*** international organizations non-governmental organizations

International Non-Governmental Organizations

non-governmental organizations
Figure 1.--This photograph of Queen Silvia of Sweden shows here supporting the SOS Children's Village program in India during 1993. SOS was a program to help children founded in Austria to assist children in the tragic aftermath of World War II.

Non-governmental organizations are also very new organizations. They appeared at about the same time that governmental organizations began to appear (late-19th century). The earliest non-religious organization we know of any importance was the Red Cross (1864). Most governmental organizations were organized in the 20th century. Quite a few came out of World War I, but it was World war II that esultd in even more organizations. Nany of these new organizations had a special interest in children or were specifically designed to aid children, like Save the Children. After the War a vast network of humanitriam organizations were formed and invreasing concern with the enviroment resulted in even mmore different groups. The environmental groups wre not specifically orinted towrd children, but children took a special interest in them.


CARE began with shipments of food to war- torn Europe to prevent starvation and hunger. Seeing the privation througout Europe, 22 American charities (civic, religious, cooperative and labor organizations) founded the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE). They began to deliver millions of CARE packages all over Europe. These small packages with food and other relief supplies helped families survive midst vast food shortages. They had a huge impact on the lives of the recipients. CARE packages even helped people in former enemies, Germany and Japan. CARE did not cease to operate as Europe began to recover. Over the next three decades, CARE shifted its focus from helping Europeans to delivering assistance in the developing world. A major effort was made to help Koreans after the Communists invaded South Korea. As the developing world becme CARE's focus, the effort changes from just relief supplies and food distribution to a broad range of programs, including education, natural resources management, nutrition, water and sanitation, and healthcare in Africa, Asia and Latin America. CARE also began an effort to assist people hit affected by major emergencies, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, famines, and other disasters. A major focus of CARE today is poverty. CARE was founded in 1945 when abjectly neeed people were the result of a lack of basic goods, services, and healthcare bcause of World War II. As Europe recovered, CARE noted the great beeds of people in the Third world. CARE officials began to junderstand that poverty and want is often caused by the denial of rights, opportunities and assets. The cause varies, but is a mixture of social exclusion, marginalization, and discrimination. CARE shifted to what we call a �rights based approach� to development (early-1990s). Although Europe remained part of the groups name for decades, it even by the late-1950s was not the focus of operation. (Actually the acronmn was so widely used that few prople knew that the 'E' meant Europe. The organizers finally decided to change the meaning of its acronymn to 'Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere' (1993). CARE recently began a new effort to focusing on women�s empowerment (2007). This came from understanding from more than six decades of experience that women are the key to lifting entire families out of poverty.

Children's International

Children International (CI) is a global nonprofit humanitarian organization that helps children break the cycle of poverty. It addresses children�s critical needs through early intervention and regular interaction in community centers. The goal is to help children overcome the effects of poverty, support their education, and prepare youth to contribute to society. CI began as as Holy Land Christian Mission (1936). The organization began by distributig food baskets to widows and poor families and providing early childhood education. They operated a small medical clinic as well as a children�s home for orphans. Their clinic was expanded following a polio outbreak (1952) and offered other services over the years. It became known as the Mt. David Crippled Children�s Hospital, the clinic provided critical orthopedic medical services until it closd. The organization began expanding its scope by launching sponsorship agencies, mostly in Latin America (Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic). It changde its name to Children International and took on a more secular role. CI is currently a secular organization which supports equal participation for all children regardless of religion. It operates in 10 countries, including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States and Zambia.

Doctors without Borders

Many humanitarian NGOs were founded in America and Britain. M�decins Sans Fronti�res (MSF--Doctors without Borders)is the best known humanitarian effort founded in France. And it emerged not from a hmanitarian crisis in Africa and Asia, but the Parisian student upheavals (May 1968). A group of young French doctors decided that they would help victims of wars and major disasters no matter where they were. MSF founder, Bernard Kouchner, exolained, It's simple really: go where the psatients are. It seems obvious, but at the time it was a revolutiinary concept borders got in the way. It's no coincidence that we call it, 'M�decins Sans Fronti�res'. MSF explains, "After the revolt of May '68 burst onto their black and white TV screens, the French public soon saw other, more frightening images. For the first time, television broadcasted scenes of children dying from hunger in remote corners of the world. In southern Nigeria, the province of Biafra had seceded. This minuscule territory was surrounded by the Nigerian army and the Biafran people were decimated by famine. The French Red Cross issued an appeal for volunteers." The Red Cross does a great deal of good work, but it is not a medical organization. It has to recruit doctors for its many operations. And it was a group of young French doctors that answered the Biafra call. From that group MSF was born. One can not question the humnitsrian spirit that motivates the MSF. And they unquestionably do wonderful work. Ignoring political issues raises issues. Political and social issues cause most of terrible conditions that MSF attempts to address. Thus unless the political issues are addressed the terrible tragedies we see will go on forever. Of course natural disasters are different. But much of the work MSF does id not dealing with natural disasters, but the result of political and social issues. Like most of humanitarian NGOs, the finding comes primarily from the West.

Green Peace

International Help for Children

International Help for Children (IHC)." IGC is a British chrity begun by Margaret McEwen during Wiorld War II (1944). The deaa was to provide holidays to needy British and European Children affected by the World War II especially refugees and those thrown into poverty by the effects of war. The first major problem was aiding Dutch children adversely impacted by the German occupation, especially the Hunger Wiunter. IHS was formally organized (1947). It operated for 53 years helping children in many countries. We notice efforts to assist children in Lithiania. Finally it was converted into the Margaret McEwen trust which is involved in other charitable actuvities.

Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

The American Jewish Joint Destrubution Committee (JDC) was estanlihed after the Ottoman Empire entered World War by joining the Central Powers. This isolated Jewish communities in Palistine and the wider Middle East cintrolled by the Ottomans (1914). The JDC was formed by a temporary collective of three existing religious and secular Jewish organizations (the American Jewish Relief Committee, the Central Committee for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War, and People�s Relief Committee). (1914). Jewish communities in the Pale also suffered as the Germans n the Eastern Front pushed into Poland (1915). This temporary effort turned into a permnent effort. And with the rise of the NAZIs in Germany (1933), once of the greatest humanitarin crises in history developed. At first it was primrily German Jews that were targeted. With the outbreak of the War and the the NAZI Holocaust (1939), all of European Jewery faced the threat of annihilation. The severity of the crisis was beyond the capability of any privte organization to address. put new, unprecedented demands on the American Jewish community and JDC to respond. And the bility of the JDC to help was severly restricted as NAZI conquests expanded making it imposible for the JDC to operate in the contries where Jews were most threatened. As the NAZIs reverted to mass miurder, relief efforts could do little. ThevJDC did what it could. The managed to get 81,000 out of NAZI-occupied Europe to safety. The JDC managed to smuggled aid to some Jewish prisoners in labor camps and helped finance the Polish Jewish underground in preparations for the Warsaw Ghetto revolt (1943). The JDC proved to be a major channel to get reports on the Holocaust to American Jewish leaders and the internationl media. After the liberation of Europe progresse and especially with the NAZI surrender (May 1945), the JDC was finally able to get relief supplies to the Holocaust victims. The JDC played a major role in the Displaced Persons (DP) camps

Oxfam International

Oxfam is a largely British charity created as a result of the World War II Greek famine. This occurred after the NAZI occupation of Greece (April 1941). The Germans began seizing food supplies for transport to the Reich. This caused a famine in Greece. Primeminister Churchill opposed the effort and banned on aid to Greece. Obviously feeding occupied countries made it easirt for the NAZIs to loot the countries to support the war effort. Oxfam defended their Greek famine relief effort, claiming that they were apolitical and neutral on issues unrelated not related to the mission set for themselves--feeding the hungry. Oxfam continues with this effort and because of their insistamce on being apolitical, deals with countries involved with terrible attrocities. Currently that means Sudan wageing the genocide in Darfur and the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe commiting terrible crimes against humanity. Oxfam justifies this by saying if they criticized these and other similar regimes, their relief efforts would be threatened. Oxfam thus does business with the dictators in Sudan and Zimbabwe and remains mute about genocide and famine. Oxfam insists that these larger issues are not what they were established to address and to do so would endanger their core mission. Oxfam makes one exception to its apolitical stance and that is Israel. Oxfam�s has repeateldly persued political condemnations of Israel. It has repeatedly condemned Israel for human rights violations, but remained silent on Palestinian human rights abuses--such as suicide bombing of civilians, rockets attacks on Isreali civilians, and the use of children for attacks on Isrealis. Oxfam takes a very active position on the Isreali-Arab condlict, stongly supporting thge Atabs. They demanded, for example, that the British Government reveal if British companies have supplied components for Apache helicopters to Israel that were used to kill Hamas leaders envolved on terror attacks. There was no comparable Oxfam effort to investigate British concerns funelling money to Hamas which is carring out terror attacks. Recently we have learned of Oxfam enployees engaging in dispicavle behavior like using the ogranization's money to hire prostitutes in Haiti.

Red Cross

The first mon-religiou international organization was the Red Cross (1864). The Red Cross was created to alleviate human suffering and to promote public health. J.H. Dunnat in Switzerland played a key role in the founding of the Red Cross. The Red Cross was founded in Switzerland because of its neutral status. The symbol of the Red Cross became appropriately a red cross, the reverse of the Swiss flag. Self-governing Red Cross societies were formed in member countries. Clara Barton helped found the American Red Cross (1881). The governing body of the Red Cross is the International Committee for the Red Cross. From the very begnning the Red Cross asked infividual countries to organize national chapters. The Red Cross for the most part id is supported by volunary contributions. This was complicated by the appearance of Communiust countries where the state and Party controlled economoc activity as well as varing attitiudes toward charity in different countries. The Red Cross is the premier charitable organization to deal with natural disasters and the impact of war on civilans and soldiers. The Red Cross provided invaluable servives during World sar I and World War II in Europe. In the Pacific, the Japanese refused to cooperate. The Japanese chapter was founded (1887) and Japan even hosted the 15th International Conference of the Red Cross (1934). But the Japanese militaty ordered its soldiers not to surrender and treated Allied POWs horribly. The Red Cross has played critical roles in numeous natural disasters. Its ability is limited, however, in developing countries without infrastructure. Here the Red Cross have to rely on member countries able to rapidly deploy disaster assistance which largely meant the United States. There have been some serious problems with the Red Cross. The German chapter was taking over by the NAZIs and thus tagently involved in the Holocaust. The International Committee has in recent years been politicized especally by Muslim countries.

SOS Children's Villages

SOS literature stresses that one person can make a difference. Working together we make lasting changes. Hermann Gmeiner, a child welfare worker, in the aftermath of World War II, founded SOS Children's Villages on a shoestring. The first SOS Children�s Village was founded by Hermann Gmeiner in Tyrol, Austria, (1949). As a child welfare worker, Gmeiner saw how children orphaned as a result of World War II suffered. He was committed to helping them by building loving families and supportive communities. With the generous support of donors, child sponsors, partners and friends, Gmeiner's vision of providing loving care in a family environment for children without parental care, and of helping families stay together so they can care for their children, has grown steadily over six decades. Today, SOS Children's Villages is active in 135 countries and territories around the world, helping hundreds of thousands of children each year through alternative care, family strengthening, schools, health centres, and other community-based work.

Save the Children (1919- )

World War I was greatest crisis in European history since the Thirty Years War (17th century). It was nuch worse than even the Napoleonic Wars necause there was fishing going on without interuption along huge battle lines like the Eastern and Western Front. And because the fighting was continuous as well as involved the conscription of much of the agricultural work force. As a result, food production declined even in the countries that were major food exporters before the War like Tsarist Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This mean that during the War people began to starve and by the end of the War were starving. America was able to save the Belgians occuopied by the Germans at the onset of the War, essentially inventing massive humanitarian relief. Eastern Europe was, however, beyond the reach of American food aid and millions of people were at risk, especially the children who are especially vulnrable to food deprivation. After the War, America came to the rescue with a massive food relief effort. The need was so great that only a massive government-sponsored effort could save millions of desperate Europeans. Britain was not capable of meetung this needed as it had to rely on Americn food shipments during the War. But the need was immense and an English woman, Eglantyne Jebb, established the Save the Children Fund to feed starving children after the War (1919). It was a wonderful effort although being a privare charity with limited financing and the post-War situation in Britain, there was only so much they could do given the enormity of the problem. They were active in Central Europe, Greece, and Russia. An interntional organization was founded (1920). The League of Nations adopted Eglantyne�s charter on children�s rights (1924). Jebbdied (1929). STC largely lapsed in the inter-War era. The situation was even worse in World War II because the children were not just threatened by neglect and shortages were actively targeted by Germany's NAZI Government (1939-45). And with the NAZIs dominating the Ciontinent, there was little STC could do except in Britain during much of the War. . After the War, images of malnourished and sick children shocked the public. Jebb and her sister worked to gain public sympathy in order to generate donations. STC staff were among the first into the liberated areas after World War II. This began in Italy and then after D-DAy France abnd the Low countries. They worked with refugee children and displaced persons, including survivors of NAZI concentration camps. STC also worked in Britain to assist children growing up in cities devastated by bombing and facing huge disruptions in family life. The post-War European revovery helped STC provided increased chritable donations in Europe and America to aid children in conflict-affected regions. STC chapters were foiounded in other countries, includig countries that had received STC assistance during the two world wars. STC formed an alliance to coordinate campaigning work to improve outcomes for the world�s children. The result was Save the Children Internatiinal (STCI) (1977). Disasters in Ethiopia, Sudan, and many other world hotspots led to appeals which brought public donations on a huge scale. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Nearly 200 countries have committed to this legally binding convention. In addition to the parent British organisation, there are now 29 other national Save the Children chapters who are members of the Save the Children Alliance, a global network of nonprofit organisations supporting local partners in some 120 countries around the world. STCI was the largest humanitarian operation, in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004-09). The response effort was possible because of over $270 million in donatiomns. STCI launched a new effort, EVERY ONE, their largest ever global campaign, to prevent millions of mothers and young children from dying (2009). STCI reports touching the lives of over 125 million children worldwide and directly reached 45 million children (2012).

Socialist Internationals

The central themne of socialism is that the goods produced in society should be held in common and distrubuted equally. This basic idea is not new. Idealized socialist concepts can be identified as early as ancient Greece in Plato's Republic, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and the millenarian movements of medieval Europe. Socialist concepts were expressed as Europe entered the modern era. Beginning in the late 19th century, a series of international congresses were held to promote the world socialist movement. After the Russian Revolution, the Socialist or Communist internatinals became a tool of Soviet foreign policy.


�Oxfam calls for clarity on Apaches,� Guardian (Britain) (April 21, 2004).


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Created: 12:17 AM 4/10/2018
Last updated: 4:25 PM 12/22/2018