Our unique approach

Helping people claim their basic rights to achieve lasting change is at the centre of our approach. Survival isn't enough. We help women and children understand the power they have to change their own lives for good.

How we’re different

  • we work directly with and through local people
  • we empower women and children to help themselves
  • we’re on the frontline; we respond fast with practical hands-on support
  • we do more than give short-term solutions; we build lasting change.

Working through local people

Almost all of the people and partners who run our programmes are from the developing world. This means our staff are on the ground experiencing poverty at first hand. We see day-to-day how poverty affects people’s lives, and are uniquely placed to give a voice to the women and children who suffer most.

On this page

Najiba is at the forefront of tackling violence against women in Afghanistan. Thanks to ActionAid training, she has become one of the first female paralegals in Afghanistan, educating women on their rights and defending them in court. She says, “With all this experience it is easier now to interact with women in need, to understand deeply their problems.” She has now worked on over 100 cases of domestic violence, helping women seek justice.

Read more about our work on women's rights

Empowering people

We help women to take an active role in developing solutions that will be most effective for them and their children. We respect women’s own knowledge and give them training so they can learn the skills they need to support themselves.

The area where Mukta and her mother live in Bangladesh is severely affected by flash flooding, which can wipe out the community’s food supply and cause terrible hunger. Through ActionAid Child Sponsorship, the community has built embankments to defend their crops against the floodwaters. “Before, we went hungry,” Mukta said, “but now we can eat – so, I don’t feel that pain.”

Find out more about our work on hunger

Mutka enjoying a meal at home with her family.

Photo: Nicolas Axelrod/ActionAid

On the frontline

We respond fast to women and children in desperate need with practical, hands-on help. We focus on supporting people living on the margins of survival: who are hungry, lack access to clean water and are at risk of violence and exploitation.

After the two earthquakes hit Nepal in April 2015, our teams were on the ground straight away giving out food and shelter and creating special tents for children like Pranita to overcome their trauma. Her mother told us:

"After the quakes, Pranita used to scream in her sleep. Since she began attending the Child Safety Shelter, her fear and depression following the earthquake has been growing less each day."

Read more about how we help people in emergencies

Building lasting change

We don’t impose solutions. We listen and then work with people to make sure their voice is heard and that they’re actively involved in solving the problems they face, so we can build change that lasts. By campaigning against issues like tax dodging and unfair wages we’re helping to change the systems of our global economy that keep countries poor.

Rosemary Mpapa’s school in Zambia has so few resources that many children don’t have desks. Zambia’s government aims to provide free education but to do this it needs more money, money it should get from tax, but it is losing out on millions though tax breaks and loopholes. That’s why we’re campaigning to stop UK companies from tax dodging in countries like Zambia, so that children like Rosemary can fulfill their right to a quality education.

Find out more about our work on tax

Rosemary Mpapa, Ndege Basic School, Zambia, Ndege Basic School, Zambia.

Photo: Jason Larkin/Panos Pictures/ActionAid

Photos: ActionAid, Nicolas Axelrod/ActionAid, Brian Sokol/ActionAid, Jason Larkin/Panos Pictures/ActionAid,