Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

The diversity of non-governmental organizations is prodigious from major international powerhouses of foreign aid to countless community based organizations that rally in response to crisis. Key classifications have been drawn in terms of the geographic focus of operations (international, regional, national, local), the scope of programming (single-mandate such as MSF or ACF, multi-mandate such as Oxfam or CARE), the relationship to religious faith and by areas of specialization, from generalists in crisis response to a focus on specific needs or expertise, such as a single disease or area of technology. As contrasted to UN agencies, NGOs' defining trait is their independence from government, although in practice this independence varies.

Meeting with representatives of several international NGOs

Photo: OCHA Colombia

Key references

Webinar, briefing paper, and expert paper on NGO fora and consortia at national, regional and global levels

Dedicated resource page for NGOs and other civil society groups active in humanitarian contexts, with useful resources, links, NGO consortia connections, e-learning tools, management tools, etc.

PHAP certifications

Knowledge about humanitarian NGOs and NGO coordination mechanisms is covered by the Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem (UHE) certification (competency statements 2.5 and 3.2).

PHAP certifications

Knowledge about the law binding NGOs and their staff is covered by the International Legal Frameworks for Humanitarian Action (ILFHA) certification (competency statement 1.5).

Key actors

Global network of NGOs whose mission is to make humanitarian action more principled and effective by working collectively and independently to influence policy and practice

Consortium consisting of nine of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations and networks aimed at analysis and learning and promote greater accountability and impact of humanitarian action

Alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs focusing on disaster relief and sustainable development

Information tools

NGO Aid Map aims to increase the amount of publicly available data on international development and humanitarian response by providing detailed project information through interactive maps and data visualizations

Latest discussions