What is an NGO?

Non-governmental organisations, or NGOs, are legally constituted organisations which do not form part of a government, are not-for-profit and work at all levels to alleviate suffering by performing a variety of humanitarian and developmental services or to address specific issues in support of the public good.

Where an NGO is partially or completely funded by governments, it maintains non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership and from having decision-making power within the organisation.

Specifically NGOs are:

  • Not owned or directly related to a government, any other regional/local authority, de facto authority, faction, clan or administrative group, and should be independent thereof;
  • Not-for-profit organisations;
  • Self-governing;
  • Task/process oriented and typically made up of people with a common interest to alleviate suffering and perform a variety of humanitarian and developmental services and functions.

Our Core Values

Humanitarian Principles and Do No Harm: We are guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neitrality and independence. We are committed to ethical and responsible actions and activities in the service of communities and people.

Enabling Environment: We believe in an enabling environment as common ground for local and international NGOs to operate.

Identity and Collective Action: We will build and nurture the identity and power collective action of NGOs to achieve common goals. In all our actions we strive to develop people's capacity and confidence to increase the strength of individuals and communities.

Improvement and Quality Services: We are committed to continued improvement and delivery of high quality services to our members. 

Transparency & Accountability: Through our policies and procedures, and in all our actions, we ensure we are transparent and accountable, answering to our partners, membership and stakeholders.

Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief

All members are signatories to the 'Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief'.

  1. The humanitarian imperative comes first.
  2. Aid is given regardless of the race, creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind. Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone.
  3. Aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint.
  4. We shall endeavour not to act as instruments of government foreign policy.
  5. We shall respect culture and custom.
  6. We shall attempt to build disaster response on local capacities.
  7. Ways shall be found to involve programme beneficiaries in the management of relief aid.
  8. Relief aid must strive to reduce future vulnerabilities to disaster as well as meeting basic needs.
  9. We hold ourselves accountable to both those we seek to assist and those from whom we accept resources.
  10. In our information, publicity and advertising activities, we shall recognize disaster victims as dignified human beings, not hopeless objects

The Code of Conduct is available to download or view online.