World NGO Day 2024

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Recognizing the Global Importance of NGOs

This Tuesday, February 27th, commemorates World NGO Day. The day is an international recognition of the tireless and compassionate work that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the world undertake to combat poverty and inequality. This day celebrates not just NGOs themselves, but also the vision for a better world and happier humanity that often unites them. While NGOs cannot permanently fix the world’s problems, they work on the frontlines to fundamentally change people’s lives.

The day has six primary objectives:

  • Foster collaboration among NGOs, enabling them to share knowledge and experiences.
  • Provide a platform for global audiences to understand the impactful initiatives of NGOs at local, national, and international levels.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of NGOs across diverse sectors.
  • Encourage individuals to explore career opportunities within the NGO and non-profit sector.
  • Illuminate the faces and stories behind the work of NGOs, allowing for greater connection and understanding.
  • Empower NGOs to openly discuss their work and challenges, facilitating the formation of strategic partnerships.

World NGO Day was officially proposed by Latvian-British philanthropist – Marcis Skadmanis on April 17th, 2010, and recognized by member countries of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum: Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Norway and Sweden. The first official World NGO day was hosted on February 27th, 2014 in Helsinki, Finland, and since then, the European Union releases a statement every year on the day. Read this year’s statement here.

NGOs are third-sector organizations, meaning that they operate outside of any government and/or nation. NGOs bring together people from all over the world to creatively solve issues that are not being addressed by governments, policy, and/or social systems. Like a non-profit organization, NGOs are not businesses that make a profit, but instead run through funding acquired by donations and grants. The dedication is a testament to the commitment of NGO workers to make a positive difference in the world around them.

Anyone can start an NGO, which allows the field to range from international, multi-million dollar organizations to local grassroots campaigns. NGOs tend to be either operational- or advocacy-based, though some NGOs work in both categories. The former focus on development projects, such as infrastructural support, through funding and planning. The latter focus on policy changes and devote themselves to tackling systemic problems by working with governments.

Anera: a 56-year-old NGO with deep roots

In just the last year, Anera delivered over $170M in assistance to Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. This includes the delivery of 98 medical shipments, with an approximate value of $148.5M. In Lebanon, Anera empowered the education of 859 girls to prevent them from being coerced into marriage through our Sama Project. In Jordan, Anera provided 300 students with laptops and educational materials to promote digital literacy. During Eid Al Adha in 2023, Anera distributed meat to 16,345 families in every governorate across Gaza. Since 1968, Anera has been responding to the critical needs of the Palestinian people and others caught in regional conflicts.

Anera’s staff works out of 11 offices in Jerusalem, Ramahllah, Gaza, Amman, Beirut, Akkar, South Lebanon, Bekaa, Tripoli, Cairo and Washington DC. All staff members in the Middle East come from the communities they serve, which allows Anera to assess needs, distribute resources, and collaborate effectively. Anera is uniquely positioned to navigate the political and logistical barriers that can inhibit progress to focus on the most important thing: human well-being.

Participate in World NGO Day

Since World NGO Day focuses on raising awareness and collaboration, the best ways you can celebrate it are through similar tasks. Look to the hashtag, #WorldNGODay, on social media to interact with the conversation and spread the word yourself. You can reach out to an NGO that interests you or intersects with your line of work and donate and share their mission. On a larger scale, you can schedule virtual conferences on World NGO Day, record them, and then share with the public on social media in order to bring together people from around the world.

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