Annual report and accounts

What we achieved together in 2019

The year 2019 marked the second full year of our strategy which puts women and girls at the heart of all we do.

We were proud to update our strapline to 'changing the world with women and girls', to more accurately reflect our work as well as our position as a global leader on the rights of women and girls.

In 2019 climate change came into a sharper focus. Across many countries we work in, we saw the devastating impact of climate change on local communities as world leaders gathered at the UN Climate Action Summit. 

Our Christmas fundraising appeal, 'She Can’t Wait' focussed on women and girls living through protracted emergencies driven by climate change in Bangladesh and Somaliland. Experts believed that the severity of Cyclone Idai, which affected hundreds of thousands of people in Mozambique Zimbabwe, and Malawi, was linked to the impact of climate change. 

We know that climate change is intrinsically linked to poverty, impacting the lives of the world’s poorest people the most. It is also intrinsically linked to gender, as we know from our work that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the climate catastrophe. 

That’s why our programmes around the world focus on helping women claim their rights to economic opportunities and empowering local women to lead the response in a humanitarian emergency.

As we are now almost half-way through our five-year strategy, it has been an important time to reflect on all we’ve achieved for women and girls living in poverty.

But we know there is still a long way to go on the path to achieving gender equality – a path we couldn’t be on at all without our amazing supporters, many of whom have been with us for decades, our dedicated campaigners, volunteers, and trustees. Thank you for all that you do.

2019 in numbers

More than
new supporters in the UK signed up to give a committed gift

to help change the world with women and girls

people were reached through our #MyBodyIsMine campaign raising awareness of violence against women and girls

Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid

A success story – Women’s coalitions changing lives in Somaliland

Sabad Ali is a member of an ActionAid-supported women’s coalition in her village in Somaliland.

Sabad’s life turned around after she received $300 (around £228) from the coalition’s ‘revolving fund’, which she used to invest in a small business growing cash crops on her farm and selling them at a market in the capital.

Since joining the women’s coalition, Sabad has supported the building of a new school in her village.

When the coalition began, local women built the first classroom with sticks and branches they had gathered.

Now the school has three classrooms made from bricks and corrugated iron, one of which was funded by the women’s coalition.

In crisis

essential kits were distributed  to women in Somaliland affected by severe drought

families received food and supplies after Cyclone Idai in Malawi

people received food packages during the Bangladesh floods

A success story – Ending child marriage in Bangladesh

Sarmin, from southern Bangladesh, took part in training provided by ActionAid Bangladesh’s youth forum in 2016.

There, she learned about feminist leadership and the dangers of child marriage. When Sarmin returned to her village, she told her community what she had learned. But her father wasn’t happy about her thoughts on child marriage.

He decided to marry her off to an older man she’d never met, despite Sarmin being just 16 years old. Sarmin’s father locked her in the family home to prevent her from escaping, but her friends and teachers soon came to her rescue.

They spoke to Sarmin’s parents and convinced them to cancel the marriage and let her continue her education.

Sarmin now campaigns against child marriage, educating other students about the dangers of marrying young and encouraging them to keep studying.

She is now attending university – something she wouldn’t have been able to do had she married when her father wanted her to. When she is older, she hopes to hold a government job.y have experienced, as well as receive medical referrals for cases of rape and gender-based violence.

I want to fly like a bird, like a man. I want to have a job and lead my life independently."


In solidarity


people signed our joint petition with 38 Degrees, calling on the UK government not to scrap or merge DFID


people signed our open letter to future MPs, calling on them to ensure the government continues to prioritise women and girls on the global stage

More than
people signed our petition demanding justice for women and girls who experience violence

Christie advocates for women and girls' rights in Nigeria.

ActionAid UK

A success story – ending violence against women and girls

When Christie was a teenager, she would help out at her mum’s shop in Kogi, Nigeria.

One day, a customer asked whether she could help him carry some items to his house. When they arrived, the man tried to attack her. In anger, Christie managed to push him away.

Christie, 21, is now a member of Activista Nigeria, an ActionAid-supported group of young people who work to end violence, harassment, and gender inequality.

She has successfully campaigned for streetlights to be installed at her university campus, to make girls feel safer when walking home at night. She also teaches schoolgirls about sexual harassment and women’s rights.

Over 19,000 women in Rwanda, Ghana, Bangladesh, and Pakistan received training on women’s rights and how to report violence against women and girls

In Partnership

raised by ActionAid supporters in the UK to fund child sponsorship programmes across 30 countries

received from players of the People's Postcode Lottery, to support our work promoting girls' education and tackling the root causes of violence against women and girls

women and girls in Ghana and Zimbabwe have benefited from People's Postcode Lottery-funded work

A success story - empowering women

ActionAid UK’s Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment and Rights (POWER) project has been mobilising women’s groups in Bangladesh, Ghana, and Rwanda.

The POWER project is looking at new ways to reduce the hours that women spend on unpaid care work, such as cooking and raising children. These include providing access to childcare centres, water, and fodder cutters for agricultural work as well as educating women, men, girls and boys about the time spent on unpaid care work and addressing cultural norms that influence the division of this labour.

Before she became involved in the POWER project, 27-year-old Aslema from Gaibandha, northern Bangladesh, was a housewife with no means of earning her own money.

From morning to night, Aslema's life was taken up with domestic tasks, from cleaning the house to helping her children with their homework.

Now, thanks to the POWER project, Aslema, and her husband have learned to divide their tasks equally. This has given Aslema more time to work on her sewing business, join various local committees, and get an office job.

Having the time to earn an income has meant she can now pay for her children’s education.

That is my biggest achievement."



Page updated 26 February 2021