Solving global concerns, such as poverty and hunger, are impressive goals that can only be met by multiple forms of assistance. The Borgen Project is an advocacy organization that works with the United States government and population to support efforts to alleviate global poverty. Advocacy is one form of assistance that works behind the scenes of nonprofit initiatives. It does not require the mobilization of volunteers to build schools or send money to help communities develop better healthcare systems. Advocacy organizations, like The Borgen Project, “bring about change through public awareness and activism.”
The following five nonprofit advocacy organizations, based out of different countries around the world, campaign on behalf of certain global concerns. Each one illustrates the global importance of advocacy assistance programs and lends insight into various causes that are important to different communities. These advocacy organizations work with governments and populations to bring awareness to worldwide concerns such as human rights, poverty and education.
Take a look at the different faces of advocacy organizations and the ways advocacy is implemented in different countries.
Survival International is a U.K.-based nonprofit that supports the rights of tribal communities around the world. According to the website, it is “the only organization that champions tribal peoples around the world.” This organization brings awareness to the genocidal violence, slavery and racism that affect tribal communities by “publishing information about (their) problems, supporting projects in their communities and lobbying for their rights in international forums like the U.N.” It has changed the way the world views the tribal population and brought awareness to the over 100 tribes around the world who refuse contact with the outside world.
One of the most recent articles published on the Survival International website examines the plight of the Indians of Brazil who are at risk of disease as a result of the invading deforestation workers. Additional publications assess the reality of forcing development on tribal communities and broadcast the respect these tribal communities receive from the communities around them. Although their land ownership rights are recognized in international law, it takes an organization like Survival International to encourage the world to respect these “off the grid” communities.
VENRO is an umbrella organization, based in Germany, that is comprised of multiple development and humanitarian aid non-governmental organizations (NGO). Its members are comprised of NGOs which represent aims of “achieving justice in globalization, in particular, eradicating global poverty.” VENRO creates an environment for its members to meet and “work towards realizing human rights and conserving natural resources.” VENRO is an advocacy organization that advocates for its members’ interests in the political sphere and raises public awareness for its causes.
Its publications are comprised of agendas and reports on topics spanning from global development and sustainability to education and global justice. Along with advocating for the member NGOs, VENRO also has 14 working groups that monitor important developments in areas of disablement in developing countries, global learning and climate change. VENRO is an overlapping organization that functions as Germany’s own unifying NGO collaborator.
World Federation of the Deaf
A Finland-based nonprofit, the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) supports the rights of the worldwide deaf population. This advocacy organization supports the human rights of the deaf population on a global scale because it believes that sign language is a gateway to their success. Its goal is to achieve “equality through sign language for 70 million deaf people worldwide.” Its three main focuses are in empowering its members, advocating for the deaf population worldwide and ensuring greater accessibility for the deaf.
The WFD believes that a “world that is more conscious of deaf people’s needs in a world where deaf people contribute as equals.” It works with organizations around the world like the Mongolian National Association of the Deaf to support equality and human rights for the deaf. The WFD collaborates with the U.N., international organizations and governments to promote the importance of sign language to equal treatment, opportunities and accessibility for deaf people.
VITA Animal Rights Center
In recognition of the animals around the world suffering from cruelty and maltreatment, the VITA Animal Rights Center (VITA) is an animal protection agency that advocates against animal abuse. This Russian-based nonprofit is currently encouraging countries around the world to ban the use of animals in circuses. It focuses on the global treatment of animals as well as “campaign against cruelties to animals by lobbying the responsible organizations, carrying out peaceful actions and spreading publications.”
VITA campaigns against intensive farming, fur production, tests on animals, atrocious entertainments and the problem of the growing stray population around the world. It also supports a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. VITA partners with international organizations like the Fur Free Alliance, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the Born Free Foundation and Cruelty-Free America. It is the “voices for the voiceless” and works with multiple member-based organizations as Russia’s own animal rights organizations in order to initiate change. VITA’s publications feature the efforts Russia has made to change animal treatment and highlight alternatives to animal cruelty. It also promotes events like the “Celebration of Ethnic Fashion ‘Animals are not to wear!'”
Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights
Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) is a Canadian-based organization that campaigns for international efforts that support human rights. It is an organization with a unique member base that includes international human rights lawyers, criminal lawyers, civil litigators, law professors, non-legal professionals and students. CLAIHR focuses on two main areas of advocacy: Friends of the Court and events that highlight particular areas of development and landmark days like International Human Rights Day. It partners with organizations like the International Law Students Association and the Child Soldiers Initiative. The event-based advocacy focuses on unifying a population with a common interest in supporting human rights internationally.
CLAIHR’s Friends of the Court is an initiative that allows members to intervene with the Canadian court as amicus curiae or “friend of the Court”. When a Canadian court considers an international human rights issue, CLAIHR “provides perspectives on international human rights issues triggered by the litigation.” In combination with its events that encourage discussion and collaboration among members and the community, CLAIHR works with Canadian courts to augment the impact on human rights.
Every one of these advocacy organizations has a website to help promote various causes. Learn more about the importance of advocacy by visiting the websites of these organizations and examining the advocacy organizations near you. Advocating for a cause can mean the difference between its success and failure. If there is a cause that you are passionate about, consider advocating for it by promoting it online and in your community. There is more to supporting a cause than just raising money: sometimes the most effective action can be spreading awareness.
– Eliza Gresh