NGO: Adventist Development and Relief Agency International

“Gospel in work boots”- unofficial ADRA motto

ADRA is the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International. ADRA is the worldwide humanitarian actor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Seventh-day Adventist Church established this independent agency back in 1918. The Seventh-day Adventist Church had established a committee to assist church workers, missionaries, and members in need due to the destruction of World War I. The progenitor to ADRA was named Seventh-day Adventist World Service.

ADRA’s primary mission is to help individual and community development and disaster relief. ADRA has five core activities: food security, economic development, primary health, disaster response and preparedness, and basic education. The work they do is organize, fund, and direct individual and community development projects and disaster relief aid. For example, ADRA’s child programs aim to integrate health, safe water, sanitation, food production, family business, and basic education. ADRA also has medical teams. The recent South Asia Tsunami disaster saw ADRA distributing food, medicines, and providing medical care to survivors in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India.

Currently, ADRA has a presence in more than 120 countries. In 2003, ADRA funded more than 550 development projects and more than 420 relief projects. These projects affected over 22 million men, women, and children. During that same year, ADRA International employed 4,400 people. Both government and private donation monies fund ADRA International. Through internet, personal mailings, and mail-ins, private citizens can make tax-deductible donations; this is the major source of ADRA’s funding. For every dollar donated, only 8-10% goes to overhead costs. They accept prayers, time, and material donations as well. In times of disaster and economic hardship around the world, ADRA is able to accept used clothing. ADRA International explicitly notes that it does not collect offerings in churches. ADRA is also often awarded funding by the United Nations (World Food Programme, UNHCR, etc.), United States Agency for International Development and other governments. ADRA works and collaborates with a variety of governments and partners. Foremost, ADRA International groups often collaborate with other ADRA groups. For example, in the South Asia Tsunami aftermath, ADRA-Germany worked hand-in-hand with ADRA-USA. ADRA has collaborated with a multitude of other NGOs such as Heart to Heart. ADRA International also allocates funding to its partner, Adventist Community Services for domestic programs.

On its website and all background materials, ADRA International repeatedly states that it fulfills its primary directive of its charter without regard to race, gender, political or religious affiliation. According to ADRA, they will always meet needs of the individual without regard to an individual’s religious affiliation.

Of interest, ADRA International does educate people on family planning and birth control. They feel that they need to address the components that lead to situations where families in poverty have many children through raising the well-being of mothers and children worldwide. Also, ADRA does not engage in any traditional evangelistic activities. They feel that help must be given with no strings attached, and ADRA workers focus on making their faith relevant and attractive to society through good works.

University of Hawaii at Manoa; Center of Excellence in DMHA; ICRC

Contact Information

Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 118
Honolulu, HI 96822