There are many other International Days – yet none of them annually, internationally celebrating all NGOs. None of them promotes the important work all NGOs do or the people behind the NGOs. None of them inspires people to consider a career within the NGO sector or opportunity for individuals to learn more about the people behind NGOs.

World NGO Day recognises the importance of NGOs, their value to society and the dedication of all individuals behind each NGO, that work all year-round for the benefit of society – locally, nationally and internationally.

Marcis Liors Skadmanis

Today, it is marked in 89 countries across the globe.

Marcis Liors Skadmanis was born in 1984 in Riga, Latvia, a small country surrounded by Nordic countries, Russia and the Baltic states. At the time, the country and its people were in thrall to the iron curtain and the demands of the Soviet Union, leaving it struggling financially. Many citizens, including an extremely young Marcis, therefore lived a life in which poverty was an everyday reality. It was not until Latvia became fully independent in 1991 that things started to look up, with the country improving its place on the world stage in 2004 after joining the European Union. 

Marcis grew up in a big family and was the oldest of five children. As a teenager, he was impassioned by the struggles that he and his peers had faced in childhood and entered various youth competitions in relation to education, sustainability and the environment. He did very well, winning cash prizes that allowed him to support his first non-governmental organisation (NGO) in 2006. The NGO was a local group that promoted youth participation in society.

Years later, Marcis moved to the UK to continue his work in development. It was in the midst of the global and Eurozone financial crisis of 2009, when he was just 24, that Marcis’ determination to improve the lives of the world’s citizens led him to establish World NGO Day. This international day was designed to recognise the NGO sector’s importance, value to society and all the individuals involved worldwide, that dedicate their time their cause. Today, it is marked in 89 countries across six continents of the globe. 

Despite the successful Pre-Launch Campaign, Marcis experienced personal tragic lost before the global World NGO Day event in Finland. Just three months before its first official marking ceremony, Marcis’ father and younger sister lost their lives in a shopping centre roof collapse. The event shocked the world after the roof collapsed on 21st November 2013, in which 54 people died as a result of the tragedy. 

However, Marcis did not stop World NGO Day development and he did his best to organise the first official international day for NGOs, also dedicating it to his beloved sister and dad.
Mark the World NGO Day


NGOs are of different scope, scale, and structure – from international member associations to local foundations and small charities. They represent a multitude of interests, sectors and activities. The current estimated number of NGOs worldwide is 10 million, which will be in excess of  20 million by 2030.

The international day recognises the NGO sector’s importance, value to society, and all the individuals involved worldwide, that dedicate their time their cause. We trust it is an opportunity to inspire people to consider a career within this third sector, or even create new impactful NGOs with a new mission and vision. 

It also provides an opportunity to honour and remember NGO founders, employees, volunteers, members and various other individuals who have devoted their lives to the work of NGOs and for a cause they believe in.

It gives us great pleasure to invite you to mark this exciting international day.