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The roles of NGOs

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Use this information to help you answer a question about how an NGO safeguards Human Rights, prevents Human Rights Abuse, the environment, poverty, homeless.

An NGO is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) a non-profit organisation that operates independently of the government. Some operate at a local level, while others operate at a global level. To help fund their work, NGOs usually depend on donations from the public and sometimes they receive grants from the government. They also mainly rely on volunteers who are committed to the actions of the NGO.

What are the aims of NGOs?

1. NGOs aim to improve the lives of others by bringing about change.

2. NGOs aim to influence and change the attitudes of people, groups, organisations and businesses become more socially responsible.

3. NGOs aim to influence those who make the decisions, i.e MLAs, MPs, local councillors and government policy makers to encourage them to bring about change.

What is the role of an NGO?

The roles of an NGO are varied and depend on what the issue/issues they are dealing with. Here are some of the roles that NGOs are involved in carrying out:


NGOs provide practical support to those individuals and groups of people who are disadvantaged. For example an NGO may provide food, clothing, shelter, healthcare support, counselling and advice to disadvantaged groups in society both locally and globally.


NGOs hold fundraising events to collect money for different causes. They use this money to finance projects to address issues such as homelessness, poverty, healthcare provision and provide services such as food, water and healthcare to those in need.

Raise public awareness

NGOs campaign to raise awareness to make the government and the public more aware of issues such as social inequality like homelessness, poverty and healthcare provision. NGOs try to gain public support about other issues too such as social injustice and human rights abuses. They do this through fundraising events, social media campaigns and TV advertisements.

Lobbying the Government

NGOs act as a voice for disadvantaged groups in society and draw attention to the issues they face to the decision makers and policy makers in the government. NGOs lobby support for their cause within government, through research, presentations and demonstrations which can put pressure on decision makers and influence action to bring about a change.

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