As the name says, n
rganisations (NGOs) are not governmental organisations or state institutions. They are groups of people who find it important to be able to do their work as independently as possible from state funding. In NGOs, people with a common interest join together. For example, they get involved in sports associations, animal protection agencies or civic action groups. The aim of these so-
called NGOs is to make their objectives known and to work towards changing particular things in society or politics. People join together because a large group of people is more likely to be heard than individuals. Examples of this in Germany are church organisations such as Misereor or the aid agencies of the Protestant Church, which play an important role in development aid
in particular. Unions and employers’ associations can also be called NGOs. Among the best-
known internationally active NGOs in Germany are Amnesty International and Greenpeace. The environmentalist organisation Greenpeace was founded in Canada in 1971. Worldwide, it now has almost three million members, 500,000 of them in Germany alone. The organisation Attac, founded in France in 1998 and now active in 41 countries, became known as an NGO for its worldwide fight against globalisation
. But the many small NGOs, which often have only a few members, also do important work, because their members are people who take their responsibility for society and our world seriously.
Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid