Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), "Kirkens Nødhjelp" in Norwegian, is an independent humanitarian and ecumenical organisation with headquarters in Oslo, Norway. The organisation also has offices in 65 countries worldwide and receives funding from the Norwegian Protestant church, their institutions and congregations, the Norwegian state, and from private donors. NCA works to uphold people's basic rights around the world - and to save and protect lives and develop sustainable living conditions for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people, regardless of gender, political belief, religion or ethnic origin.
The organisation bases its work around five core vaules:
- Compassion - God’s unconditional love for all people, and the teachings of Jesus Christ who calls upon people to express this love through service to others and to stand up for those oppressed and in need.
- Justice - All people should have access to enough food, clean water, work, health and a home – resources that are necessary to live a meaningful life. Our work is inspired by God’s commandment that poor and oppressed peoples shall have their fair share of God’s gifts to humanity.
- Participation - All human beings have the right to take part in building the society in which they live. This is why we fight against manifestations of power that violate human dignity and deprive people of responsibility over their own lives.
- Integrity of creation - God has given the earth, its resources and diversity of nature to the whole of mankind. No single generation or group has the right to exploit these resources for their own greed.
- Peace - God’s vision for humanity is a world in which swords are turned into ploughshares and the poor and oppressed receive justice. Compassion, justice, participation and the integrity of creation can only be achieved in the absence of violence.
The way NCA works
Norwegian Church Aid's work falls into three categories of approach:-
- Emergency preparedness and Assistance - NCA works to save and protect lives in disaster situations. This involves providing the necessary help and contributing to the relief effort where most required to do so at any given time. At the same time, NCA works to strengthen the capacities of local communities to cope with disasters while preserving their dignity.
- Long-term development assistance - NCA works for the poor and vulnerable by giving long-term support to partner organisations in their local communities. Improving human lives demands a both determined and patient contribution, and NCA's goal is to help people to help themselves and improve their own situations.
- Advocacy - NCA works to influence attitudes and decisions of individuals, churches, communities, governments, international bodies and trans-national corporations. This is how we promote democracy, fight for the human rights of the poor and vulnerable and work to preserve human dignity.
Norwegian Church Aid believes that poor and oppressed people know themselves best how their situation can be improved; it is for this reason that NCA works in close cooperation with locally-based partner organisations in the 65 countries in which the organisation is active. This method also goes a long way to ensuring that any contribution made to local society is both lasting and achored within the community.
NCA is an active member of ACT International, a global network of over 700 churches and church-based organisations.
- Accountable governance - Broad democratic participation among civil society and accountable governance are preconditions for healthy and appropriate social development. Norwegian Church Aid works together with churches and other civil society partners who have extensive experience both in delivering basic services and empowering the poor. We work for greater popular participation, while at the same time promoting the state’s responsibility to protect the rights and interests of all citizens.
- HIV and AIDS - The global HIV epidemic is a disaster for all aspects of development, and one that is closely linked to the unequal distribution of resources in the world. If the epidemic is not halted, it will continue to eradicate families and communities. Norwegian Church Aid has been committed to helping those living with AIDS since the early days of the epidemic. We carry out prevention programmes and care for both the sick and those left behind. Norwegian Church Aid is also active internationally, campaigning for HIV-positive peoples’ rights to fair treatment and medicines.
- Water and Safe Sanitation - Clean water and good sanitation are key issues in the fight against poverty, for sustainable development and in conflict prevention. This is why Norwegian Church Aid is working to secure the rights of the poor to clean water and good sanitation. Many countries are experiencing rising demand for water despite only having limited and polluted water sources at their disposal. Norwegian Church Aid is therefore working to ensure that our contribution happens within the framework of sustainable water source management.
- Gender-based violence - Gender-based violence is a gross violation of women and girls’ security and rights, and it hinders equal opportunities and the full participation of women in society. Gender-based violence is often closely linked to cultural or religious traditions. Therefore churches and other faith communities can play a key role by changing their own traditions and by challenging society to denounce this form of violence. Norwegian Church Aid works to give hope and new strength to victims, and to create a climate of openness around the subject of violence towards women.
- Conflict transformation and peace building - Violence, war and low levels of security are barriers to human development and the fulfilment of human rights. Violence and conflicts are usually structural in nature and are often rooted in unequal access to power or resources. Religion plays an important role in most societies, and, as a faith-based organisation, Norwegian Church Aid is fortunate to be able work together with religious partners in working to transform conflict and build peace.
Norwegian Church Aid’s youth movement, Changemaker
, organises campaigns, courses, camps and local projects for its many thousands of members aged 13 - 30. Changemaker's main priority is to encourage young people to take an interest in global issues and speak out against injustice. Changemaker's offices are housed within NCA headquarters in Oslo.