Australian Volunteers International
Australian Volunteers International is a not-for-profit development agency that aims to build links and increase cooperation between Australians and people living in developing countries. Founded in 1961, Australian Volunteers International now conducts its activities in over 40 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific, and in Aboriginal Communities in Australia.
Australian Volunteers International's Australian Volunteers Abroad program is Australia's largest international volunteer program. Every year around 500 Australian Volunteers Abroad work in a wide variety of sectors in developing communities, under local terms and conditions. They are employed by government departments, non-government and community organisations, and regional and multilateral agencies. Since the founding of the Australian Volunteers Abroad program in 1964, over 4,000 volunteers have worked in nearly 50 countries around the world in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.
The Australian Volunteers Abroad experience provides an excellent training ground for Australians who are committed to working in partnership with the peoples of developing countries. Both during and after their assignments overseas, these Australians contribute to a range of links - political, commercial, cultural, economic and social - with countries in the developing world. They are able to speak from first hand experience about issues of aid and development and their relationship to the everyday lives of people in another community, an important perspective from the grassroots that is often overlooked.
Oxfam International / Community Aid Abroad
Oxfam International is an international development, advocacy, and relief agency working to put an end to poverty world-wide. Oxfam believes that poverty is not inevitable: it can be tackled. In partnership with local groups, Oxfam works with poor people to help them help themselves.
The members of Oxfam International, including Community Aid Abroad, support projects in more than 120 countries around the world. Community Aid Abroad merged with the Australian Freedom From Hunger Campaign in 1992, and the combined organisation is the Australian member of Oxfam International. Community Aid Abroad is an independent, democratic, community-based Australian organisation. It's aim is to promote social justice and the alleviation of poverty through the funding of development projects both overseas and in Aboriginal Australia, and through campaigning, education and advocacy work. Community Aid Abroad brings together people from diverse backgrounds, beliefs and cultures in order to build a fairer world. Community Aid Abroad operates in more than 30 developing countries and in Indigenous Australia, to support long-term self help initiatives among poor communities.
Community Aid Abroad's vision is for a fair world in which people control their own lives, their basic rights are achieved and the environment is sustained. Community Aid Abroad works with communities to build a fairer world. It supports innovation and imaginative development projects in Aboriginal Australia and overseas and acts to mobilise the Australian community and influence the Australian Government. Community Aid Abroad takes effective action to eliminate poverty and achieve social justice and environmental sustainability by addressing the underlying causes of inequality and powerlessness.
Save the Children
The International Save the Children Alliance is made up of 25 independent member organizations. The Alliance today is one of the world's largest partnerships working to secure the rights of children and works for a world which respects and values each child; a world which listens to children and learns; a world where all children have hope and opportunity. The Alliance is an association of autonomous, non-profit, non-sectarian, voluntary organizations working throughout the world for the betterment of children, their families and their environment. The scope of activities encompasses development assistance and advocacy for children's rights, and is extended through the work of its 25 members to over 100 countries throughout the world.
All of Save the Children's work is based on the rights of the child, first expressed by Save the Children's founder (Eglatyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton) and now enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Alliance members base their work on the inherent dignity and equality of all individuals and their right to participate fully in decisions that affect their own development. A cornerstone of this philosophy is that self-sufficiency, and sustainable solutions to the pressing development problems faced in many parts of the world, are the key to advancement. The Alliance believes that children are the best investment we, as a global community, can make.
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United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in partnership with national governments, other United Nations bodies and non-government organisations in 161 countries, providing services for children and women, including primary health care, nutrition, basic education, safe water supply and sanitation. It aims to reduce the terrible toll the lack of such services takes on the world's youngest citizens. UNICEF mobilises political will and resources to help countries deliver essential services to children and families. UNICEF fights for the special protection for the most disadvantaged children, including children with disabilities and child victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, violence and exploitation. UNICEF promotes the equal rights of women and girls, and works on behalf of children on the basis of need, without discrimination with regard to race, creed, nationality, status or political belief. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
Founded in 1946, UNICEF advocates and works for the protection of children's rights, to help the young meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. The UNICEF Executive Board reaffirmed this mandate in January 1996, when it adopted a statement on the mission of UNICEF saying that UNICEF "is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children."
United Nations Development Program
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is committed to the principle that development is inseparable from the quest for peace and human security and that the United Nations must be a strong force for development as well as peace. UNDP's mission is to help countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable human development by assisting them to build their capacity to design and carry out development programmes in poverty eradication, employment creation and sustainable livelihoods, the empowerment of women and the protection and regeneration of the environment, giving first priority to poverty eradication. UNDP also acts to help the United Nations family to become a unified and powerful force for sustainable human development and works to strengthen international cooperation for sustainable human development.
UNDP strives to be an effective development partner for the United Nations relief agencies, working to sustain livelihoods while they seek to sustain lives. It acts to help countries to prepare for, avoid and manage complex emergencies and disasters. UNDP draws on expertise from around the world, including from developing countries, United Nations specialized agencies, civil society organizations and research institutes. UNDP supports international cooperation by actively promoting the exchange of experience among developing countries. UNDP provides grant funds through criteria based on universality that strongly favour low income countries, particularly the least developed. UNDP is politically neutral and its cooperation is impartial.
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
UNIFEM is a learning and advocacy organization fostering networks and linkages that contribute to women's empowerment, policy reform and gender sensitive development. UNIFEM is dedicated to building stronger women's organizations and networks so that women themselves have the power to negotiate new and better policies with their governments and international agencies. UNIFEM provides technical support to governments and promotes dialogue between governments and women's organizations. The lessons UNIFEM learns "downstream," at the community level, are shared "upstream" with policy makers, programme managers and international agencies in order to bring about more gender-sensitive development policy, budget allocations and practice. UNIFEM's interventions and activities are designed to assist in the transformation of women's lives.
UNIFEM promotes women's empowerment and gender equality. It works to ensure the participation of women in all levels of development planning and practice, and acts as a catalyst within the UN system, supporting efforts that link the needs and concerns of women to all critical issues on the national, regional and global agendas. Since its creation in 1976 as an innovative and catalytic fund, UNIFEM has supported numerous projects and initiatives throughout the developing world that promote the political, economic, and social empowerment of women. These have ranged from small grassroots enterprises that improved working conditions for women to public education campaigns and the design of new gender-sensitive laws and marketing systems.
Currently UNIFEM focuses on three areas of immediate concern: strengthening women's economic capacity as entrepreneurs and producers, especially in the context of the new trade agenda and the emergence of new technologies; engendering governance and leadership that increase women's participation in decision making processes that shape their lives and promoting women's human rights to eliminate all forms of violence against women and transform development into a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable process.
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United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women
Grounded in the vision of equality of the United Nations Charter, the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), as part of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations Secretariat, advocates the improvement of the status of the women of the world and the achievement of their equality with men. It aims to ensure the participation of women as equal partners with men in all aspects of human endeavour. It promotes women as equal participants and beneficiaries of sustainable development, peace and security, governance and human rights. The Division is a catalyst for advancing the global agenda on women's issues and for mainstreaming a gender perspective in all sectors. It works closely with governments, its partners in the United Nations system and civil society. The Division has three broad functions - analysis of gender issues; promotion of women's human rights; co-ordination and outreach.
Within these functions, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women conducts research and develops policy options, fosters interaction between governments and civil society and provides substantive servicing for United Nations intergovernmental and expert bodies. The Division encourages and supports United Nations system-wide efforts to co-ordinate and harmonize the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) and related United Nations Conferences; by awareness and consciousness-raising and the promotion of international standards and norms and the sharing of best practices. The Division aims to strengthen communication between the international and national policy-making processes and the women of the world. The Division is committed in its work to breaking down the barriers between human rights and development and the attainment of women's human rights as an integral part of development. Among the main responsibilities of the Division is the substantive servicing of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the central intergovernmental body with the mandate to elaborate policies to achieve equality between women and men; the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the expert treaty body which monitors the implementation of the legal standards in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established for the purpose of advancing, through the educational and scientific and cultural relations of the peoples of the world, the objectives of international peace and of the common welfare of mankind for which the United Nations Organization was established and which its Charter proclaims. UNESCO currently has 186 Member States. The main objective of UNESCO is to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.
To realize this purpose UNESCO collaborates in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image. UNESCO seeks to give fresh impulse to popular education and to the spread of culture by collaborating with Members, at their request, in the development of educational activities; by instituting collaboration among the nations to advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunity without regard to race, sex or any distinctions, economic or social; by suggesting educational methods best suited to prepare the children of the world for the responsibilities of freedom. UNESCO seeks to maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge by assuring the conservation and protection of the world's inheritance of books, works of art and monuments of history and science, and recommending to the nations concerned the necessary international conventions; by encouraging co-operation among the nations in all branches of intellectual activity, including the international exchange of persons active in the fields of education, science and culture and the exchange of publications, objects of artistic and scientific interest and other materials of information; by initiating methods of international co-operation calculated to give the people of all countries access to the printed and published materials produced by any of them. With a view to preserving the independence, integrity and fruitful diversity of the cultures and educational systems of the States Members of the Organization, UNESCO is prohibited from intervening in matters which are essentially within their domestic jurisdiction.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
The Mission of the United Nations Environment Programme is to provide leadership and encourage partnerships in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and people to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP was established as the environmental conscience of the United Nations system, and has been creating a basis for comprehensive consideration and co-ordinated action within the UN on the problems of the human environment. From the very beginning, UNEP recognized that the environment could not be compartmentalized. The environment is a system of interacting relationships that extends through all sectors of activity and to manage these relationships requires an integrated approach. Recognizing that the environment and development must be mutually supportive, UNEP advocated a concept of environmentally sound development, which later led to the adoption of "Sustainable Development" concept in the Brundtland Commission Report and the United Nations Perspective Document for the Year 2000 and Beyond. This concept was embodied as an action programme called Agenda 21, which was adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
UNEP's uniqueness lies in its advocacy of environmental concerns within the international system. In this, it makes a particular effort to nurture partnerships with other UN bodies possessing complementary skills and delivery capabilities as well as enhancing the participation of the private sector, the scientific community, NGOs, youth, women, and sports organizations in the achievement of sustainable development. One of the most important functions of UNEP is the promotion of environmental science and information. UN-System-wide research and synthesis of environmental information, promoted and co-ordinated by UNEP, has generated a variety of State-of-the-environment reports, and created world-wide awareness on emerging environmental problems - some of which triggered international negotiations of several international environmental conventions. UNEP derives its strength and influence from the authority inherent in the importance of its mission -environmental management. The extent that governments face common environmental problems, are disturbed by environmental threats beyond their jurisdiction, or need to harmonize policies relating to the environment, UNEP has and will continue to play a pivotal role.
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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights promotes universal enjoyment of all human rights by giving practical effect to the will and resolve of the world community as expressed by the United Nations; plays the leading role on human rights issues and emphasizes the importance of human rights at the international and national levels; promotes international cooperation for human rights; stimulates and co-ordinates action for human rights throughout the United Nations system; promotes universal ratification and implementation of international standards; assists in the development of new norms; supports human rights organs and treaty monitoring bodies; responds to serious violations of human rights; undertakes preventive human rights action; promotes the establishment of national human rights infrastructures; undertakes human rights field activities and operations; provides education, information advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights.
The mandate of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights derives from Articles 1, 13 and 55 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the General Assembly resolution 48/141 of 20 December 1993, by which the Assembly established the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides protection and assistance to the world's refugees. When first created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1951, UNHCR was charged primarily with resettling 1.2 million European refugees left homeless in the aftermath of World War II. UNHCR has helped 50 million people to begin new lives and continues to assist another 22.7 million refugees in 140 countries. At the outset, UNHCR was envisioned as a temporary office, with a projected lifespan of three years. Today, 45 years later, it has become one of the world's principal humanitarian agencies, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and offices in 122 countries. More than 80 percent of UNHCR's 5,617-member staff work in the field, often in isolated, dangerous and difficult conditions. UNHCR was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in 1951 and 1981.
UNHCR provides protection and assistance to people seeking safety in countries other than their own. This 'international protection" is aimed at ensuring respect for refugees' basic human rights and in particular that no refugee is returned involuntarily to a country where he or she has reason to fear persecution. UNHCR also offers material assistance by co-ordinating the provision of basic necessities to refugees. UNHCR has been called upon to provide help not only to refugees but to others forced to live in refugee-like situations. This includes people who have been granted protection on a group basis or on purely humanitarian grounds, but who have not been formally recognised as refugees. Or they may be internally displaced people who have fled from their homes but have not crossed an international border. Increasing they are victims of civil war. UNHCR also assists and monitors the reintegration of refugees who have recently returned to their own countries.
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom was founded in 1915 by women from neutral and belligerent countries who met in The Hague in search of a peaceful solution to World War 1. Out of that first meeting emerged the longest standing international women's organization devoted to peace. Grass-roots women are the strength and backbone of WILPF. WILPF women (and men) are active in communities in 50 countries. WILPF women have never been afraid to act in the cause of justice. Our members were among the first to take up the civil rights cause in the U.S., and the first to oppose the wars in Vietnam and the Gulf. Our work encompasses peace and justice issues at the local, national and international level. The League's current priority is working towards the implementation of the Platform for Action that arose from the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing. A platform of universal disarmament - political solutions to international conflict; economic and social justice within and among nations; the elimination of all forms of discrimination and exploitation; respect for basic human rights and the right to development within a sustainable environment; and the promotion of women to full and equal participation in all aspects of society.
Today, WILPF is more vibrant and diverse than ever. We particularly work to empower young women to be leaders at the local, national and international level. WILPF was present at the founding of the League of Nations and the United Nations and now holds official UN Consultative Status.
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The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, is the main advocate for global action on the epidemic. It leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing transmission of HIV, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic.
World Food Programme
The World Food Program is the food aid arm of the United Nations system. Food aid is one of the many instruments that can help to promote food security, which is defined as access of all people at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. The policies governing the use of World Food Programme food aid must be oriented towards the objective of eradicating hunger and poverty. The ultimate objective of food aid should be the elimination of the need for food aid.
Targeted interventions are needed to help to improve the lives of the poorest people - people who, either permanently or during crisis periods, are unable to produce enough food or do not have the resources to otherwise obtain the food that they and their households require for active and healthy lives. Consistent with its mandate, which also reflects the principle of universality, WFP will continue to use food aid to support economic and social development; meet refugee and other emergency food needs (and the associated logistics support ); and promote world food security in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. The core policies and strategies that govern WFP activities are to provide food aid - to save lives in refugee and other emergency situations; to improve the nutrition and quality of life of the most vulnerable people at critical times in their lives; and to help build assets and promote the self-reliance of poor people and communities, particularly through labour-intensive works programmes.
In carrying out its mandate, WFP. will make all necessary efforts to avoid negative effects on local food production, consumption patterns and dependency on food aid. WFP will continue to play a major and significant role in providing transport and logistics expertise and assistance to ensure rapid and efficient delivery of humanitarian aid to those in most need.
World Health Organisation
The objective of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health, as defined in the WHO Constitution, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In support of its main objective, the Organization has a wide range of functions, including the following: To act as the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health work; to promote technical co-operation; to assist Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services; to furnish appropriate technical assistance and, in emergencies, necessary aid, upon the request or acceptance of Governments; to stimulate and advance work on the prevention and control of epidemic, endemic and other diseases; to promote, in co-operation with other specialized agencies where necessary, the improvement of nutrition, housing, sanitation, recreation, economic or working conditions and other aspects of environmental hygiene; to promote and co-ordinate biomedical and health services research; to promote improved standards of teaching and training in the health, medical and related professions; to establish and stimulate the establishment of international standards for biological, pharmaceutical and similar products, and to standardize diagnostic procedures; to foster activities in the field of mental health, especially those activities affecting the harmony of human relations.
WHO also proposes conventions, agreements, regulations and makes recommendations about international nomenclature of diseases, causes of death and public health practices. It develops, establishes and promotes international standards concerning foods and biological, pharmaceutical and similar substances.
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World Vision International
World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God. Children are at the heart of World Vision's ministry. Jesussaid "If you do unto the least of these... you do it unto me". Through a combination of networking, group facilitation, training and education, and outside intervention World Vision seeks to empower people to transform their worlds. This philosophy is people centered, non paternalistic, culturally sensitive, participatory, focused on causes, process oriented, gender balanced, reproducible and empowering.
Among the powerless in marginalised communities of the 'underdeveloped world' the process of empowerment includes a group-based process of change - go and live in the community; gather a Core Group of concerned people; begin group action for change; build a vision of desired change; create solidarity by agreeing on common values; identify problems and obstacles to change; work to solve one problem using local resources; evaluate the results; plan next desired change; train as needed; find extra resources through local government; cooperate with other NGOs; create networks of other resource persons and Core Groups; use networks to confront district and regional problems; seek national and overseas funding as appropriate.
World Vision seeks to pursue this mission through an integrated holistic commitment to transformational development that is community-based and sustainable, and focused especially on the needs of children. World Vision undertakes emergency relief that assists people afflicted by conflict or disaster; and promotes justice that seeks to change unjust structures affecting the poor.
World Wildlife Fund
Known worldwide by its panda logo, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is dedicated to protecting the world's wildlife and wildlands. The largest privately supported international conservation organization in the world, WWF has sponsored more than 2,000 projects in 116 countries and has more than 1 million members in the U.S. alone.
WWF directs its conservation efforts toward three global goals: protecting endangered spaces, saving endangered species, and addressing global threats. From working to save the giant panda, tiger, and rhino to helping establish and manage parks and reserves worldwide, WWF has been a conservation leader for more than 36 years.
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