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close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
close this folderPart I: NGOs: what they are and what they do
close this folder4. NGO activities described
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 The spectrum of NGO activities
View the document4.2 Who and what
View the document4.3 How
View the document4.4 The diversity of NGO activities

4.4 The diversity of NGO activities

The table below attempts to show how, when who, what and how are assembled, the result is a great diversity of NGO activities. This is reflected in the wide range of expressions some NGOs use to describe themselves: welfare organisations; development organisations; environmental organisations; indigenous people's organisations; women's organisations; youth organisations; human rights organisations; environmental groups; income generation projects; and job creation programmes, to give just a few examples. The diversity is also manifest in some NGOs having highly specialised target groups or provisions.

For example there are NGOs in the health field devoted to one particular disease or disability. Others have a much broader focus, such as rural development organisations engaged in integrated or participatory development programmes across large geographical areas.

Who: Work with and for disadvantaged people including groups such as:

Young people
Refugees/displaced persons
Unemployed people
People lacking skills
People with disabilities
Offenders and ex-offenders
Indigenous people
Elderly people
The sick
The hungry
The poor
Agricultural, industrial and migrant workers
- or geographical areas and communities, such as those affected by:

Change in the physical environment
Natural disasters
Economic change
Marginalisation due to remoteness
Poor access to resources
Large scale infrastructure projects

What: Addressing disadvantage through projects or programmes involving any or all of:

Education (formal and non-formal) and skills training provisions
Welfare services
Housing provision
Health services
Food production and distribution
Agricultural services
Transport and communications services
Creation of employment opportunities
Income generation
Credit and financial services
or by seeking to secure governmental and/or public action or awareness through such activities as:

Information and communication
Research and training
Campaigning and advocacy
Networking and collective action or taking action on issues detrimental to the well-being, circumstances and prospects of people or society generally such as: Peace and conflict
Human rights
The environment
Gender issues
Economic structural adjustment

How: Direct provisions and actions.

How: Indirect actions