Project HOPE

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The Hospital ship SS Hope
Project HOPE member gives a Salvadoran boy a fluoride treatment at the Canton la Sunza school, 2008
A volunteer nurse from Project Hope checks a patient's vitals in Ghana, 2012

Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is an international health care organization founded in the United States in 1958; a humanitarian NGO, its founding and early years received strong support from private sector businesses and the U.S. government.[1][2]

Industries, such as the Ex-Cell-O Corporation, used highly-publicized giving to Hope to promote their image and win business in America and also overseas. American government actors and agencies, from Eisenhower to Kennedy to USAID, saw Hope as an ideological Cold War weapon to fight communism, place America on the international stage, and garner public approval.[3]

Its most visible project was the SS HOPE, the first peacetime hospital ship (converted from the USS Consolation (AH-15)). The SS HOPE was retired in 1974, after sailing to Indonesia, South Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador, Guinea, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Tunisia, Jamaica, and Brazil. On these voyages doctors, nurses, and technical staff provided medical care and training to people in each country visited. In its early years, there was muddling of humanitarianism with other agendas, e.g. business interests and fighting the Cold War.[3] Although not necessarily directed by the CIA,[1] multiple sources report that Project HOPE had been used as a CIA front organization.[4][5][6] Charges of "shocking" American commercialism being exploited abroad by Project HOPE's administration were also levied.[1] Project HOPE has been criticized for these conflicts of interest and noted to be "a cautionary tale for development organizations seeking mass appeal now."[3]

The SS HOPE was not replaced, and emphasis switched entirely to land-based operations. Today there are organizations in Germany and the United Kingdom, in addition to the original organization in the United States. Project HOPE helps different developing countries in efforts to eradicate infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. They also help educate parents on how to prevent and treat diseases for their children and themselves, and also train health professionals. Project HOPE also sets up village health banks, which give small loans to women so they can improve their health and family's health. The village health banks also educate women on health.

Project HOPE is headquartered in Washington, D.C.


Project Hope volunteer examines the hand of a Nicaraguan woman at a medical clinic at Juan Comenius High School

Project HOPE works to achieve sustainable advances in health care around the world by implementing health education programs and providing humanitarian assistance in areas of need. Project HOPE is unique among international organizations in that we have always worked across the health spectrum in a wide variety of settings, from the family and community levels to the tertiary care level, training traditional birth attendants and community health volunteers where resources are limited and cardiac surgeons and biomedical engineers where technology is appropriate. Project HOPE addresses infectious diseases, health professional education, women's and children's health, humanitarian assistance, and the need for health systems and facilities.[7]


Project HOPE has programs in the following countries:


  • Benin
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Tonga

Latin America and the Caribbean[edit]

  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru

Asia and the Pacific[edit]

  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Philippines
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands

Central and Eastern Europe[edit]

  • Albania
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Ukraine

Middle East[edit]

  • Egypt

Russia/Central Asia Region(CAR)[edit]

  • Armenia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Turkey

Navy Missions 2009[edit]

  • Antigua
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Ghana
  • Haiti
  • Kiribati
  • Liberia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Vietnam
  • Western Samoa


Recent events[edit]

  • 2005 — When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, HOPE sent volunteer medical response teams to the area, where they provided nursing care to people in need.
  • 2006 — HOPE continues to provide aid to the people on the Gulf Coast who were hit by Hurricane Katrina. In the spring of 2006, they helped staff the U.S. Navy hospital ship, known as the Mercy, with volunteer physicians and nurses to South Asia.
  • 2008 — Project HOPE's Chief Operations Officer, C. William Fox Jr., BG, USA (Ret.), was injured by an IED in Basra where the organization was assisting in building a new Children's Hospital.[9]
  • 2010 — In response to the January earthquake in Haiti, Project HOPE helped to coordinate volunteer medical staffers to fill out the complement of the USNS Comfort.[10]

Collectible card[edit]

In October 2020, the digital collectible cards company Phil Ropy created a card with American photographer Elliott Erwitt to raise awareness for Project HOPE’s COVID-19 response. The picture on the card shows a pair of medical rubber gloves as a reminder of how exposed health care workers are and as an allusion to Project HOPE's logo.[11] The proceeds from the sales of the card are redistributed to the organization.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Cunningham, Zachary (March 2008). "Project HOPE as Propaganda: A Humanitarian Nongovernmental Organization Takes Part in America's Total Cold War". Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "Learn about Project HOPE's history". Project HOPE. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  3. ^ a b c Logue, Teresa (May, 2013). "Hope Springs Eternal?" Agenda and idealism in the symbolization of the S.S. Hope | The Yale Review of International Studies". Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  4. ^ "World Outlook" (PDF). February 17, 1967.
  5. ^ "Cold War CIA Right To Christers' Espionage Organization". October 15, 2005. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  6. ^ Nichols, Michael (2004). America Uncensored. Trafford. p. 392. ISBN 1412019907.
  7. ^ Project HOPE: Our Work Archived 2010-02-11 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Project HOPE: Where We Work Archived 2010-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Retired general from Novato hurt in Iraq blast". Marin Independent Journal. 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2021-04-26.
  10. ^ Project HOPE: Our response to Haiti
  11. ^ Scott Latta (2020-10-13). "Supporter Spotlight: Phil Ropy". Project HOPE.
  12. ^ Nadja Sayej (2020-11-09). "Elliott Erwitt: 'Photography is pretty simple. You just react to what you see'". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Rosemary Feitelberg (2020-10-19). "'Works of Imagination' Sale Features Work of Prized Photographers". WWD.

External links[edit]