NGOs working in Africa are presented with rare challenges not seen in other parts of the world: Lawlessness, widespread famine and disease, military coups where the safety of civilians is not even an afterthought, a lack of fresh water – the list is almost endless. Even though international supporters provide upwards of $50 billion each year, evidence exists that African poor continue to get poorer. Consider this from a 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal:
“The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It’s increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest … Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster.”
But despite such grim reports, NGOs continue to support the African cause. What follows is a partial list of the most well known aid organizations working in Africa and what they do.
Well Known NGOs and Charitable Groups in Africa
The Red Cross. Supported by nearly 90 million, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – known simply as The Red Cross – is a humanitarian organization founded to protect human health and life, foster respect, and prevent human suffering without discrimination.
Doctors Without Borders (also here). A Nobel Prize winning organization (1999), Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian organization that focuses on medical and health initiatives. It was created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. Today, it provides impartial and independent assistance to more than 60 countries whose residents are endangered by civil violence, national catastrophe, epidemics, and malnutrition.
Care. Focusing on poverty relief, this organization’s website states: “CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.”
Human Rights Watch. Founded more than 30 years ago, Human Rights Watch is another independent human rights organization dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, and raising international awareness of such abuses.
Amnesty International. This organization “is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.” With extensive human rights violations happening daily throughout Africa, Amnesty International has a huge presence.
African Salvation Group. Based in the Bronx, this is a 501(c) (3) health and human services non-profit that promotes health education, prevention, and “risk and stigma reduction.” The group states that it “is accomplishing its objectives through education, counseling, personal and community capacity building, and referral networks.”