Our approach | ActionAid UK

Our approach

In the countries where we work, our local community-based staff partner up with women and girls to find ways of taking back their rights and gaining control. A life facing violence, poverty and injustice is not a life fairly lived. 

With our grassroots experience, we demand action and change from those in power at local, national and international levels, always fighting for the rights of those without a voice. 

  • We partner with women, giving them the tools and skills to help themselves, and fight what holds them back.
  • Through our long-standing child sponsorship programme, we give children and their communities better prospects for the future.
  • We build lasting change. We don’t walk away until we see it. 
  • We work directly with and through local people, gaining unparalleled insight into what works. 
  • We respond quickly to those in urgent need with practical hands-on support.

Why we focus on women and girls 

Women and girls in many of the world’s poorest places have the same rights and hopes, and are resourceful – but the odds are stacked against them. They might face violence, be forced to marry young, get taken out of school, barred from making decisions or earning their own living. They often have no choice about how they live their lives. 

Our local staff understand the threats and challenges girls and women face. Working together they find ways to overcome these injustices, and regain the control and self-reliance to make their own decisions; go and study, earn a living, own land or choose their own husband. 

We focus on women and girls. Because when they unlock their potential and claim their rights, they can change the course of their lives, and the lives of their families, forever. 


Child sponsorship benefits the whole village 

Sponsoring a child doesn’t just help them; it helps other children and their families improve their lives too. Our sponsorship staff at the projects understand what the greatest needs are: whether they are food, clean water, an education, or healthcare. So they are best placed to work with communities to put lasting solutions in place.

Our child sponsors have a very personal connection, and get a unique insight into the lives of the children they sponsor and the communities that benefit.  

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.

Building lasting change

We don’t impose solutions. We listen and work with communities to make sure their voices are heard and that they’re actively involved in solving the problems they face. That way we build change that lasts. 

We campaign against big global issues to make tax fair everywhere. We tackle endemic and gender-based violence. We fight for women’s rights. In this way, we tackle the root causes of poverty and release the resources needed to drive change. 

On the frontline

Our local staff respond fast to women and children living in desperate need with the right kind of practical help, be it clean water, food, medicines or healthcare, and a safe place to shelter during an emergency. 

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All of our work is focussed on five key objectives outlined by ActionAid's International Federation.

ActionAid helps change the lives of the poorest, most disadvantaged women and children in the world.

We work in communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Photos: Greg Funnell/ActionAid, Lorenzo Tugnoli/ActionAid, Jason Larkin/Panos Pictures/ActionAid, Brian Sokol/ActionAid,

Page updated 20 July 2018