There are many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), most commonly charities and voluntary organisations, who dedicate most or all of their time to the developing world. NGOs often use local partners in developing countries so that their aid has local ownership and is used most efficiently. They provide many essential services for ordinary people who would struggle without their assistance.

Most charities now accept donations through their websites, and many encourage regular giving. If you are a UK taxpayer you can make your donation more effective by signing a Gift Aid declaration which can make every £1 you donate worth £1.28 to the charity. (For more information contact the charity you are giving to.) Some of the best known development NGOs are Oxfam, Christian Aid, Tearfund and the Red Cross.

As well as working in the communities of developing nations, many NGOs spend time lobbying Western governments for increased development aid and preferential market access for the goods and services of developing countries.

Certain NGOs seem to favour a “protectionist” approach to development economics which tends to devalue the opportunities offered by free markets. While this may be appealing on some levels, it is not necessarily in the long-term interests of those who they are campaigning for. Nevertheless, NGOs play a vital role in promoting development and are being increasingly used by governments to deliver essential services.

We must make our voices heard, we must demand action from those who claim to represent us.
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