How we work

Poverty is a denial and violation of human rights. At the heart of ActionAid's work lies the core belief in each human being's fundamental right to food, shelter, work, education, health care and a voice in the decisions that shape their lives.

Demanding human rights

Poverty isn’t natural. It isn’t a result of poor people’s own failings.

It’s a denial of fundamental human rights: the right to food, shelter, education, work, a democratic voice.

We will only end poverty and injustice when all the world’s people are able to claim their rights, and take charge of their own lives.

Our work supports people to claim the right to:

  • Education
  • Food
  • Just, democratic systems of government
  • Safety in conflicts and emergencies
  • Life and dignity in the face of HIV and AIDS

Women are more likely than men to be denied their rights, and more likely to live in poverty as a result. So we focus particularly on the rights of women and girls in all our work.

Working together from the grassroots

We don’t dictate solutions. We work with communities over time, using our resources, skills, knowledge and contacts to strengthen their own efforts to end poverty. We help people to form organisations, to mobilise movements, to make their voices heard.

We work in partnership with more than 2,000 locally-based organisations around the world, and we’re involved in over 100 alliances and networks. We know that by working together and sharing good ideas, we can multiply our impact.

Child sponsorship

A lot of our funding comes from people like you who want to change lives by sponsoring a child. We put your money directly into projects within communities where the children live. How do we know what projects local people need? They tell us.

We work directly with children, young people and their communities. We work with their parents so they can grow food for the family and we support their community leaders in their demands for access to education. We have found that this is the most effective way to change a child’s life and help them thrive. That is how we make a lasting difference – not just for individual children but for whole communities.

Child sponsorship is how we put our roots down. By sponsoring a child, you are sending a signal that there will be a helping hand available not just for today but for as long as it is needed.

Campaigning for a more equal world

Changing children’s lives is also about changing the world they live in. We strive for a fairer future in which everyone can thrive. We take the voices of poor and marginalised people to those in power – locally, nationally and internationally. We hold the powerful to account: our HungerFREE campaign, for example, is pushing governments to meet their commitments to halve hunger by 2015.

In our campaigning, particularly through our EU office in Brussels and ActionAid USA, we target the world’s most influential institutions – the World Bank, World Trade Organisation, G8, EU and International Monetary Fund. We press them to change their policies to help create a more equal world.

We often have to get political, and radical. But we’re not connected to any political parties or religious groups. The only interests we represent are those of the people we work with.