||This article may contain wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. (October 2009)|
|Legal status||Non-profit organization|
|Purpose/focus||Support organisation for child poverty in Africa and Asia|
|Region served||Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East|
ActionAid was founded in 1972 as a child sponsorship charity when 88 UK supporters sponsored 88 children in India and Kenya, the focus primarily being to provide children with an education. Global accounts are now reported in Euros and in 2007 and 2008 turnover was close to 180m Euros. ActionAid is an international anti-poverty non-governmental organization whose primary aim is to fight poverty worldwide. ActionAid has been a growing organization for over 40 years. Today, it helps over 13 million impoverished and disadvantaged people, in 42 countries worldwide. ActionAid works with local partners to fight poverty and injustice. ActionAid’s vision "is a world without poverty and injustice in which every person enjoys their right to a life with dignity." ActionAid’s mission is "to work with poor and excluded people to eradicate poverty and injustice." In June 2010, ActionAid underwent a leadership transition, as Joanna Kerr became the new Chief Executive of the organization, replacing former Chief Executive, Ramesh Singh.
Being connected with the local community and bearing witness to the poverty and injustice are very important aspects of ActionAid’s work. ActionAid works on various projects, from those that address the immediate conditions of poverty to those that focus on campaigning and advocacy, which address the causes of poverty and change practices and policies at both local and national levels. The nature of the work at ActionAid is about assisting different groups of rights-holders to claim and enjoy the rights that they possess.
International reach 
ActionAid International works in more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Caribbean. The international secretariat is based in South Africa, and operations are organised on a regional basis; managed from Kenya, Thailand and Brazil. 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 lobbying 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:
- Women's rights and gender equality
- Food rights
- HIV and AIDS
- Emergencies and conflict
- Democratic governance
- corporate accountability
- Trade justice
- International aid and debt
ActionAid has been fighting poverty worldwide for over 30 years and working in over 40 countries. The charity works within regions such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; it is secular and has no political affiliations. The charity campaigns and lobbies against the root causes of poverty, to try to ensure 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. ActionAid works in partnership with communities on practical projects aiming to improve the opportunities for these communities and provide them with facilities such as wells, water systems, schools and health centres in order to tackle the causes of poverty.
Organization focus 
The seven main areas that ActionAid is focused on are:
- Aid and Debt: this includes lobbying for debt cancellation with The World Bank, IMF, and donor governments
- 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.
- Women’s Rights advocacy: Lobbying for gender equality
- 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.
- Trade: ActionAid are lobbying and campaigning for an international trade system to make fairer regulations.
- HIV and Aids: ActionAid is lobbying for greater provision of AIDS treatment in the developing world especially for women
- Education: ActionAid provides adult literacy and social change programmes. ActionAid also provides education funding, and works to ensure that schools are places where the right to education is respected.
Organizational Themes 
The themes that ActionAid focuses on are the following:
- Women’s Rights
- Right to Education
- Right to Food
- Right to Human Security in Conflict and Emergencies
- Right to Life and Dignity in the face of HIV & AIDS
- Right to Just and Democratic Governance
Organizational Values 
ActionAid’s values are as follows:
- Mutual respect: Requiring ActionAid to recognize the innate worth of all people and the value of diversity
- Equity and justice: Requiring ActionAid to work to ensure equal opportunity to everyone, irrespective of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, HIV status, color, class, ethnicity, disability, location and religion
- Honesty and transparency: being accountable at all levels for the effectiveness of the organization’s actions and open in its judgments and communications with others
- Solidarity with the poor: The powerless and excluded will be the only bias in ActionAid’s commitment to the fight against poverty
- Courage of conviction: Requiring ActionAid to be creative and radical, bold and innovative – without fear of failure – in the pursuit of making the greatest possible impact on the causes of poverty
- Independence: Independence from any religious or party-political affiliation
- Humility: Humility in ActionAid’s presentation and behavior, recognizing that the organization is part of a wider alliance against poverty.
Women's Rights 
ActionAid’s new strategy, “Rights to end poverty”, furthers the women’s rights agenda. ActionAid believes that women’s rights and gender equality help with poverty eradication and hence, women’s rights must be protected and promoted. Women’s rights and gender equality are priorities that lie in the heart of ActionAid’s international agenda. The organization works directly with other women’s organizations in order to advance gender relations. ActionAid wishes to see that women grow in confidence, skills, and knowledge throughout the world.The ultimate goal is that women shape their own destiny, live without fear of violence, and participate effectively in those decisions that affect their quality of lives and livelihoods.
Women's rights within other topics 
Right to education 
- Support excluded and disadvantaged groups, especially girls, in gaining access to the quality
education which is their right
- Promote the rights of all learners within education systems and ensure that both boys and girls
understand women's rights, and discrimination and violence are eliminated.
Right to life and dignity in the face of HIV/AIDS 
- Push for the rights of women and girls
- Push for freedom from stigma and discrimination
- Free comprehensive treatment and care should be given to the poor and excluded, especially to women and girls.
Right to just and democratic governance 
- Capacity building strategy to help women and other poor and excluded people to organize themselves to claim their rights, participate in the decision-making process, and have a say in politics and public policy.
Right to human security in conflict and emergencies 
- Promote the protection of women and girls during conflicts and disasters
- Assist women’s groups and civil society to be active in conflict resolution and peace building.
Strategic priorities 
ActionAid pursues four main strategic priorities:Reduction of violence against women and girls; Increase attention and action on women’s rights in relation to HIV and AIDS; Contribution to greater recognition, realization, and protection of women’s land rights; enhance women’s participation in politics.
- Reduction of violence against women and girls:
- Increase awareness about violence against women and girls
- Call for laws that protect the rights of women and girls
- Improve effectiveness of organizations and movements that focus on violence against women and girls.
- Increase attention and action on women’s rights in relation to HIV and AIDS
- Increase awareness about HIV & AIDS as it relates to females.
- Call for laws that protect the rights of women and girls in the HIV/AIDS context.
- Improve effectiveness of organizations nad movements that focus on HIV/AIDS as it relates to females.
- Contribution to greater recognition, realization and protection of women’s land rights
- Increase awareness about women’s land rights.
- Call for laws and policies that protect women’s land rights
- Call for new organizations (and improve existing organizations) that focus on women’s land rights.
- Enhance women’s participation in politics
- Increase awareness about women’s leadership, or lack of leadership in the political sphere.
- Call for laws and policies that will advance their leadership and participation in politics.
- Call for implementation of existing laws that enhance women’s political participation.
- Assist other organizations and networks that work in this area of women’s political participation.
Gender Mainstreaming at ActionAid 
ActionAid places a major focus on achieving women’s rights. In addition to achieving gender equality in the local communities, ActionAid works towards achieving gender equality in the organization itself. For example, in ActionAid Nepal, the gender imbalance in the organization itself was so great that ActionAid Nepal established a temporary “Women-Only Recruitment Policy,” which raised the percentage of female staff from 12% to 24%. In 1995, in the Beijing Platform for Action (also known as the Fourth World Conference on Women), gender mainstreaming was identified as the most important mechanism to reach the ambitious goal of gender equality. There are eight major components of gender mainstreaming policy that are implemented by ActionAid.They are as follows:
- A dual strategy of mainstreaming gender combined with targeted actions for gender equality.
- Gender analysis
- Internal responsibility
- Gender training
- Support to women’s decision making and empowerment
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Working with other organizations
- Dual strategy of mainstreaming and targeting gender equality:
- ActionAid has used gender mainstreaming in policies, projects, and programs at all cycle stages.
- ActionAid also takes actions that target gender equality.
- Gender Analysis:
- ActionAid provides a gender analysis at all program cycle stages; however, sex-disaggregated data and gender info, along with a gender-sensitive budget analysis are not provided.
- Internal Responsibility:
- At ActionAid, responsibilities are shared between all staff and gender specialists/focal points.
- Gender Training:
- At ActionAid, there is an understanding and implementation of gender policy for staff and counterparts.
- There is also staff/counterpart gender training/skills.
- Support to women’s decision making and empowerment
- ActionAid strengthens women’s organizations through capacity building and training.
- ActionAid offers support to women’s participation in decision making and empowerment.
- Monitoring and evaluation:
- ActionAid contains effective tools for monitoring/evaluation and contains gender-sensitive indicators.
- Working with other organizations:
- ActionAid strengthens gender equality by working with government, donors, UN, private sector, and NGOs.
- ActionAid allocates certain financial resources for staff to carry out gender policy.
Rights-based approach 
ActionAid uses a human rights-based approach to eradicate poverty and assist nations in developing through support of their citizens. Its methods include consciousness raising, political organizations, encouraging participation by poor and excluded groups, promoting democracy and holding governments accountable.
Supporting Social Causes through Mass Media 
ActionAid took the initiative and made India's first bollywood film on AIDS titled 'Ek Alag Mausam'. It is a love story about a couple and the denial of basic rights to HIV positive people. It is based on a script by playwright Mahesh Dattani. Jeroninio Almeida, the fund-raising director of ActionAid asserted that a serious subject can be dealt with in an entertaining way, without trivializing the issue. ActionAid spent Rs 50 lakh for the making of the movie.
ActionAid also supported Shyam Benegal's 'Samar', starring Rajit Kapoor and Rajeshwari Sachdev. It is based on the book Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives, written by Harsh Mander. The film raises issues about Dalits.
See also 
- Financial Report for 2008 from ActionAid(PDF document)
- Who we are | ActionAid
- Our Chief Executive | ActionAid
- Interview with Ramesh Singh, Former CEO
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- Moser, Caroline; Annalise Moser (July 2005). "Gender Mainstreaming since Beijing: A Review of Success and Limitations in International Institutions". Gender and Development Vol. 13, No. 2, Mainstreaming a Critical Review. Taylor & Francis on behalf of Oxfam GB. pp. 11–22
- "Human rights-based approaches to poverty eradication and development" (pdf). ActionAid. 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- "'Ek Alag Mausam' based on AIDS". Smashits.com. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- See Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood (Verso, London, 2008)
- Brown, Lalage. Preparing the Future-Women, Literacy, and Development. Web ActionAid, 1990. March 2012.
- Ahmed, F & Werker, E. What do Non-governmental Organizations Do? Web Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2007. March 2012
- ActionAid. End Poverty Together. Web. March 2012
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. ActionAid (South Africa). Web 2012. March 2012