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ActionAid was founded in 1972 as a child sponsorship charity when 88 UK supporters sponsored 88 children in Indiamarker and Kenyamarker, the focus primarily being to provide children with an education. The organisation is now one of the world's largest development agencies helping over 13 million of the world's poorest and most disadvantaged people worldwide, working with local partners to make the most of their knowledge and experience.

International reach

ActionAid International works in more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Caribbeanmarker. The international secretariat is based in South Africa, and operations are organised on a regional basis; managed from Kenyamarker, Thailandmarker and Brazilmarker. Within each region there are a number of countries with an ActionAid office that manages the work there. The international functions for finance and fundraising are based in the UK, and there is a US office in Washington DC for fundraising and influencing purposes.

ActionAid's work

Over time, ActionAid has moved from being a British charity based on child sponsorship to becoming an international coalition fighting poverty across the globe. ActionAid works with poor and marginalised communities throughout the world to help them recognise, promote and secure their basic rights, and control their own development. Its mission is to work with poor and excluded people to eradicate poverty and injustice.

In order to achieve its mission, ActionAid works in the following areas:

Action Aid has been fighting poverty worldwide for over 30 years and working in over 40 countries to help nearly 13 million poor people gain access to food, shelter, work, education and healthcare; it is one of the largest charities within the UK. The charity works within regions such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; it is non-religious and has no political affiliations.The charity campaign and lobby against the root causes of poverty, ensuring that poor people are treated fairly by governments, companies and international institutions whose decisions affect these people’s everyday lives and their basic human rights.Action Aid works in partnership with communities on practical projects which improve the opportunities for these communities and provide them with a life line, such as wells, water systems, schools and health centres in order to tackle the causes of poverty, action aid also believe in not speaking on behalf of people but strives to ensure that their voices are heard on a local, national and international level.

Letter with 300+ Groups Ask Senate for Stronger Climate Bill, included ActionAid USA.

Organisation intentions

The seven main factors that Action Aid is focused on are:

  1. Aid and Debt: this includes debt cancellation, confronting The World Bank, IMF, and rich donor governments not living up to their development commitments.
  2. Emergencies and Conflict: Providing immediate relief in emergencies, setting up long-term projects to help the most vulnerable people rebuild their lives, their communities and livelihoods.
  3. Women’s Rights: Action Aid believe that gender inequality is an injustice and realise that in countries such as India it is very apparent prejudice is taking place. A new study by Action Aid and VSO has shown that in many countries women – because of their lower status and lack of income - face a number of barriers when trying to access healthcare and are discriminated against for work too.
  4. Corporate Accountability: The charity is campaigning for new UK and international laws to make multinational companies accountable for their impact on local communities and the environment.
  5. Trade: Rich countries are continuously pushing the trade rules, Action Aid are fighting for an international trade system to make fairer regulations.
  6. HIV and Aids: Action Aid believe that global poverty will not cease without tackling the spread of the virus and reducing the rates of death and illness linked to HIV and AIDS in these poverty stricken countries. Little or no treatment is provided in countries like Africa (especially for women) even though nearly 2/3 of all people living with HIV are in Africa.
  7. Education: A simple right for most of us yet 72 million children in the world’s poorest countries – 57% of them girls – are denied a primary education. Action Aid believe that education is a key factor in bringing people out of poverty and have tackled it through schemes such as Reflect, an adult literacy and social change programme. Education for these people is expensive and a gamble, therefore Action Aid works towards putting the faith back into education and to develop practical, flexible and innovative solutions, like education funding and to ensure that schools are places where the right to education is respected.

Action Aid World Record Attempt At this years upcoming Reading Festival Action Aid will be attempting to break the World Record for the biggest ever air guitar performance.


Action Aid has been criticized for supporting US led violent regime change in Haitimarker in 2004.

See also


  1. See Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood (Verso, London, 2008)

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