If you are committed to building a healthier world, consider supporting a non-governmental organization (NGO). An NGO is a non-profit organization composed of voluntary citizens organized at a local, national, or international level and dedicated to addressing humanitarian needs.
NGOs help educate the public, policymakers, and other leaders about needs and concerns in the areas of healthcare, poverty, education, human rights, and more. They participate in advocacy efforts, rallying individuals around important human rights and health initiatives and encouraging policymakers to take appropriate concrete actions.
There are many NGOs doing great and necessary work to alleviate poverty and bring health to global communities. But their success also depends on us — and our willingness to support the work they’re doing.
There are a number of ways to support these organizations. You can make a one-time or recurring financial donation to some of them. You can volunteer or work for an NGO domestically or abroad. You can commit to praying or fasting in union with other supporters. And you can lend your voice to advocacy efforts by signing relevant petitions and creating awareness of important initiatives both online and in-person.
In other words, there are many ways to support an NGO in order to alleviate poverty, help communities flourish, and make our world healthier. The only trick to getting started making an impact in this way is picking which NGO to partner with. Because there are so many organizations doing great work in this area, it can be difficult to choose one to support.
To help you get started, we’ve highlighted three NGOs that are worth exploring and supporting in some form. Each of these organizations is deeply committed to serving others and building a healthier world.
ONE describes itself as “a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, so that everyone, everywhere can lead a life of dignity and opportunity.” The organization sees its work as a way to extend justice and equality — basic human rights — as opposed to mere charity or generosity. In other words, it’s committed to doing what we all have an obligation to do: make a fair and just world in which people have the opportunity to thrive as protagonists of their own stories.
ONE understands that all major and permanent changes occur through political, legislative, and civic involvement. They work to this end by engaging with policymakers and key leaders as well as fostering grassroots movements to create and support long-term initiatives for those suffering from poverty, especially in Africa.
From ensuring children receive vaccines for infectious diseases to calling on governments to prioritize initiatives that provide equal opportunities for women and girls, ONE leads with advocacy efforts in order to make lasting and critical changes.
To support ONE, you can lend your voice to the various initiatives it’s taking on by signing petitions to enact real change. You can sign up for updates to keep informed about what needs to be done to combat extreme poverty and promote employment, gender quality, better education programs, and greater access to health services for others.
You can also support ONE in a more hands-on approach by applying to be a Youth Ambassador. In this capacity, you can serve on a team of dedicated volunteers to engage the media, decision-makers, and the public to push for change both online and in-person at local events.
Catholic Relief Services is motivated by Jesus’s call to care for the most vulnerable and poor in our world. They do this specifically by fighting disease, combating poverty, and supporting communities overseas. They also work to help those of us living in the U.S. foster solidarity with our global neighbors.
The organization works in areas related to agriculture, healthcare, education, clean water, microfinance, and others. CRS helps communities create and maintain long-term changes that allow them to live more flouring and dignified lives.
As a Catholic organization, it also provides opportunities for praying, fasting, and almsgiving in the context of a wider community of like-hearted people. By offering up what little we have in the spirit of solidarity with other believers, we are able to heed Jesus’s promise that, “Wherever two or more are gathered, there I am in the midst of them.”
This is exemplified through the CRS Rice Bowl, a program that encourages people throughout the U.S. to adopt a spirit of Christian sacrifice during the Lenten season with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that connects us to those living on the margins.
There are a number of ways to support the work of Catholic Relief Services. You can offer financial support through one-time or recurring donations. You can lend your voice in advocacy to encourage relevant organizations and governing bodies to address the needs of the most vulnerable across the world. You can serve directly as a volunteer or employee both here in the U.S. or abroad. Or, whether through the CRS Rice Bowl or on your own, you can intentionally pray and fast for Catholic Relief Services’ efforts to make a healthier world.
World Vision is another organization committed to following Christ’s command to serve and love our neighbors. The organization is committed especially to protecting and healing children and sustaining loving communities in which they can thrive. They do this by working to offer communities access to food, clean water, and shelter during disasters (natural disasters, diseases, etc.), supporting sustainable economic growth models, and providing educational tools and resources.
They also work with policymakers and the wider public to bring awareness to global poverty and advocate for sustainable solutions. The organization is committed to ending such terrible realities like exploitative child labor practices and the brutal enlisting of child soldiers.
You can support World Vision through donations and offering financial support for emergencies, praying specifically for children in some of the most dangerous and poverty-stricken areas in the world, and by lending your voice in advocacy by signing petitions to support various policies.
And because the organization is especially committed to some of the most vulnerable among us — our children — you can also sponsor a child. This allows you to communicate directly with your child to support them and bring them hope so that they can experience a fuller, happier, and healthier life.
The three NGOs above are all great organizations that could benefit from your support. But there are many others that are committed to combating poverty, working for more just communities, and making a healthier world.
You may want to support a group that is focused specifically on gender equality. Or perhaps you want to support one that provides education and schooling to children. It can be helpful to identify what issue or issues you feel most called to support, and then search for NGOs committed to doing the same.
Whether through giving, volunteering, lending your voice in advocacy, or simply praying and fasting, there are a number of ways to support organizations that are committed to making a healthier world.