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Non-Governmenal Organizations

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Non-Governmental Organizations Overview

An NGO, or non-governmental organization, can be any type of non-profit organization that exists without the involvement or representation of any government. While they are not affiliated with a political party, they typically have some political interests for which they advocate. NGOs may address a variety of issues, including civil and human rights, healthcare, environmental protection, peace and economic development.

NGOs may exist locally, such as neighborhood or religious organizations, or on a national or international level.  National NGOs are based in just one country, and international NGOs may work or have offices in more than one nation. Some prominent NGOs in the United States are the YMCA/YWCA and the Red Cross, and well-known international NGOs include Habitat for Humanity, and Oxfam International.  Often, international NGOs will have offices in Washington, D.C. or New York City.

Career Paths:

Employment in an NGO may be in fields such as law, finance, public relations, program management and information technology.  Experience studying abroad, or volunteering or interning with local organizations that focus on international issues may be helpful for international NGOs. Master’s or doctoral degrees in fields such as international relations or international public health is also common amongst employees of international NGOs, as are foreign language skills.

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