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NGOs, International Partnerships, and Initiatives

This page provides important background of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international partnerships, and initiatives — all working to improve the lives of countless suffering people around the world — that most closely relate to the work of the Global RESULTS branch. Terms under other topics are defined in the glossary, or visit Background Information on the Legislative Process.

Click on a link in the following list to read more:

Basic Education Coalition

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

Catalytic Fund — see Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI)

Directly-Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS)

Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI)

Friends of the Global Fight

Global TB Drug Facility

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM)

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus

Grameen Foundation USA

G8: The Group of 8

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD or “The Union”)

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

Measles Initiative

Millennium Campaign

ONE Campaign

Open Society Institute (OSI)

Partners in Health (PIH)

Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)

Stop TB Partnership

U.K. Department for International Development (DFID)

UNAIDS — see Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

United Nations Foundation

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

World Health Organization (WHO)

World Bank (WB)

Basic Education Coalition

The Basic Education Coalition was created in 2001 as a group of 20 development organizations working to increase knowledge about, raise the priority of, and increase support for quality basic education for all; this would serve as a means of promoting economic development and human well-being given that basic education is the foundation for long term, sustainable success in development. Coalition members work in more than 100 countries. RESULTS is a member of the Basic Education Coalition.

www.basiced.org

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is Canada’s lead agency for development assistance. CIDA supports sustainable development, working to reduce poverty and provide humanitarian assistance with the ultimate goal of promoting a more secure, equitable, and prosperous world. CIDA works to impact the development challenges identified in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through programs and projects in 100 developing countries. CIDA works together with international organizations as well as other Canadian organizations in the public and private sectors.

http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/index-e.htm

Directly-Observed Treatment, Short-Course (DOTS)

Directly-Observed Treatment, Short-Course (DOTS) is the internationally-recommended tuberculosis control strategy endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). DOTS was developed as a means to directly observe patients taking their medications, thus ensuring that their tuberculosis is cured and not allowed to progress into a drug resistant TB form (MDR-TB or XDR-TB). Working to both detect and cure TB patients, DOTS encompasses the following basic components: (1) political commitment with increased and sustained financing, (2) case detection through quality-assured bacteriology (as well as a strengthened laboratory network), (3) standardized treatment, with supervision and patient support, (4) an effective drug supply and management system, and (5) a monitoring and evaluation system, including impact measurement.

Correct DOTS treatment reduces the spread of TB infections in regions heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, extending the lives of millions of HIV positive people. Moreover, DOTS offers the most effective way of reaching those who may not be receiving any medical care or even know their HIV status. The program can produce cure rates of up to 95 percent even in the poorest countries. It is one of the most cost-effective health interventions available today, costing just US$20–100 to save a life. A full six-month course of anti-TB drugs to treat a standard case of TB is priced at as little as US$16. Despite an affordable treatment, DOTS programs are detecting less than half (45 percent) of infectious TB cases worldwide.

http://www.who.int/tb/dots/en/

Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI)

The Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI) is a global partnership between donor and developing countries to ensure accelerated progress toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of achieving universal primary education by 2015. Through this initiative, developing countries agree to put primary education at the forefront of their domestic efforts and develop sound national education plans. Donors then agree to provide coordinated and increased financial and technical support for these plans. Countries that lack donor support can get assistance from the FTI Catalytic Fund, which was created in 2003 to provide transitional financial support to low-income countries that have education plans endorsed by the FTI. This fund helps countries begin to scale up the implementation of their sector programs and attract longer-term support from new donors by establishing a track record of performance. Although the United States is one of the key donor partners, the U.S. has not yet contributed money to the Catalytic Fund. Current donors include Belgium, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, the European Commission, and Ireland. As of yet, 18 developing countries have received or are receiving grants from the Catalytic Fund.

http://www1.worldbank.org/education/efafti/

Friends of the Global Fight

Friends of the Global Fight is organized to educate, engage, and mobilize Americans in the fight to end AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The organization focuses these efforts on building political support; they inspire decision makers in Washington DC to commit to countering these diseases and to supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. As part of their efforts to educate, Friends of the Global Fight posts very interesting fact sheets on their website, which we encourage you to check out:

http://theglobalfight.org

Global TB Drug Facility (GDF)

The Global TB Drug Facility (GDF) was established in 2001 by the Stop TB Partnership as a mechanism to expand both access to and availability of high-quality anti-tuberculosis drugs, which will facilitate the expansion of DOTS (a TB control strategy). GDF is essential to addressing the insecure financing and frequent shortages of TB drugs, which is the main barrier to eliminating TB. It provides procurement and financing services to qualified applicants. This in turn allows governments and non-governmental organizations to improve their coverage and quality of global TB control by attaining quality TB drugs. Since its founding, just over five years ago, the Global TB Drug Facility has supplied more than 9 million patient treatments to over 70 countries.

www.stoptb.org/gdf

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM)

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) was created in 2002 to dramatically increase resources needed to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases which, combined, kill over 6 million people a year. As a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector, and affected communities, the Global Fund works to efficiently and accountably move substantial resources to private and public organizations working on the ground to combat these diseases and to sustain funding based on results. Thus, the Global Fund does not implement programs directly — it relies on local experts to do so while instead acting as the financer.

At RESULTS, we support the Global Fund as one of the most effective and efficient mechanisms to fight these diseases; 98 percent of funds going directly to lifesaving programs around the world. Moreover, while the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) provides significant resources to fight AIDS in 15 of the hardest-hit countries, the Global Fund can complement this U.S. Bilateral initiative by providing global coverage and reaching the rest of the world. To date, the Global Fund has committed $3 billion in resources to 128 countries. By funding the work of new and existing Global Fund programs, we can save millions of lives, stop the spread of disease and halt the devastation to families, communities, and economies around the world.

Furthermore, RESULTS was instrumental in pushing the United States Government to increase funding for the Global Fund in the continuing resolution for FY 2007. The U.S. will contribute $724 million for 2007, the highest donation ever made by the United States to the Global Fund.

www.theglobalfund.org

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that studies how the federal government spends its taxpayer dollars under the direction of Congress. It is commonly called the “investigative arm of Congress” or the “congressional watchdog,” advising Congress and the heads of executive agencies (such as the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others) about methods of making the government more responsive and effective. Laws and acts result from its work that improve governmental operations and save billions of dollars.

www.gao.gov

Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus

The Grameen Bank, developed by Muhammad Yunus, has created a new type of banking, whereby credit is given to poor people in rural Bangladesh without collateral through a program called microfinance. Though unconventional by the standards of ordinary banks, this is a cost-effective way to provide people with a dignified route out of poverty. As of February of 2007, the Grameen Bank has 7 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. It provides services to 75,950 villages with its 2,381 branches, covering over 90 percent of the total villages in Bangladesh.

Muhammad Yunus, together with his Grameen Bank, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his development of microfinance, which helped spark a movement across the developing world toward eradicating poverty through microlending. His program began in 1976 when, as an economics professor at Chittagong University in Bangladesh, Yunus lent a grand total of $27 to 42 hardworking, impoveraged villagers. The loans allowed the borrowers to purchase the raw materials for their trade themselves (rather than borrow from the moneylenders), sell their products on the open market, and thus break the cycle of poverty. These loans provided Yunus with the microlending idea, which grew into his establishment of the extremely successful Grameen Bank. Yunus reveals the nature of his bank and its development in his book, Banker to the Poor.

http://www.grameen-info.org/bank/

Grameen Foundation USA

Grameen Foundation USA is dedicated to reducing global poverty through microfinance, which provides minuscule loans that allow the poorest people of the world (mostly women) to start very small businesses and thus lift themselves out of poverty, making better lives for their families. This simple yet brilliant system was developed by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus who established his Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983. Grameen Foundation USA is a partner to 52 microfinance institutions in 22 different countries. It focuses on supporting microfinance institutions, harnessing the power of technology, connecting microfinance institutions with capital markets, and expanding microfinance industry knowledge.

www.grameenfoundation.org

G8: The Group of 8

The Group of 8 (G8) is an international forum for the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These eight countries together encompass approximately 65 percent of the world’s economy. The group originally included 7 members (the G-7) but grew to become the Group of 8 when Russia joined in 1997. Since 1975, the heads of state or government of these countries have met to discuss and seek consensus on ways to address the major economic and political issues facing their countries. These annual “Summit” meetings incorporate the activities that the group has undertaken throughout the year, including policy research and year-round conferences. Issues addressed at the meetings range from terrorism to financial crime, nuclear safety and security, non-proliferation, human rights, arms control, and regional security. Each year, the site of the Summit meeting rotates among the member countries.

http://usinfo.state.gov/ei/economic_issues/group_of_8/what_is_the_g8.html

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to enabling the rural poor to overcome poverty. IFAD works with the rural poor people themselves as well as governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, and many other partners to develop country specific solutions through programs and projects; the ultimate goal of these solutions is to empower the poor to achieve higher incomes and improved food security. Since its founding in 1977 as a result of the 1974 World Food Conference, IFAD has reached over 300 million rural poor people with its 732 programs and projects and investment of $9.5 billion. Its strategic objectives are to increase the equitable access of rural poor people to financial services, markets, technology, land, and other natural resources, as well as to strengthen the capacity of the rural poor and their organizations. IFAD membership is open to any member state of the United Nations, one of its specialized agencies, or the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In 1985, RESULTS helped to resolve a squabble between the U.S. and OPEC that jeopardized all international funding for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and threatened to shut it down.

www.ifad.org

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is comprised of 185 member countries as an international organization established to “promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment.” Its purposes include surveillance (the process of monitoring and consultation), financial assistance (providing loans to countries experiencing balance of payment problems), and technical assistance (helping countries build their human and institutional capacity).

The fund was created in 1945 after the Bretton Woods Conference, which set up the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund after World War II. Though the IMF is international organization, the United States has more than three times the influence than any other member state, with 18.25 percent of the vote (while the Fund is also based in Washington, DC).* Generally, there has been great criticism of the IMF, particularly for the structural adjustment programs it imposes as a condition for receiving loans.

http://www.imf.org/

*(Source: http://www.augustreview.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=4)

International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD or “The Union”)

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (known to its members as “the Union”) works world-wide, particularly in low-income countries, to prevent and control tuberculosis and lung disease, as well as related health problems. Established originally in 1956 as the International Union Against Tuberculosis and later changed in 1989 to its current name, the Union aims to develop, implement, and assess anti-TB and respiratory health programs with the ultimate goal of promoting national autonomy within the framework of the priorities of each country. A membership organization with partners around the world (including organizations and governments), it takes action by providing education to decision-makers as well as the general public, technical assistance, and support for research.

www.iuatld.org

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), founded in 1974, seeks to advance international cooperation through the sharing of knowledge and experience with the ultimate goal of building peace and prosperity by achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This independent governmental administrative institution coordinates official development assistance (ODA) for the government of Japan. In 2006, the Japanese government decided on reorganizing Japan’s ODA, which includes plans to merge JICA with the part of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation that presently extends loans to developing countries. When completed in 2008, the reformed JICA will include 97 overseas offices, projects in more than 150 countries, and financial resources of about $8.5 billion. This new JICA will improve research and training capacity, contribute to development strategies, strengthen cooperation with international institutes, and better communicate Japan’s position on development and aid issues. Its activities are being reorganized around three principles: (1) a field oriented approach, (2) human security, and (3) effectiveness, efficiency, and speed.

www.jica.go.jp

Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) — not to be confused with USAID — is the central advocate for accelerated, comprehensive, and coordinated global action on the battle against HIV/AIDS. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the program’s strategies include preventing the transmission of HIV, providing treatment and care to those already infected, and mitigating the impact of the disease. It compiles efforts and resources of ten UN system organizations to the global AIDS response, and works on the ground in more than 75 countries around the world. The aim of UNAIDS is to build and support an expanded response to the AIDS epidemic that engages many sectors and partners from both government and civil society. Established in 1994 and launched in 1996, the program is guided by a Program Coordinating Board that includes representatives of 22 governments, the 10 UNAIDS cosponsors, and 5 representatives of nongovernmental organizations.

www.unaids.org

Measles Initiative

Measles Initiative is a long-term commitment among leaders in public health to reduce measles deaths worldwide by 90 percent by 2010 compared to 2000 estimates. The initiative works to support country efforts to carry out vaccination campaigns and routine immunization. Since 1999, thanks in large part to support of the Measles Initiative and the commitment from the governments of Africa, 1.2 million lives have been saved and 217 million children have been vaccinated against Measles. The organization has supported more than 40 African countries and has expanded its work to 3 Asian countries. It is comprised of the following partners: American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF.

http://www.measlesinitiative.org/index3.asp

Millennium Campaign

The Millennium Campaign is a United Nations initiative that informs, inspires, and encourages citizens around the world to hold their governments accountable to the promises made as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The campaign works at both national and international levels, after having been established in 2002, two years after the MDGs were adopted at the Millennium Summit.

www.millenniumcampaign.org

ONE Campaign

The ONE Campaign works to rally Americans to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. Its name originates in the belief that allocating an additional one percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs — health, education, clean water, food, housing — would change an entire generation in the developing countries. The campaign also advocates for debt cancellation, trade reform, and anti-corruption measures in its efforts to help Africa and the poorest nations combat AIDS and end extreme poverty. It asks all Americans to join the ONE Campaign by merely signing up online (visit the website listed here to sign up today!) and joining the over 2 million others whom have added their name to the campaign. It also includes about 60 partner organizations. RESULTS Educational Fund is a partner in the ONE Campaign.

http://www.one.org/

Open Society Institute (OSI)

The Open Society Institute (OSI), a private operating and grant-making foundation, pursues efforts to shape public policy in a manner that promotes democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, as well as social reform. OSI was founded in 1993 by George Soros, an investor and philanthropist, originally to support his foundations in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that helped countries make the transition from communism. The foundation now has expanded to other areas of the world, working in more than 60 countries where the transition to democracy is of concern. Locally, OSI implements proposals that support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media. On a global level, it attempts to build alliances between countries on concerns such as corruption and rights abuses. Based in New York City, the Open Society Institute includes Soros Foundations in 29 countries, established to initiate and bolster open society activities.

www.soros.org

Partners in Health (PIH)

Partners in Health (PIH) is a non-profit healthcare organization, began in 1987 as an effort to deliver health care to the residents of Cange, Haiti. Founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, Thomas J. White, and Todd McCormack, and soon joined by Ophelia Dahl (current director) and Dr. Jim Kim, Partners in Health works to reach the poorest people with the best of western medicine. Over twenty years, it has expanded to eight other sites in Haiti and to five other countries, including Peru, Rwanda, and Russia, with focus especially on the treatment of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

PIH is now based in Boston, Massachusetts. Tracy Kidder details the work of Partners in Health in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.

www.pih.org

Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)

The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency working to improve health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. Founded in 1902, PAHO serves as part of the United Nations system, as the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Americas, and as the health organization of the Inter-American system. Its technical experts at its headquarters in Washington DC, in its 27 country offices, and in its nine scientific centers all work with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to address priority health issues. PAHO also collaborates with ministries of health, other government and international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, universities, social security agencies, community groups, and others.

www.paho.org

Stop TB Partnership

The Stop TB Partnership was established in 2000 to realize the goal of eliminating tuberculosis as a public health problem and ultimately obtaining a world free of TB. It comprises a network of international organizations, countries, donors from the public and private sectors, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and individuals that have expressed an interest in working together to achieve this goal. Its targets are that 70 percent of people with infectious TB will be diagnosed and 85 percent of them cured by 2005, that the global burden of TB disease (deaths and prevalence) will be reduced by 50 percent relative to 1990 levels by 2015, and that the global incidence of TB disease will be less than 1 per million population by 2050.

www.stoptb.org

U.K. Department for International Development (DFID)

The Department for International Development (DFID) is a part of the United Kingdom government that works to end extreme poverty while managing Britain’s aid to poor countries. With two headquarters in the UK and 64 offices overseas, DFID endeavors under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to halve world poverty by the year 2015. It was founded in 1997, replacing a department that had evolved from the original organization dealing with foreign aid that was developed in 1961. Partnering with other agencies (43 percent of its development assistance funding goes through multilateral agencies), DFID works with people on issues such as reducing the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS, encouraging trade, giving more children the chance to go to school, and improving security.

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) fights for the rights of children by working with others to overcome the obstacles of poverty, violence, disease, and discrimination that children face. UNICEF was founded in 1946 and provides long-term development and humanitarian assistance to women and children in 191 countries. More specifically, UNICEF works to give children the best start in life, promote the education of girls, immunize children against common childhood diseases and better nourish them, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people and help those children and families affected by HIV/AIDS, involve everyone in creating protective environments in which children should live, ensure equality for women and children, achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and encourage young people to speak out as a means of influencing the decisions affecting their own lives. UNICEF’s headquarters are in New York, and the organization has country offices in 126 nations.

www.unicef.org

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) is a United Nations agency that provides financial and technical support to creative strategies and programs that work toward achieving women’s empowerment and gender equality. It focuses its efforts on four central areas: 1) reducing the poverty of women, 2) ending violence against women, 3) reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls, and 4) achieving gender equality in democratic governance during times of both peace and war.

www.unifem.org

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP)is a United Nations agency that advocates for change and works to help people build better lives by becoming connected to knowledge, experience, and resources. As the United Nations’ global development network, UNDP works on the ground in 166 countries to help them find solutions to development challenges on both a national and global scale; these solutions are necessary to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To reduce poverty, enhance self-reliance, and ultimately improve the lives of people, UNDP creates programs that will build “capacity development” — development that gives people, organizations, and societies the ability to perform functions, solve problems, and both set and achieve goals. More specifically, UNDP focuses on helping countries face the challenges of democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and the environment, HIV/AIDS, and the empowerment of women. It is headquartered in New York City.

www.undp.org

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), founded in 1945, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that works to promote international cooperation in the fields of education, the sciences, culture, and communication, “in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law, and for…human rights and fundamental freedoms.”* An organization made up of 191 nations, it primarily serves the most vulnerable in the least-developed countries, endeavoring to contribute peace and security through its activities. These activities include the following: anticipating and defining the most important emerging global problems and identifying strategies to deal with them; coordinating worldwide networks for research, exchange of research results, and training; serving as a central forum to discuss ethical and intellectual issues, foster mutual understanding, and work toward universal agreement; and providing technical assistance to countries. UNESCO’s headquarters are in Paris, France.

www.unesco.org

*(Source: the Constitution of UNESCO)

United Nations Foundation

The United Nations (UN) Foundation builds and implements partnerships between the public and private sectors to address the world’s most pressing issues, while broadening support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. It is a public charity that was created in 1998 thanks to entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s $1 billion gift to supporting UN causes and activities. Through advocacy, grant-making, and partnerships, the UN Foundation strengthens and supports the United Nations and its causes, with the goal of promoting a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world. More specifically, its current activities include seeking to strengthen the relationship between the UN and the U.S. government; awarding grants (having awarded more than $900 million in grants since its inception in 1998); and helping corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals make an impact on the work of the UN.

www.unfoundation.org

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was founded in 1969 as United Nations Fund for Population Activities. In 1987, it was officially renamed the United Nations Population Fund, reflecting its lead role in the UN system in the area of population. It has become the largest source of funding for health programs addressing population and reproductive health. UNFPA focuses on improving reproductive health, making motherhood safer, supporting adolescents and youth, preventing HIV/AIDS, promoting gender equality, using culturally sensitive approaches, protecting human rights, securing reproductive health supplies, assisting in emergencies, and building support for reproductive health and rights around the world.

www.unfpa.org

World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) was established by the United Nations as an agency specialized in health, working to attain for all people the highest possible level of health. Its major task is to fight disease but it also carries out campaigns, conducts research, and works on a variety of other responsibilities assigned to it by international treaties. WHO was established in 1948 and is governed by the 193 member states in the United Nations through the World Health Assembly. All United Nations member states are eligible to join the World Health Organization, while other countries can also apply and join if accepted by a majority vote. It is financed by member states and donors such as the Gates Foundation. With its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO has regional offices in all major regions of the world.

www.who.int

World Bank (WB)

The World Bank (WB) is an international organization that offers financial and technical assistance to developing countries. Its mission is to reduce global poverty and improve living standards in efforts ultimately to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The World Bank encompasses five institutions (referred to as the World Bank Group), but is more specifically made up of two development institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, and the International Development Association (IDA), which works with the world’s poorest countries. These institutions together provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries in order to help in the areas of human development, agriculture and rural development, environmental protection, infrastructure, and governance.

Though technically a part of the United Nations, the World Bank is owned by its member governments in 185 countries, each of which is allotted votes based on its shareholding in the Bank’s basic share capital (the Bank is sometimes criticized for being controlled primarily by developed countries). The World Bank currently is involved in more than 1,800 projects, ranging from providing microcredit in Bosnia and Herzegovina to raising AIDS-prevention awareness in Guinea to supporting education of girls in Bangladesh. It was created in 1945 after the Bretton Woods agreement, which was signed immediately following World War II to establish rules for financial interactions between states. The WB headquarters are in Washington, DC.

www.worldbank.org