Our unique approach | ActionAid UK

ActionAid UK

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 girls understand the power they have to change their own lives, for good.

How we’re different

  • we empower women and girls to help themselves, and we fight what holds them back
  • we work directly with and through local people
  • 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.

Empowering women and girls

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.

ActionAid’s Fellowship Programme supports young people who want to improve their rural communities, and gives women a say in decisions that affect their lives. In Myanmar we've supported 600 fellows to develop village plans, which allow them to record detailed information about issues such as girls’ access to education and women’s rights.

Fellows' plans are now being used by local governments to improve communities. One of our youngest female fellows, 19-year-old Khin Soe, says: "The course opened my eyes - before I just accepted these problems. I’d never tried to analyse the causes and what we could do about them."

Find out more about why we put women and girls first


Actionaid Fellow Sukyi Khaing, 24


Actionaid Fellow Sukyi Khaing, 24, with villagers of Soe Taw village, Myanmar.

Photo: Greg Funnell/ActionAid

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 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 gender-based violence we’re helping to change the systems of our global economy that hold women and girls back and 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. When public services are underfunded, it's women and girls who pay the highest price. That’s why we’re campaigning to stop UK companies from tax dodging in countries like Zambia, so that girls like Rosemary can fulfill their right to a quality education.

Find out more about our work on tax justice

Rosemary Mpapa, Ndege Basic School, Zambia

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

Photo: Jason Larkin/Panos Pictures/ActionAid

On the frontline

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

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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,