Why celebrate NGOs on February 27?

16 Feb, 2021

Associations are part of the daily life of millions of French people. And for many people, when they think of NGOs, they think mainly of assistance to vulnerable people. But do you really know the role and impact of NGOs? Some key figures and facts!

Associations and NGOs create a real social link and economic dynamism in France and internationally.


In 2019, NGOs and associations:

  • employ 1.8 million employees = 9.3% of private sector employees
  • represent 113 billion € budget in France = 3.3 % of national wealth
  • mobilize 22 million volunteers

In France :

  • 14.1 % are humanitarian, social and health associations
  • 11.6 % are advocacy associations
  • 71.2 % are sport, culture and leisure associations

Assistance to complement the state, yes...

"Faced with the disappearance or weakness of certain States, [...] NGOs contribute in effect to filling the void thus created", according to Philippe Ryfman, lawyer and researcher.


For example, the Fondation Abbé Pierre supports the production of 500 to 600 housing units per year with its Toits d'Abord program, which complements public funding.

Planète Enfants & Développement developed in the 1990s in Cambodia, thanks to its knowledge of the country, a model of kindergartens managed by the municipalities. The entire educational system had to be rebuilt after the Khmer genocide. The Cambodian government, which saw the effectiveness of the model, officially adopted it in 2002, as a complement to public schools. PE&D has created 150 community preschools. Other NGOs then built on this model to support the Communes and create more than 3000 nursery schools.

NGOs are also and above all a laboratory for innovation 

Human-sized, flexible and independent, NGOs that are close to their beneficiaries know how to identify needs. Creative, they test, evaluate, adapt, learn and develop real expertise.


Gabriel ATTAL, then Secretary of State to the Minister of National Education and Youth, stated: "Generosity finances the general interest and knows how to take risks that the State cannot always take, in order to bring about real social innovations.

Did you know that Médecin du Monde played a major role in the creation of the Universal Health Coverage (CMU)? Or that medical research within associations has a major role in new treatments: "50 million euros for the public budget for cancer research is less than the 60 million raised by the Arc and the League against Cancer..." according to Claude Tendil, President of the Arc Foundation.


At Planète Enfants & Développement, being as close as possible to the populations and their needs, experimenting with models, making sure that they are taken up by the locals and that they multiply is part of our strengths.

In Cambodia, companies with more than 100 employees are required by law to participate in childcare for their employees. In 91 % of companies, workers have children under the age of 6. However, 72 out of 100 companies do not comply with their obligation.

In order to enforce the law, we first worked on the first set of guidelines for company crèches alongside the Cambodian Ministries of Education, Labor and Health. After a year of experimentation with women workers in textile factories, we realized that it was also difficult for them to bring their children to work because of the long commute to and from the factory. We therefore decided to adapt the project, while involving the companies: we plan to create 22 crèches in the villages where they live, with the participation of their employers. 

NGOs are also effective, controlled, transparent

4.7 million households trusted associations in 2019 by making donations to them. A trust that is dear to us and that we respect.


Do you know that the law obliges most associations to be audited by auditors every year *? It is the case of Planète Enfants & Développement. Each year, independent auditors visit our premises for several days in the spring to check the regularity of our accounts and our sound financial management. They verify in particular that there is no fraud or infringement, and present their conclusions to the General Assembly of the association. The annual accounts are then published on the association's website.

Also subsidized by public funders, Planète Enfants & Développement is regularly audited in the field and must provide detailed reports during the course of projects. We also have our projects evaluated by external consultants to monitor their effectiveness.

Without your generosity, many NGOs would not exist for the benefit of the general interest. Your generosity has a real role and a real impact on the world. Thank you for your generosity.

To go further :

-> Learn more about association controls 

-> The state of associations in 12 news items in France, Le Mouvement associatif (PDF)

-> Study "France associative en mouvement" - 2020 edition / Recherches et Solidarités

February 17, 2021

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