There are many not-for-profit and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) supporting international development worldwide. This give list provides philanthropists with an overview of charities working in the global development space, including on focus areas such as disaster relief, community development, economic empowerment, support for women and girls, literacy, and justice.
The organisations below operate across multiple countries. If you are interested in charities that are working in a specific region, please contact APS.
While the entities listed below are all known to APS, we do not conduct a detailed analysis of their financial position and governance ahead of their inclusion. This is not an exhaustive list of the many not-for-profit organisations working in this space.
These organisations offer responsive support in times of disaster, in addition to long-term development programs.
Emergency Action Alliance
Emergency Action Alliance was established in 2020 and is made up of 16 leading aid organisations, specialising in different areas of disaster response. Member organisations include Action Aid, ADARA, Act for Peace, Care, Oxfam and many others. By working together, they can channel resources into a fast and effective response to international emergencies. The alliance acts as a single fundraising entity for large-scale disasters with the goal of making it easy for donors to navigate confusion around emergency funding.
Red Cross Australia
The goal of the Red Cross is to create stronger and more resilient communities with increased capacity to prepare for, anticipate, respond to and recover from disasters and crises. They are part of the largest humanitarian network in the world, with a local presence in almost every country. In a crisis often international aid takes time to arrive, but with Red Cross on the ground already, their local emergency response teams are trained, equipped and ready to help as soon as possible.
Save the Children Australia
Save the Children Australia is a leading independent organisation for children. They are at the forefront of saving children’s lives when disasters strike, and creating lasting change for children and their families through our long-term education, health, child protection and climate change projects. It is one of 30 members of Save the Children International, a global child-focused, independent and secular development organisation working in more than 122 countries.
ShelterBox works with disaster-affected communities to provide the emergency shelter, essential items and training needed to support families in the long process of rebuilding their lives. The emergency aid they supply comes in the form of ShelterBoxes and ShelterKits. ShelterBoxes contain family-sized tents specially designed to withstand the elements and provide people with temporary shelter until they are able to start the process of rebuilding a home. ShelterKits contain all of the essential tools people need to start repairing and rebuilding homes straight away.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home. Since 1950, UNHCR has provided vital assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people, many of whom have nobody left to turn to. They help to save lives and build better futures for millions forced from home.
UNICEF is the world’s largest organisation working for children. UNICEF provides more children with clean water, life-saving food and vaccines, education and protection from violence than any other humanitarian organisation. For 75 years, UNICEF has been working with families, local communities, organisations and governments in more than 190 countries, including Australia, to help every child realise their full potential.
World Vision is a Christian organisation dedicated to working to help children around the world live life to the fullest. Their work covers development, relief and advocacy work. World Vision helps communities identify their unique needs, strengths and plans. They provide support and guidance as they deliver grassroots projects. Over time, children and families gain access to basics like water, education, healthcare and food. Communities upskill, become self-sustaining and confidently continue the work World Vision started with them.
Anglican Aid’s focus in on strengthening churches and transforming communities. They work in 25 countries across a range of support services including:
- promoting children’s rights and providing primary and secondary education to impoverished children and vulnerable girls
- providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and people impacted by natural disasters and war
- providing water to communities suffering sickness, poverty and disease
- running activities to promote disability inclusion, assistive equipment and early learning centres for children and adults living with disabilities
- income generation programs to uplift people from poverty and provide nutrition and self-sustainability.
As the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, Caritas Australia works hand in hand with the most marginalised communities in Australia and overseas, to confront the challenges of poverty. Through locally-led programs, they work with all people, with shared hope and compassion, towards a world where all can thrive and reach their full potential. Through partnerships with local organisations and Church networks, and as a member of Caritas Internationalis, one of the largest humanitarian networks in the world, Caritas Australia is able to reach where the need is greatest.
Global Development Group
Global Development Group is a non-government organisation carrying out humanitarian projects with approved partners and providing aid to relieve poverty. They partner with local, grassroots organisations across the spectrum of development areas: capacity-building, child protection, community development, disability, education and vocational training, emergency relief and prevention, environment, gender equality and empowerment, microenterprise, social justice, sustainability, and WASH (water, sanitation and health) initiatives.
The Hunger Project
The Hunger Project’s approach is different. People living in hunger are seen as the solution, not the problem. The Hunger Project works with people and within communities, shifting the mindsets of women and men so they transform into leaders for the sustainable end of hunger. Then, through programs such as education, microfinance, agriculture and health, The Hunger Project empowers people with the skills, knowledge and resources they need to break the poverty cycle themselves.
Partners for Equity
Partners for Equity’s purpose is to provide aid to communities that are disadvantaged or in poverty mostly in developing countries, where they have a number of international partners who deliver that aid to their communities. Partners For Equity enter into partnerships based on equality and mutual respect with non-government, community-based, local organisations to implement and sustain such aid. They provide grants for programs primarily in the health, education and livelihoods sectors.
Development focused on women and girls
ActionAid is a women’s rights organisation, tackling the statistic that women make up 70% of people living under the poverty line and face daily injustice. ActionAid partners with local women’s organisations in 45 countries to empower them to make the changes they seek in their communities – from providing women with the tools to campaign for safer cities, to building women’s capacity to respond to climate disasters. In Australia, the organisation campaigns to hold the Australian Government and corporations accountable for their impact on the rights of women living in poverty and exclusion around the world.
Adara is focused on improving health and education for women, children and communities living in poverty. The organisation has expertise in maternal, newborn and child health; and remote community development, particularly in Nepal and Uganda. All operational costs of its programs are covered by the income generated by the corporate advisory activities of Adara Corporate Services (B-Corp), so 100% of donations are expended on program delivery.
Care Australia is an international aid organisation that works around the globe to save lives and defeat poverty. Care Australia supports women around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. They work with local communities to provide women with equal opportunities to earn an income, gain access to their fair share of resources, participate in decisions that affect their lives, and lead their communities through the increasing impacts of climate disasters and other crises.
Indigo foundation partners with local grassroots organisations around the world to empower women and girls, improve outcomes in education and health, defend human rights and build strong and resilient local organisations. They currently support 11 projects across seven countries: Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Namibia. These projects are driven by the communities they work with and focus on improving education and health outcomes, empowering girls and women and strengthening local community organisations.
International Women’s Development Agency
The International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) focuses on women and girls, in particular on gender-based violence, recognising the links between health, education, social services, housing stability, economic justice, land ownership and cultural sources of violence against women. IWDA works in Australia and the region, predominantly in Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Solomons, Fiji, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Plan International focuses on girls’ equality. They believe that education is the quickest path to achieving an equal world; one where all children can live happy and healthy lives, and where girls can take their rightful place as equals.
Plan International advocates for girls and young women’s education at a grassroots level and empowers girls to be leaders in their communities. They support families with food, scholarships and learning resources to help make sure all children can attend school. They work with parents and communities to raise awareness about the importance of girls’ education. They also address issues such as violence, child marriage and early pregnancy that can prevent girls from finishing their education.
Development focused on economic empowerment
Good Return (World Education Australia)
Good Return works in a number of Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, to provide microfinance and skills development to empower people, especially women (98%), so they can break the cycle of poverty. Their approach is to offer a hand up, not a handout. Providing people with access to financial and educational opportunities not only gives them the tools to get started but inspires them to believe that change is possible.
Kopernik (via World Relief Australia)
Kopernik sources and distributes simple technologies to remote communities to support livelihood development and reduce poverty. They focus on testing simple new solutions that are small-scale and low-investment, such as processing technologies for cacao beans, grain storage solutions and solar drying solutions. If the results from the experimental phase prove promising, they will then move to implementation on a larger scale. Kopernik works with local partners to distribute the technologies to remote areas. Individuals can buy them at an affordable price in instalments and pay it back as they generate an income. They work in 26 countries, with a heavy focus in Indonesia.
Opportunity International tackles the issue of poverty through a multi-faceted approach with solutions centred on four key aspects of the poverty cycle: microfinance, health, education, and safety. Opportunity International assists in a range of ways including helping:
- Families start their own businesses so they can earn sustainable incomes.
- Improve health, sanitation and nutrition so illness doesn’t stop families from running their own businesses or create greater burden.
- Support better education so that the next generation of children can have the chance to leave poverty behind.
- Provide domestic violence support and trafficking prevention training to help communities become—and remain—safe places for the next generation.
Palmera Projects is dedicated to transforming the lives of the rural poor in Sri Lanka and Nepal. They work with the most vulnerable groups, such as women and people with a disability, to create change through grassroots projects that encourage empowerment, entrepreneurship and sustainable development.
Development focused on literacy
Library for All
Library For All is a not-for-profit organisation that has built a digital library platform to address the lack of access to quality educational materials in developing countries. Their mission is to make knowledge accessible to every person on the planet, allowing individuals the opportunity to learn, dream, and aspire to lift themselves out of poverty. The libraries have localised, curated content and are accessible via mobile phones and tablets, which are in widespread use in many developing countries. Library for All works with technology and network providers who are providing free access to hardware and library downloads. In 2020, Library for All merged with Save the Children to reach more children worldwide. They plan to build on programs in Papua New Guinea, Laos and Timor-Leste and start investing in new programs in West Papua, the South Pacific islands, and an Indigenous program in Australia.
Room to Read
Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, Room to Read focuses on early childhood literacy, the foundation to all future learning in school. They empower teachers to teach children to read and write in their first two years of school, as well as establish school libraries and improve learning environments. They also support girls at risk to stay in high school and complete their secondary education with the skills needed to navigate key life decisions both in school and beyond. Since their inception, they have helped transform access to education for more than 12.4 million children.
Amnesty International has a presence in over 150 countries around the world. Their global teams bring torturers to justice, change oppressive laws and free people jailed just for voicing their opinion. Around the world, they challenge injustice, stand with people and communities who come under attack, encourage governments and others to respect human rights and raise awareness of the international standards that protect us all. When a crisis occurs, their researchers can be on the ground within days, taking testimony and delivering firsthand reports. They gather the evidence as situations escalate and ensure our supporters and the wider community are informed and ready to act.
Hagar helps women and children who have experienced human trafficking, slavery or severe abuse, to heal from their trauma and rebuild their lives. The organisation also advocates for systemic changes to prevent these human rights violations and better protect those recovering from them.
International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission is a global organisation that aims to eliminate the slave trade. They work with local justice officials, community partners and advocates to end slavery for good. They work by:
- Strengthening justice systems: they collaborate with justice system and community leaders to respond effectively to violence
- Rescuing and restoring victims: they partner with local authorities to rescue individual victims of violence and restore survivors to safety and stability
- Bringing criminals to justice: they work with justice system officials to ensure that criminals are held accountable, stopping the cycle of violence
- Scaling demand for protection: they equip champions to advocate for protection as an essential and tangible future for everyone.
Last updated 15 June 2022