over a century ago.
This year, these NGOs proved to be most active and innovative in their collective efforts; yet, it’s crucial to note that changing the world isn’t a competition or a ranking – every little bit of help is important.
Note that we do not aim to pick winners or losers, but recap 2020 and let you get to know these NGOs better.
Operating in East Africa, Give Directly is a non-profit organisation helping people who live in extreme poverty by letting donors send money directly to those in need.
They’re the largest such organisation and since their being established in 2009, they delivered almost $300million in cash to families in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
In these times of a global pandemic, Give Directly calls to donors who have the liberty to help those in need, as times are hard as they’ve ever been.
Their actions focus on delivering a universal basic income and helping rural communities in Africa.
This community-based NGO aims to introduce public safety solutions and – as the name suggests quite literally – stop the spread of violence.
So far, they have led to a reduction in killings and shootings in New York City, Trinidad, and Honduras, while their impact spreads further across the Middle East, Latin America, and East Africa.
Cure Violence achieve their goals through a wide range of actions: from fact sheet and brochure handouts, through trainings and tool kits, to creating videos and podcasts.
It wouldn’t be an overkill to say that Greenpeace is one of the most popular organisations fighting for our planet, pushing for climate justice, and taking action to hold companies and governments accountable for their climate-harming, profit-motivated operations.
This international NGO saw new challenges on the horizon as 2020 abounded in forest fires, hurricanes, and heatwaves around the globe, all of this on the backdrop of melting icebergs in the Antarctic and dying marine life.
Their brave volunteers had their hands full of things to do.
In Wild4Life they believe that healthcare is a human right. Yet in Africa most healthcare resources and amenities are located in the cities, although most people live in the countryside.
This non-governmental organisation establishes basic building blocks of a health system in the rural areas to promote maternal and child health along with reproductive health to – altogether – fight HIV, malaria and TB.
Wild4Life helps to spread healthcare in countries like Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and hitherto they’ve been successfully increasing the quality and accessibility of healthcare for years.
One of the biggest NGOs today, BRAC is a “catalyst, creating opportunities for people living in poverty to realise their potential.”
Their main areas of action are social development to overcome the poverty mindset and allow those in poverty to reach for the stars in Bangladesh, Nepal, Rwanda, and many more.
To be more precise, they provide education, spread universal healthcare, but also combat climate change and push for gender equality.
More commonly known as ZanaAfrica Foundation, this non-profit strives for empowering adolescent girls in Africa and breaking the period taboo.
By creating innovative health education, delivering pads, and pushing for adequate policy, they try to make their vision of an East Africa – a place for girls to lead a safe, healthy, and educated life – come true.
Since 2013, they’ve supplied over 50,000 girls with their necessity, along with releasing five issues of Nia Teen, a magazine designed specifically for adolescent girls in Africa.
The hosts of Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation provides crucial infrastructure for the freedom of knowledge thanks to the incessant engagement of volunteers and donations.
This non-profit believes in sharing knowledge according to the values of human diversity and respect for the users’ data and privacy.
Every month, over 200,000 editors contribute to Wikimedia projects, with some 47 million files on Wikimedia Commons and around one billion unique devices accessing their resources monthly.
In spite of the ongoing crisis, 2020 was a busy year for Mercy Corps – a collective organisation of humanitarians whose mission is to “alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities.”
Among a global pandemic, growing economic inequality, and climate crisis, Mercy Corps managed to empower a new generation to shape the future and help communities in need of financial (but not only) support to go through these major crises and withstand the merciless storm of contemporary challenges.
With 5,900 members around the world, Mercy Corps works in over 40 countries and, last year (2019) alone, they reached some 29 million people in need.
Medecins Sans Frontières
Medecins Sans Frontières – or Doctors Without Borders – is an international and independent medical humanitarian organisation, providing medical care to those poor souls affected by epidemics, natural disasters, conflicts and wars, or exclusion from universal healthcare.
According to a report from 2019, they worked in 72 countries, assisted almost 330 million births, helped to treat 2.6 million cases of malaria, and consulted more than 10 million patients – and 2020 too was a year of action in the name of neutral and impartial healthcare.
A Year of Action
Despite unprecedented challenges – or maybe because of them – NGOs globally contributes to the making of a better world by helping communities worldwide.
Providing education and healthcare, sharing knowledge, and fighting climate change were just some of the non-governmental organisation’s aims.
The impact of NGOs on our society doesn’t cease to make change in the world, and we couldn’t be more grateful to them for that.
Want some more good news from 2020. Here’s just a few: