Faculty, researchers, students of the social sciences and citizens of the world will find valuable information and news on topics of global concern at InterAction.org, the Web site of the American Council for Voluntary International Action. Based in Washington, D.C., InterAction is a coalition of over 160 U.S. based, non-governmental, private, voluntary organizations. The banner on their Web site informs us that InterAction is "a leading advocate for sustainable development, refugee and disaster assistance and humanitarian aid." This is a tall order but a quick review of the site proves that the coalition works hard to fulfill its mission to "enhance the effectiveness and professional capacities of its members" by supporting and fostering "partnership, collaboration, leadership and the power of this community."
Members of InterAction include well-known organizations such as CARE, Oxfam America, Physicians for Human Rights, the Sierra Club, the YMCA/YWCA and Zero Population Growth. InterAction member organizations work together using the services provided by InterAction to achieve their individual and coalition goals of making the world a better place. Members must adhere to the high standards of the InterAction Private Voluntary Standards Committee. InterAction members have agreed to abide by a high set of standards to ensure accountability to donors, professional competence and quality of service.
The InterAction home page provides links to current news from and about the coalition via press releases and newswire reports. It also includes information for organizations interested in joining InterAction as well as employment and volunteer opportunities for individuals. Look under "Special Initiatives" for information on possible scholarships and fellowships in this field.
"Member Activity Report" is a guide to humanitarian and development efforts of member agencies and is organized by continent and country. "Key Resources" provides access to important evaluation and assessment overviews, (including a valuable section titled "Lessons Learned"), of member organization initiatives. Member discussion forums, success stories and current initiatives such as disaster response training will be of interest to anyone tracking current humanitarian efforts around the world.
Other important aspects of the InterAction site include links to each member organization's Web site, and to each of the major coalition committees: Sustainable Development, Disaster Response, Advocacy, Refugees and the Commission on the Advancement of Women. The site also offers information on how to purchase InterAction publications.
The ease of use and breadth of coverage make this site an excellent research vehicle for those studying topics of humanitarian aid and sustainable development.
Mary C. MacDonald
University of Rhode Island Libraries