The NGO sector in South America and its use of online technology is as varied as the economies and cultures of the continent itself. Brazil, Argentina, and Chile have burgeoning NGO sectors that benefit from a growing, dependable Internet infrastructure while NGOs operating in poorer nations in South America only have limited access to the Internet or are offline completely. That said, the 25 NGOs listed below are pioneering how NGOs use the internet for social good.
1) Amazon CARES ▪ amazoncares.org
Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education, and Safety (CARES) is the only no-kill dog shelter in Peru’s Amazon River Basin. The shelter can house up to 40 dogs and provides them with the veterinary care, food, and much needed love and attention they need until they are placed in a permanent home. The NGO also operates a low-cost full-service veterinary clinic.
2) Amnistía Internacional Venezuela ▪ amnistia.org
Amnesty International was formed in 1961 to protect individuals speaking out against corrupt and oppressive regimes. In Venezuela, the NGO focuses on women’s and children’s rights, LGBT rights, and the reduction of weapons and arms trading in order to reduce violence. With more than 70,000 members, Amnistía Internacional is the largest human rights NGO in Venezuela.
3) Ashoka Argentina ▪ argentina.ashoka.org
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ashoka champions and provides scholarships to social entrepreneurs that are committed to social change. A global organization, Ashoka began working in Argentina in 1994 and since then the NGO has worked with social entrepreneurs whose projects have addressed innovative solutions to problems in education, health, environment, diversity, and citizen participation.
4) Bola Pra Frente ▪ bolaprafrente.org.br
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Founded by world futebol champion Jogos Ao Vivo in 2000, Bola Pra Frente embraces sport as a tool for social development in the socially and economically vulnerable communities of the Northern Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The NGO serves children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17 and embrace the sport values of team work, hard work, and responsibility.
5) Charles Darwin Foundation ▪ darwinfoundation.org
The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF) was founded in 1959 by a team of worldwide conservationists to provide scientific solutions that protect the Galapagos Islands. The NGO has protected many species on the islands from going extinct, help set up marine preserves, and trained more than Galapagueño and Ecuadorian students.
6) Comité Nacional Pro-Defensa de la Flora y Fauna ▪ codeff.cl
CODEFF Chile works to inspire environmental responsibility in Chilean society in order to protect country’s natural resources. Their programs range from protecting Humboldt Penguin colonies to creating marine sanctuaries and managing protected areas. Founded in 1968, the NGO plays a central role in safeguarding Chile’s environmental heritage.
7) Confederación Colombiana de ONG ▪ ccong.org.co
The Confederación Colombiana de ONG works to strengthen the NGO sector in Colombia. CCONG consists of eight departmental federations, six national associations and networks, and nine national NGOs that collectively represent 850 NGOs. The Confederación is committed to increasing the visibility of the NGO sector in order to promote democracy and social good.
8) Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador ▪ conaie.org
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) is an NGO that brings together indigenous communities in Ecuador in order to protect their land rights, culture, and language. Collectively, the organization seeks equality and justice for indigenous peoples and channels their power into civic participation in order to create lasting social change.
9) Conservação Internacional Brazil ▪ conservacao.org
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Conservation International is a Brazilian NGO created in 1990 that works to ensure a healthy and productive planet for all. A part of a global network, in Brazil the NGO focuses on protecting regions such as Três Fronteiras, Matopiba, and the Paraguaçu Basin and on the issues of sustainable agriculture, indigenous people’s rights, public policy, and climate change.
10) Conservación Patagónica ▪ conservacionpatagonica.org
Valle Chacabuco, Chile
Conservacion Patagonica works to create national parks in Patagonia in order to protect wildlands and wildlife and generate healthy economic opportunities for local communities. With just 5% of Patagonia under protection (compared to a global average of 14%), the region needs formal conservation and safeguarding against unchecked corporate development.
11) ¿Cuántas Más? ▪ cuantasmas.org
¿Cuántas Más? is an awareness project that is pioneering a discussion about and the documentation of femicide in Bolivia since it was criminalized in 2013. 53% of all Bolivian women are victims of domestic violence and before the new law approximately 100 women were killed annually by their partners.
12) Desafío Levantemos Chile ▪ desafiolevantemoschile.cl
Launched in the wake of the 2010 earthquake which occurred off the coast of central Chile, Desafío Levantemos Chile has been working to rebuild communities destroyed by the earthquake. Today the NGO focuses on preparing emergency response and serving poor communities in the areas of education, health, and social entrepreneurship.
13) Elephant Sanctuary Brazil ▪ globalelephants.org
Chapada dos Guimarães, Brazil
Elephant Sanctuary Brazil is South America’s first and only elephant sanctuary. In June 2015 the NGO secured 2,800 acres to serve as a home for formerly captive elephants where that heal and roam vast open spaces. Currently home to two elephants, the sanctuary is still in the start-up phase and seeking funding to provide sanctuary for more elephants.
14) Fundación Mi Sangre ▪ fundacionmisangre.org
Founded in 2006 by the singer Juanes, Fundación Mi Sangre empowers children to help in the peacebuilding process in Colombia. The NGO provides psychosocial support to children, adolescents, and youth who have experienced violence and uses art and recreation to inspire children to embrace their role as citizens and builders of peace.
15) Global Infancia ▪ globalinfancia.org.py
Global Infancia works to promote the rights of children and adolescents in Paraguay. With a heavy focus on civic participation, the NGO educates children on how to become advocates in the fight against violence and child labor and skilled in intergenerational and intercultural relationships. Its primary goal is for children to become empowered and informed citizens.
16) Global Penguin Society ▪ globalpenguinsociety.org
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
The Global Penguin Society is a coalition of NGOs that work for the conservation of penguins and their habitats. With a focus on scientific research, the NGO collects data about penguin populations and monitors their progress. GPS also places a strong focus on assessing threats to penguins, such as fishing practices, oil drilling, and climate change.
17) Green Heritage Fund Suriname ▪ greenfundsuriname.org
The Green Heritage Fund Suriname advocates for the conversation of Suriname’s environment. In addition to green community development and education programs, the NGO also works to protect the habitat of sloths and the wild dolphins of the Suriname River. Founded in 2005, GHFS is committed to preserving Suriname's rain forests for future generations.
18) Greenpeace Brasil ▪ greenpeace.org/brasil
São Paulo, Brazil
Greenpeace established a presence in Brazil in 1992 and its first victory was helping create a ban on the import of toxic waste. Since then the NGO has been campaigning diligently against illegal and predatory logging in the Amazon, increasing awareness about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and pressuring the government to encourage alternative energy.
19) Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation ▪ iwokrama.org
Located in the heart of the Iwokrama rainforest, the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation advocates selective timber harvesting, eco-tourism, and conservation research. The NGO also works to help conserve the North Rupununi, a natural area in southern Guyana that, for the last thirty years, has been isolated from the public eye.
20) Museo Libre de Arte Público de Colombia ▪ museolibre.org
Santiago de Cali, Colombia
The Museo Libre de Arte Público de Colombia documents and preserves public art. Public art, also known as street art, is diverse and deeply embedded into Colombian culture. From parks to bridges and murals, the Museo provides tours of public art in the city of Cali in addition to having permanent expositions.
21) Supporting Kids in Perú ▪ skipperu.org
Supporting Kids in Perú helps economically-disadvantaged children in El Porvenir, Peru achieve a quality education. SKIP works to improve public schools, increase English skills, and provides training to teachers and parents to improve the education process. The NGO also operates a library that provides free tutoring and homework help.
22) UNFPA Bolivia ▪ bolivia.unfpa.org
La Paz, Bolivia
The United Nations Population Fund Pacific works so that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled. The NGO focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, gender equality, and emerging issues in population and development, such as ageing and climate change.
23) Vida Silvestre Uruguay ▪ vidasilvestre.org.uy
Vida Silvestre Uruguay is a conservation organization that is building a network of voluntary conservation initiatives on private farms (refugios) in order to protect Uruguay's biodiversity. The NGO also offers environmental education classes for young people and provides resources to civil society on the subjects of ecotourism and environmental legislation.
24) Voluntarios Sin Fronteras ▪ voluntariossf.org.ar
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Founded by university students in 2005, Voluntarios Sin Fronteras promotes volunteerism and makes it easy for NGOs to connect with potential volunteers. The NGO promotes both domestic and international volunteer programs and places a special focus on recruiting volunteers for schools and food banks, computer training, and sustainable development programs.
25) WWF Perú ▪ wwf.org.pe
The mission of World Wildlife Fund Perú is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth. With a global focus on climate change and the conservation of wildlife and wildlands, WWF Perú also works to protect the Amazon and its inhabitants and to educate Peruvian society on how to reduce their ecological footprint.
This list was curated by Heather Mansfield, Principal Blogger at Nonprofit Tech for Good, author of the Global NGO Online Technology Report, and promoter of NGOs, nonprofits, and charities worldwide at @NonprofitOrgs.