Our structure and governance

ActionAid International brings together our work against poverty in over 40 countries, co-ordinated by our Global Secretariat, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Our structure

By working together as a global partnership we know we can have a stronger impact. Rather than emphasise the traditional divide between rich countries which raise funds and poorer ones which spend them, we choose to recognise the more complex modern reality, and strive to work together in a spirit of equality, democracy and accountability.

Since 2003, ActionAid International has been based in South Africa, as part of our commitment to building an organisation which recognises and values the contribution of all our members. We are the only international development organisation which has its headquarters in the developing world.

To implement its mission and objectives, ActionAid International has chosen to adopt a federal model of governance and organization. This is a union comprised of self governing affiliates and associates which are members united by a central or international (“federal”) structure and by shared values, vision and mission. The essence of this federal model lies not just in the legal and constitutional dimension but also in the more fluid economic, political, and cultural forces that make federalism necessary. The guiding principles to the federation as outlined in the Constitution of ActionAid International and ActionAid International Governance Manual.

Our governance

ActionAid International has a two tier governance structure composed of:  

  • An Assembly consisting of Affiliate and Associate Members who are responsible for the strategic governance of AAI.
  • An International Board consisting of Independent Board members elected by the Assembly and responsible for the ongoing and effective decision-making and oversight of the International Secretariat. 

The Chair of the International Board is elected by the Assembly. 

The Secretary General of ActionAid International acts as Secretary and ex-officio member of the International Board but with no voting powers.  The Assembly meets once a year and the International Board meets 3-4 times a year

For more details on the governance, you can read the Constitution of ActionAid International and ActionAid International’s Governance Manual, both of which cover our agreed governance practices, policies and structures.

Categories of Members:

As earlier noted, ActionAid is a federation of Members. The Members belong to one of the two following categories.

1)      Associates

These are organisations that join (admitted into) ActionAid International with the intention of and in the process of becoming Affiliate members. It is a part of ActionAid International’s deliberate strategy to transform its current country programme branches into nationally governed legal entities which later join (admitted into) ActionAid International as Affiliates. Independent organizations may be admitted as Associates as well.

2)      Affiliates

Associates progresses through a defined and supported path expected to strengthen their governance processes, accountability structures and mechanisms, international participation and organizational performance and health. After a satisfactory mutual evaluation and review associates are admitted into affiliate status of AAI.