The World Bank differentiates between operational and advocacy NGOs, where an operational NGO focuses on the design and implementation of development-related projects, such as service delivery, and an advocacy NGO defends or promotes a specific cause.
A good example of an operational NGO is that of the work of the International Medicine Corps (IMC) in Afghanistan. In this case, the IMC instituted a vaccination campaign against measles, a disease that was identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), to be the leading cause of half of vaccine-preventable diseases in Afghanistan. IMC first trained 170 Afghani nationals in how to vaccinate children and then led a 15-day vaccination campaign, reaching 95 percent of children between 6 and 12 months of age in the capital of Kabul. Similarly, the Green Trust, founded in 1990 as a subsidiary of WWF South Africa, oversees on-the-ground conservation projects. Projects that the trust typically coordinates include species recovery and protection, such as translocation programs for black rhino, advancing indigenous knowledge, such as the Kruger National Park and Traditional Healers Partnership Project; support for subsistence and sustainable fisheries such as the Sustainable Mussel Harvesting by subsistence gatherers along the Northern Natal Coast; development of subsistence Gill Net fisheries in Lake St Lucia; and revegetation and rehabilitation projects, such as the Agulhas Plain Bio-diversity Conservation Project, and the Greening the Cape Flats Program.
Many advocacy NGOs are political or principles based, and campaign actively to achieve broad ideals within the human rights, social justice, and environmental movements. For example, the America's Development Foundation (ADF) works specifically to provide NGOs with advocacy training and technical assistance designed to increase citizen participation in democratic processes. In Croatia, as part of a campaign to return and reintegrate populations, ADF supported Croatian NGOs advocating for democracy and human rights. This support resulted in 100 NGOs forming a coalition that lobbied for change in the Association's Law, the formation of an NGO coalition focusing on the 2000 Croatian Presidential elections, and development of NGO advocacy campaigns aimed to achieve changes in Croatian public policy relating to refugee rights and return issues.
Many NGOs have a primary educational and research focus. For example, Earthwatch promotes community involvement and, therefore, awareness of environmental issues by organizing study and field research trips. In Australia, the Marine and Coastal Community Network, is a nongovernmental project that builds community, industry, and government support for the conservation of marine biodiversity and ecological processes, and the ecologically-sustainable use of marine and coastal environments. Other examples include California's Deadalus Alliance for Environmental Education, the Texas Center for Policy Studies, Santa Fe's North American Institute, and Tijuana's ECO-SOL (Educación y Cultura Ecológica) and Proyecto Fronterizo de Educación Ambiental).
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