The cheers were loud among NGOs when the Australian government released a long-awaited independent review of the country’s aid program. One AusAid commitment drew the biggest applause: increased cooperation with non-governmental organizations.
The new Australian aid framework offers “exciting new opportunities to achieve authentic and lasting change for more than 1 billion people living in abject and dehumanizing poverty,” said Australia CEO Jack de Groot at the time, on July 6.
Even before the report was published, the Gillard administration had promised to increase support of Australian NGOs. In May 2011, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced plans for the expansion of the AusAID-NGO Cooperation Program, allowing 10 more Australian NGOs to participate in the scheme by 2014-2015.
Today, 33 NGOs are fully accredited with AusAID, and nine have what is called a base accreditation. A fully accredited NGO under the AusAID-NGO Cooperation Program may receive more than 300,000 Australian dollars ($326,775) a year, while those with base accreditation can only get AU$150,000 annually, according to AusAID’s website.
Australia’s partnerships with NGOs go beyond the national borders. In fact, the Building Resources Across Communities, or BRAC, which is based in Bangladesh, ranked No. 1 among nonprofits who received Australian funding in 2010.
Here are AusAID’s top 10 NGO partners for 2010, based on data from the Australian government. The data cover the total amount of contracts signed in 2010 or had not been fully performed by Dec. 31 that same year, which are valued at or above AU$100,000 each.
BRAC is reportedly the largest NGO in the developing world. It provides microloans, self-employment opportunities, as well as health, education and legal services, which it says have benefited more than 138 million people in Africa and Asia. BRAC was chosen in April 2011 as a Devex Top 40 Innovator. It boasts more than 47,000 full-time employees.
Founded: 1945 (CARE as a whole) Headquarters: Canberra, Australia CEO: Julia Newton-Howes AusAID funding (2010): AU$59.9 million
CARE Australia is one of the 14 national members of CARE International, a global charity that focuses on empowering women and children in poor countries. It works in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East. It employs more than 1,700 people, of whom more than 90 percent are nationals of the countries where the organization operates.
Founded: 1966 Headquarters: Melbourne, Australia CEO: Tim Costello AusAID funding (2010): AU$49.2 million Staff: 500 in Australia
World Vision Australia claims to be the country’s largest charitable group and that funds from more than 400,000 Australians support efforts that help more than 20 million people each year. It is part of World Vision International, which provides short- and long-term aid to 100 million globally, including 2.4 million children. In 2009, World Vision Australia was named winner of the PwC Transparency Award, which recognizes the quality and transparency of reporting in the Australian nonprofit sector.
Founded: 1919 Headquarters: Melbourne, Australia Chief executive: Suzanne Dvorak AusAID funding (2010): AU$35.7 million
Save the Children Australia is part of the global children-focused development organization Save the Children International. It implements aid programs in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Vanuatu. It leads Save the Children’s on-the-ground response to humanitarian emergencies for most of Asia and the Pacific.
Founded: 1961 Headquarters: Melbourne, Australia CEO: Dimity Fifer AusAID funding (2010): AU$33.5 million
AVI recruits Australian professionals to work as volunteers and experts in partner organizations and public agencies in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East. It is a core partner of Australia’s new overseas volunteering scheme, the Australian Volunteers for International Development. AVI has deployed more than 7,500 volunteers in the developing world.
Founded: 1992 Headquarters: Melbourne, Australia Executive director: Andrew Hewett AusAID funding (2010): AU$32.9 million
Oxfam Australia is one of the 15 organizations composing Oxfam International, which is known for lobbying decision makers to reform policies that “reinforce poverty and injustice.” It funds short- and long-term projects of its partner organizations in 19 countries in Africa and Asia and the Pacific, and provides them with capacity-building assistance. It employs more than 700 people in 12 countries.
Founded: 1914 Headquarters: Sydney, Australia President: Greg Vickery AusAID funding (2010): AU$30.6 million
The Australian Red Cross is the national chapter in Australia of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, one of the world’s oldest humanitarian relief organizations. It has 60,000 members and volunteers as well as 1,862 staff members. Its programs focus on improving community health and disaster preparedness and response in the Asia-Pacific region.
Founded: 1971 Headquarters: Melbourne, Australia CEO: Ian Wishart AusAID funding (2010): AU$24.05 million
Plan Australia is one of the 18 independent members and main funding arms of Plan International, which seeks an end to child poverty. Aside from its child sponsorship initiative, Plan Australia operates several projects to improve health and education and promote child rights in Africa and Asia.
Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.