Looking back at 2021

  • Date: 26/07/2022
  • Author: Jo-Ann Ward

We are delighted to share our 2021 Annual Report. The report highlights some of our work and impact in 2021, all thanks to our generous supporters and funders. ActionAid works with women and children, as they take the lead in claiming their human rights to build a more just world. Throughout the world, ActionAid works to strengthen the capacity and agency of people living in poverty and exclusion, especially women, to assert their rights. We are only able to continue this transformative work thanks to the generous donations of individuals here in Ireland, and through institutional donors such as Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs. 

Read the report here.  

A year of intersecting crises 

In 2021, much of the world continued to grapple with the global pandemic, as access to vaccines was largely limited to the richest countries. This inequality highlighted global power imbalances in very stark terms. The pandemic has also shed a light on and exacerbated many other inequalities. CEO of ActionAid Ireland, Karol Balfe, writes in the report: “We face a set of intersecting crises that affect us all – economic, climate, political, racism, patriarchy. But these are underpinned and made worse for those in lower income countries by power imbalances, colonial histories, systems and structures that result in huge inequality, injustice and denial of human rights.” But women, civil society actors and social movements are making a difference. The report highlights how local Kenyan women’s movement Sauti ya Wanawake, with support from ActionAid, advocated for a water pipeline in Marafa, which has transformed the lives of people in the community, especially women and girls who previously had been walking for up to 8km per day to collect water. And it details how we were able to finish a programme in Vietnam, after 16 years, leaving the community far better off and able to continue the work on their own. It also showed how we worked with local women to respond to four humanitarian emergencies.  

In 2021 we developed our new strategy, A Just and Caring World for Women & Children, which is our roadmap for the next five years as we look to address many of the inequalities that we face. 

Income and expenditure 

 In 2021 ActionAid Ireland raised income of €2,733,309. We raised this through individual support and the support of Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs. 

Total expenditure was €2,780,309. Of that, we spent 77% on charitable activities. We spent the remaining 23% on raising funds and on governance. Expenditure included the planned spending of reserves to support raising our supporter base.  


In 2021 we supported nine communities (local rights programmes) in Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal, Vietnam and Uganda – building on decades of work standing with children, local communities and women. We also supported women led responses to humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Afghanistan, India and Palestine. In partnership with Irish Aid, we continued our programme to advance women’s rights, particularly reducing gender-based violence in Kenya, Nepal and Ethiopia. We supported two innovative programmes working with women in direct provision in Ireland, funded by ReThink Ireland and the St. Stephen’s Green Trust. As well as our work on the ground with communities around the world, we continued to advocate for fairer policies to tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality – and almost 10,000 people engaged in these campaigns in Ireland. 

Thank you 

None of this would be possible without public and institutional support. Anna Lee, the Chair of ActionAid Ireland’s voluntary board of Directors writes in the report: “ActionAid Ireland is acutely aware that we would be unable to achieve our goals without the generosity of our supporters and funders. We are most grateful for the trust and confidence you have in us. On behalf of the Board, I thank all individual and institutional supporters and our committed and skilled staff. Together they are key to the effective realisation of our current and future mission and vision.” 

Caption: Mukta from Bangladesh attends training courses on journalism organised by ActionAid (Credit: Md. Ariful Islam/ActionAid) 

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