Aid agency

Aid agency

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An aid agency is an organisation dedicated to distributing aid
In international relations, aid is a voluntary transfer of resources from one country to another, given at least partly with the objective of benefiting the recipient country....

. Many professional aid organisations exist, both within government (e.g. AusAID, USAID, DFID, EuropeAid
EuropeAid Co-operation Office
The Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid Directorate General is one of the departments of the European Commission. EuropeAid operates under the authority of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs.- Background :...

ECHO (European Commission)
The Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission , formerly known as the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office, is the European Commission's department for overseas humanitarian aid...

), between governments as multilateral donors (e.g. UNDP) and as private voluntary organizations (or non-governmental organisations, e.g. ActionAid
ActionAid was founded in 1972 as a child sponsorship charity when 88 UK supporters sponsored 88 children in India and Kenya, the focus primarily being to provide children with an education. Global accounts are now reported in Euros and in 2007 and 2008 turnover was close to 180m Euros...

, Oxfam
Oxfam is an international confederation of 15 organizations working in 98 countries worldwide to find lasting solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world. In all Oxfam’s actions, the ultimate goal is to enable people to exercise their rights and manage their own lives...

). The International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 is unique in being mandated by international treaty to uphold the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...


Aid can be subdivided into two categories: humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crises including natural disaster and man-made disaster. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity...

 (emergency relief efforts, e.g. in response to natural disasters), and development aid
Development aid
Development aid or development cooperation is aid given by governments and other agencies to support the economic, environmental, social and political development of developing countries.It is distinguished...

 (or foreign aid), aimed at helping countries to achieve long-term sustainable economic growth, with the aim of achieving poverty reduction
Poverty reduction
Poverty is the state of human beings who are poor. That is, they have little or no material means of surviving—little or no food, shelter, clothes, healthcare, education, and other physical means of living and improving one's life....

. Some aid agencies carry out both kinds of aid (e.g. EcoCARE Pacific Trust), whilst others specialise (e.g. Red Cross, humanitarian aid; War on Want
War on Want
War on Want is an anti-poverty charity based in London, England. It seeks to highlight the needs of poverty-stricken areas around the world and lobbies governments and international agencies to tackle problems as well as raising public awareness of the concerns of developing nations while...

, development aid).

See also

External links