There is only one office, based in Washington DC. It was opened in 2001. Initially the office focused on research and lobbying the World bank and IMF. ActionAid US has retained its excellence in these advocacy skills, though the emphasis is now on changing US government policy rather than those global institutions.
ActionAid US has also added several more strings to its bow over the years. The office now raises significant funds to help ActionAid offices in other countries in their fight against poverty. It is also now reaching out to the American public to build more support for human rights and international development.
It was fascinating to see how ActionAid’s approach to public mobilisation differs in the US. In many ways, they use the same tools there as in Britain. I even spotted a photo I used last month on the cover of their annual report. But other things are very different. In general, Americans are more comfortable hearing about human rights and particularly women’s rights. On the other hand, they like their reports and websites to have a much straighter style; funny images of world leaders dressed in outrageous costumes are a lot less popular there than here in the UK.