NGO, Charity and Campaign Group Archives
We hold a growing collection of archives of internationally important non-governmental organisations (NGOs), charities and pressure groups who work or campaign on issues relating to the developing world.
These archives comprise unique collections of primary source material, including unpublished correspondence, minutes, internal reports, field notes, surveys, and original campaign material. As a number of these NGOs and campaign groups have a history of cooperation and interaction, the archive collections provide a unique and valuable unified primary resource for study.
The collections hold obvious value to students and researchers in the fields of development studies, history and politics, but will be of significant value to researchers across disciplinary boundaries seeking to analyse and understand the pressing issues confronting the developing world, such as democracy, development, poverty, social movements, civil society, legal systems, human rights, health, food security, migration and diaspora, race, gender, class, religion, social and economic change.
Key NGO, Charity & Campaign Group Collections
Christian Aid is a faith-based anti-poverty charity, based in the UK. It has a global focus, working for poverty relief, international development and poverty eradication. Christian Aid undertakes its international work through local structures, such as churches or voluntary organisations.
Christian Aid's origins lie in the group Christian Reconstruction in Europe, an organisation created by UK churches to help refugees following the Second World War. In 1948 the organisation was renamed the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service and the focus of work shifted towards world-wide poverty and development issues.
In 1957 the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service held its first Christian Aid Week to encourage public awareness and financial support for its work. The success of the week prompted the organisation to change in name to Christian Aid.
During the 1960s Christian Aid increasingly focused on development alongside relief work. By 1970, the organisation was funding over 100 development projects in 40 countries.
During the 1980s and 1990s Christian Aid began campaigning on global political issues, including South African apartheid, fair trade and the dropping of Third World debt. By 2000 Christian Aid was funding up to 700 local organisations in over 70 countries worldwide.
War on Want is a UK-based non-governmental organisation, which campaigns against poverty, inequality and injustice across the world. It focuses on what it considers to be the social and economic root causes of global poverty.
The charity's origins lie in a letter by the left-wing publisher Victor Gollancz to The Guardian newspaper in 1951, which called for an international fund 'to turn swords into ploughshares'. The Association for World Peace was subsequently formed, with future Prime Minister Harold Wilson chairing its committee on world poverty. His report, 'War on Want - a Plan for World Development' led to the creation of an War on Want committee. In 1959 an independent War on Want was formally constituted as a charity.
War on Want was notable among early anti-poverty charities in its emphasis on the need for political, social and economic change, alongside immediate disaster relief. It campaigned for an increase in international aid and called for the abolition of third-world debt as early as 1962. Its political approach to poverty was at times controversial, leading to tensions with the UK Charity Commission.
The group participated in raising funds to send to aid to small-scale international projects, prioritising self-help schemes over traditional aid and development. The early work of War on Want primarily focused on Southern and Eastern Africa and South Asia but this broadened during the charity’s expansion in the 1980s, with new projects and campaigns on Central America, the Middle East and the UK.
Financial difficulties forced the charity into administration in 1989. However, War on Want was re-launched, albeit on a smaller scale, in the early 1990s. Since then the organisation has concerned itself with issues raised by globalisation, campaigning on issues such as trade justice, workers’ rights and third-world debt.
The Movement for Colonial Freedom (MCF) was a UK based non-governmental organisation, which campaigned against colonialism and racism across the world.
The MCF was founded in 1954 as an amalgamation of a number of campaign groups including the British branch of the Congress of Peoples' against Imperialism, Central Africa Committee and the Seretse Khama Defence Committee. The organisation had strong links with the British labour movement; its founders included the prominent Labour Party MPs Fenner Brockway as Chair, and Tony Benn as treasurer.
The MCF supported independence movements across the colonial world and domestically, campaigned against racism. The MCF’s aims were pursued through the lobbying of the British and international governments; and public campaigns, which included meetings, conferences and demonstrations. The MCF published the bi-monthly journal, Colonial Freedom News (later renamed Liberation). The MCF was also fundamental in the creation of broader campaign groups, including the UK Anti-Apartheid Movement, Committee for Peace Nigeria (during the Nigerian Civil War) and The British Council for Peace in Vietnam.
By the late 1960s many former colonies around had gained political independence but the MCF still believed that there was a need to campaign against 'neo-colonialism; in the form of the continued economic and political dependence of newly independent countries.
In 1970, the organisation was renamed as Liberation, the title of the group's journal, to reflect the new priorities of the group.