Fieldwork NGOs Fighting Global PovertyFieldwork NGOs are non-government organizations that fight against global poverty directly within areas of need. Whether it be by building wells, establishing schools or educating local farmers, fieldwork NGOs take a hands-on approach to improve poverty-stricken communities worldwide. While there are countless organizations doing amazing work to fight against global poverty, this list highlights just a few. Here is a list of five fieldwork NGOs fighting global poverty.

5 Fieldwork NGOs Fighting Global Poverty

  1. The Water Project
    The Water Project provides clean drinking water to communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Importantly, the group focuses on creating reliable sources of clean water that are easy to access in terms of proximity. This includes building wells for groundwater, constructing dams to create larger local deposits and other similar processes. Once a resource is built for a community, the Water Project also makes sure to do maintenance checks to keep that resource functional. Currently, the Water Project is maintaining 1,294 clean water resources across sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the organization’s efforts are impacting 462,000 people worldwide.
  2. Child Empowerment International
    Child Empowerment International brings education to wartorn areas of civil unrest. This NGO makes its intent clear on its website: “Our Mission [is] to reduce poverty through education and empowerment.” To achieve this mission, Child Empowerment International establishes schools in areas of need, teaching leadership skills and ways to contribute to their local communities. Child Empowerment International primarily focuses on children in areas traumatized by war. So far, its efforts have been stationed across Sri Lanka and Uganda, with the intention of spreading aid elsewhere as the NGO grows. In Sri Lanka alone, there are 80 CEI schools and programs teaching more than 6,800 children in need. In Uganda, CEI programming provides 300 students with quality education services.
  3. Build Health International
    Build Health International is an NGO that builds health infrastructures in impoverished communities worldwide, all within the constraints of locally available resources. Build Health International creates architectural plans for hospitals, designing them to be cost-efficient while still high quality. In addition, this NGO focuses on using renewable resources, such as solar panels, to keep facilities energy efficient. While Build Health International primarily focuses on building hospitals, it also aids local workforces by providing short-term construction jobs. Build Health International emphasizes the importance of maintaining close relationships with assisted locals, adjusting health infrastructures to best suit community dynamics. Today, Build Health International has completed over 50 major projects across African, Haiti and Latin America.
  4. One Acre Fund
    One Acre Fund addresses the irony of a global phenomenon — that the majority of the world’s hungriest people are farmers. In remote communities across sub-Saharan Africa, the One Acre Project has a multi-step process in eradicating hunger and empowering rural communities. One Acre Fund not only provides seeds and tools to communities in need but also educates local farmers on agricultural techniques and market facilitation practices. This hands-on approach builds up communities for long term success, setting them on a self-sustaining path for sustenance and a chance for economic prosperity. Through the One Acre Fund’s aid, 809,900 rural families were assisted in 2018; as for 2019, the project number of families assisted is 925,000.
  5. Mercy Corps
    Mercy Corps is an NGO that applies an array of fieldwork to in-need communities all over the globe. This NGO was originally founded as the Save a Refugee Fund, determined to assist Cambodian refugees fleeing from the nation’s war and genocide. Over the course of nearly four decades, Mercy Corps has assisted over 220 million people worldwide. Mercy Corps educates farmers about agriculture and self-sustaining methods, helps local communities start and maintain viable businesses, provides programs to decrease inequality between women and men, and many, many more outlets for assistance. Mercy Corps provides these services to over 40 countries across the globe, from the islands of the Philippines to the war-torn regions of Iraq.

With thousands of NGOs providing fieldwork aid to communities worldwide, these five mentioned are just a small fraction of the overall picture. Improving one’s quality of life is a multi-faceted effort, as seen by these fieldwork NGOs fighting global poverty.

– Suzette Shultz
Photo: Wikimedia

zero extreme poverty
The Philippines ranks on the top twelve list of the most populous countries in the world. Yet, in 2015, the number of Filipinos living under the poverty line made up over 21 percent of an already large 100 million people. While this rate indicates improvement, in 2006 the rate was 5 percent higher, NGO leaders such as Armin Luistro and Reynaldo Laguda knew that more could be done.

Specifically, operational changes for NGOs Philippine Business for Social Progress (BSFP), Habitat for Humanity Philippines and Peace and Equity Foundation had to be made. These NGOs rolled out plans dedicated to special and long-term interventions that targeted extremely impoverished Filipino families. The focus of these plans centered on rural fishing and agriculture communities, as well as marginalized indigenous peoples.

The Zero Extreme Poverty Goal

In 2015, 17 NGOs unified to form The Philippines’ Zero Extreme Poverty Goal (ZEP PH 2030). Together, they strive to lift at least one million Filipino families from extreme poverty by the year 2030. This is the year that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are due which adds momentum to the cause.

Beginning as a coalition of a handful of NGOs, ZEP now houses corporations who wish to join the Filipino fight against poverty. Indeed, ZEP prides itself in maintaining a diverse team made up of groups with unique strengths. Different members and partners of the coalition are organized into eight different clusters. They are as follows:

Various Programs

  1. Education seeks to ensure that youth have access to education and employment opportunities. ZEP aims to ensure that two million youth are employed by 2030.
  2. Health supports the health of Filipinos in impoverished communities. The program conducts awareness campaigns on maternal, child health and nutrition in target areas to promote health policy advocacy.
  3. Livelihood is led by the Peace and Equity Foundation within ZEP, and with fellow committee members, ensures the coalition’s ability to provide assistance to the extremely poor.
  4. Environment works to maintain and improve upon ecosystem services within The Philippines in order to sustain healthy communities. They aim to guarantee a number of benefits to the country, like a 10 percent increase in agricultural areas by 2028.
  5. Agriculture and Fisheries seeks to bring complete self-sufficiency to small fisheries and farms by 2030, through initiatives such as market empowerment and accessible support services.
  6. Housing and Shelter provides safe and sufficient homes with basic facilities to extremely impoverished families. Involved organizations within the cluster, including Habitat for Humanity, also work with local governments to implement social housing programs and projects.
  7. Partnerships for Indigenous Peoples helps build self-sustaining indigenous peoples communities, whether it be through advocacy means or by establishing community-based plans. Implemented programs include promoting women and children’s rights.
  8. Social Justice serves as the overarching cluster and theme of ZPH, in which the coalition’s diverse private and public groups align in the Filipino fight against poverty. By engagements with local governments and through policy programs, ZPH aims to end conditions within the Philippines that prevent the poor from finding self-sufficiency.

A Personal Approach

A primary strategy used by ZEP in order to maximize their efficiency is community consultation. Participating NGO programs employ a personal approach. They ask local Filipinos for their experiences and stories to truly understand the needs of poor communities. Organizations within the community can then easily refer to other member organizations of ZEP, whether they be businesses or NGOs, who specialize in the community’s needs.

In one case study, ZEP assisted an indigenous father of two in the foundation of a basket business. His business has since expanded, employing dozens of workers. ZEP reports that 63 families have benefitted in the process. In another case, ZEP assisted a single mother of seven children in improving her family’s living conditions. Moreover, the education cluster is supporting the families oldest child to pursue her academic career. Stories like these illustrate the promise of the ZEP goals.

Hope for the Future

By December of 2018, the coalition had implemented poverty-reduction programs in 109 cities. 10,000 families were provided with aid and assistance. However, ZEP’s Filipino fight against poverty is far from over. They continue to relentlessly assist communities in need as well as work to further expand themselves as a coalition. Nevertheless, the Zero Extreme Poverty goal coalition always stays true to its core values of social justice, service and diversity.

Breana Stanski
Photo: Flickr