CARE (relief agency)

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CARE International (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere)
Care sign.jpg
Type International humanitarian agency
Founded 1945
Structure Confederation of twelve National Members and two Affiliate Members
Leadership Robert Glasser, Secretary General
Abby Maxman, Deputy Secretary General
Governance Ralph Martens, CARE International Chairperson
Field Disaster relief and development aid
Scope Working in 87 countries, operating 927 projects (2013)

CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) is a major international humanitarian agency delivering broad-spectrum emergency relief and long-term international development projects. Founded in 1945, CARE is nonsectarian, impartial, and non-governmental. It is one of the largest and oldest humanitarian aid organizations focused on fighting global poverty.[1] In 2013, CARE reported working in 87 countries, supporting 927 poverty-fighting projects and humanitarian aid projects, and reaching over 97 million people.[2]

CARE's programmes in the developing world address a broad range of topics including emergency response, food security, water and sanitation, economic development, climate change, agriculture, education, and health. CARE also advocates at the local, national, and international levels for policy change and the rights of poor people. Within each of these areas, CARE focuses particularly on empowering and meeting the needs of women and girls and on promoting gender equality.[2]

CARE International is a confederation of thirteen CARE National Members and one Affiliate Member, each of which is registered as an autonomous non-profit non-governmental organization in the country. The thirteen CARE National Members are CARE Australia, CARE Canada, CARE Danmark, CARE Deutschland-Luxembourg, CARE France, CARE India, CARE International Japan, CARE Nederland, CARE Norge, CARE Österreich, Raks Thai Foundation (CARE Thailand), CARE International UK, and CARE USA. The CARE Affiliate Member is CARE Peru. Programs in developing countries are usually managed by a Country Office, but CARE also supports projects and may respond to emergencies in some countries where they do not maintain a full Country Office.[3]


A CARE Package shipped in 1948.

1945–1949: Origins and the CARE Package[edit]

CARE, then the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, was formally founded[4] on November 27, 1945 and was originally intended to be a temporary organization.[5] World War II had ended in August of the same year. After pressure from the public and Congress, President Harry S. Truman agreed to let private organizations provide relief for those starving due to the war.[6] CARE was initially a consortium of twenty-two American charities (a mixture of civic, religious, cooperative, and labour organizations) with the purpose of delivering food aid to Europe in the aftermath of World War II.[7]

CARE's food aid took the form of CARE Packages, which were at first delivered to specific individuals: Americans paid $10 to send a CARE Package of food to a loved one in Europe, often a family member. President Truman bought the first CARE package.[8]:p.1 CARE guaranteed delivery within four months to anyone in Europe, even if they had left their last known address, and returned a signed delivery receipt to the sender.[9] Because European postal services were unreliable at the time these signed receipts were sometimes the first confirmation that the recipient had survived the war.[7]

The first CARE Packages were in fact surplus “Ten-in-One” US army rations packs (designed to contain a day's meals for ten people).[5] In early 1946 CARE purchased 2.8 million of these warehoused rations packs, originally intended for the invasion of Japan, and began advertising in America. On May 11, 1946, six months after the agency's incorporation, the first CARE Packages were delivered in Le Havre, France.[7] These packages contained staples such as canned meats, powdered milk, dried fruits, and fats along with a few comfort items such as chocolate, coffee, and cigarettes. (Several on the CARE Board of Directors wished to remove the cigarettes, but it was deemed impractical to open and reseal 2.8 million boxes.)[7] 1946 also marked CARE's first expansion out of the US with the establishment of an office in Canada.[10]

By early 1947 the supply of "Ten-in-One" ration packs had been exhausted and CARE began assembling its own packages.[11] These new packages were designed with the help of a nutritionist. They did not include cigarettes and were tailored somewhat by destination: Kosher packages were developed, and for example packages for England included tea rather than coffee, and packages for Italy included pasta. By 1949 CARE offered and shipped more than twelve different packages.[5]

Although the organization had originally intended to deliver packages only to specified individuals, within a year CARE began delivering packages addressed for example "to a teacher" or simply "to a hungry person in Europe."[7]:p.18 These unspecified donations continued and in early 1948 CARE's Board voted narrowly to officially move towards unspecified donations and to expand into more general relief. Some founding member agencies disagreed with this shift, arguing that more general relief would be a duplication of the work of other agencies, but donors reacted favourably, contributions increased, and this decision would mark the beginning of CARE’s shift towards a broader mandate.[5]

Between the first deliveries of 1946 and the last European deliveries of 1956, millions of CARE Packages were distributed throughout Europe, over 50% of them to Germany [10] including many delivered as part of the Berlin airlift in response to the 1948 Soviet blockade of Berlin.[7]

The US Agricultural Act of 1949 made surplus US agricultural products available to be shipped abroad as aid either directly by the US government or by NGOs including CARE.[7] In 1954 Public Law 480, also known as the Food for Peace Act, further expanded the availability of surplus US food as aid.[5] This act allowed CARE to expand its feeding programs and disaster relief operations considerably, and between 1949 and 2009 CARE used hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of surplus commodities in disaster relief and programs such as school lunch provision.[7]

1949–1956: Transition out of Europe[edit]

Although the organization's mission had originally been focused on Europe, in July 1948 CARE opened its first non-European mission, in Japan.[5] Deliveries to China and Korea followed, which CARE described as aid to areas "implicated by WWII".[12]:p.119 In 1949 CARE entered the developing world for the first time, launching programs in the Philippines. Projects in India, Pakistan, and Mexico began soon after.[7] 1949 also marked CARE's first expansion into non-food aid with the development of "self-help" packages containing tools for farming, carpentry, and other trades.[5] In 1953, because of its expansion to projects outside Europe, CARE changed the meaning of its acronym to "Cooperative for American Remittances to Everywhere".[5]

As Europe recovered economically, CARE faced the need to re-evaluate its mission: in 1955 several Board members argued that with the European recovery CARE's mandate was finished and the organization should dissolve. Other Board members however felt that CARE's mission should continue albeit with a new focus on the developing world.[12] In July 1955 the Board of Directors voted to continue and expand CARE projects outside of Europe. Paul French, CARE's executive director at the time, resigned over the debate. Twenty-two of CARE's forty-two missions were closed, mostly in European countries, and efforts were concentrated on food distribution and emergency response in the developing world.[5] In 1956 CARE distributed food to refugees of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and this would be among the last of CARE's operations in Europe for many years.[7]

1957–1975: Transition into broader development work[edit]

With a broadened geographic focus came a broadened approach as CARE began to expand beyond its original food distribution program. In order to reflect these new broader aims, in 1959 CARE changed the meaning of its acronym a second time, becoming the "Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere".[5] Reflecting this broadened scope, CARE became involved in 1961 with President John F. Kennedy's establishment of the Peace Corps. CARE was charged with selecting and training the first group of volunteers, who would later be deployed to development projects in Colombia. The Peace Corps assumed greater control over the training of Peace Corps Volunteers in subsequent missions, but CARE continued to provide country directors to the Peace Corps until CARE-Peace Corps joint projects ended in 1967.[5]

In 1962 CARE merged with and absorbed the medical aid organization MEDICO, which it had been working closely with for several years previously. The merger considerably increased CARE's capacity to deliver health programming including trained medical personnel and medical supplies.[5]

During this transition the original CARE Package was phased out.[5] The last food package was delivered in 1967 and the last tools package in 1968.[13] Over 100 million CARE Packages had been delivered worldwide since the first shipment to France.[14] Although 1968 marked the official "retirement" of the CARE Package the format would occasionally be used again, for example in CARE's relief to the republics of the former Soviet Union and to survivors of the Bosnian War.[11] The concept was also revived in 2011 as an online campaign encouraging donors to fill a "virtual CARE Package" with food aid and services such as education and healthcare.[15]

1967 also marked CARE's first partnership agreement with a government: for the construction of schools in Honduras. Partnership agreements with governments led programmes to become country-wide rather than targeted only to a few communities. CARE's programmes during this era focused largely on the construction of schools and nutrition centres, and the continued distribution of food. Nutrition centres in particular would become one of CARE's major areas of concentration, linking with school feeding programs and nutrition education aimed at new mothers.[5]

In 1975 CARE implemented a multi-year planning system, again allowing programmes to become both broader and deeper in scope. Projects became increasingly multi-faceted, providing for example not only health education but also access to clean water and an agricultural program to improve nutrition. The multi-year planning system also increased the scope for country-wide projects and partnerships with local governments. A 1977 project for example provided for the construction of over 200 pre-schools and kindergartens throughout Chile over several years, jointly funded by CARE and the Chilean Ministry of Education.[5]

1975–1990: From CARE to CARE International[edit]

Although CARE had opened an office in Canada in 1946, it was not until the mid-1970s that the organization truly started to become an international body.[10] CARE Canada (initially Care of Canada) became an autonomous body in 1973. In 1976 CARE Europe was established in Bonn following the successful fund-raising campaign "Dank An CARE" (Thanks to CARE). In 1981 CARE Germany was created and CARE Europe moved its headquarters to Paris.[5] CARE Norway had been created in 1980,[16] and CAREs in Italy and the UK were established. The popularity of CARE offices in Europe was attributed to the fact that many Europeans remembered receiving CARE assistance themselves between 1945 and 1955.[5]

In 1979 planning began for the establishment of an umbrella organization to coordinate and prevent duplication among the various national CARE organizations. This new body was named CARE International and met for the first time on January 29, 1982, with CARE Canada, CARE Germany, CARE Norway, and CARE USA (formerly simply CARE) in attendance.[5]

CARE International would expand significantly during the 1980s, with the addition of CARE France in 1983;[17] CARE International UK in 1985;[18] CARE Austria in 1986;[19] and CARE Australia, CARE Denmark, and CARE Japan in 1987.[20][21][22]

1990–present: Recent history[edit]

Along with broader development work CARE's projects in the 1980s and early 1990s focused particularly on agroforestry initiatives such as reforestation and soil conservation in eastern Africa and South America. CARE also responded to a number of major emergencies during this period, notably the 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia and the 1991-1992 famine in Somalia.[5]

The 1990s also saw an evolution in CARE's approach to poverty. Originally CARE had viewed poverty primarily as a lack of basic goods and services such as food, clean water, and health care. As CARE's scope expanded both geographically and topically this approach was expanded to include the view that poverty was in many cases caused by social exclusion, marginalization, and discrimination. In the early 1990s CARE adopted a household livelihood security framework which included a multidimensional view of poverty as encompassing not only physical resources but also social position and human capacities. As a result of this, by 2000, CARE had adopted a rights-based approach to development.[14]

In the early 1990s CARE also developed what would become an important model for cooperative microfinance. This model is called the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and it began in 1991 as a pilot project run by CARE's Country Office in Niger.[23] The pilot project was called Mata Masu Dubara (MMD) and CARE Niger developed the VSLA model by adapting the model of Accumulating Savings and Credit Associations (ASCAs). VSLAs involve groups of about 15-30 people who regularly save and borrow using a group fund. Member savings create capital that can be used for short-term loans and capital and interest is shared among the group at the end of a given period (usually about a year), at which point the groups normally re-form to begin a new cycle. Because the bookkeeping required to manage a VSLA is quite simple most groups successfully become independent (needing no outside management help) within a year and enjoy a high rate of long-term group survival.[24] CARE has created over 40,000 VSLAs (over 1 million members total) across Africa, Asia, and Latin America[23] and in 2008 launched Access Africa which aims to extend VSLA training to 39 African countries by 2018.[25] The model has also been widely replicated in Africa and Asia and by other large NGOs including Oxfam, Plan International, and Catholic Relief Services.[26]

In 1993 CARE, to reflect its international organizational structure, changed the meaning of its acronym for a third time, adopting its current name the "Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere". CARE also marked its 50th anniversary in 1994.[14]

CARE expanded the confederation to twelve members in the early 2000s, with CARE Netherlands (formerly the Disaster Relief Agency) joining in 2001[27] and CARE Thailand (called the Raks Thai Foundation) joining in 2003, becoming the first CARE National Member in a developing country.[28]

CARE's well-known "I am Powerful" campaign launched in the USA in September 2006 and was intended to bring public attention to the organization's long-standing focus on women's empowerment.[14] CARE states that its programs focus on women and girls both because the world's poor are disproportionately female and because women's empowerment is thought to be an important driver of development. CARE also emphasizes that it considers working with boys and men an important part of women's empowerment, and that women's empowerment benefits both genders.[2]

In 2007 CARE announced that by 2009 it would no longer accept certain types of US food aid worth some $45 million a year, arguing that these types of food aid are inefficient and harmful to local markets.[29][30] Specifically, CARE announced that it would forego all monetized food aid (surplus US food shipped to charities in the developing world who then sell the food on the local market to finance development projects)[30] and all food aid intended to establish a commercial advantage for the donor, and would increase its commitment to buying food aid locally.[31] CARE also announced that it would no longer accept USDA food through Title 1 (concessional sales) or Section 416 (surplus disposal) because these programs are intended mainly to establish a commercial advantage for US agriculture.[31]

In 2011 CARE added its first Affiliate Member, CARE India, and in 2012 the CI board accepted CARE Peru as CARE's second Affiliate Member.[2] CARE India became a full member in November 2013.

CARE is currently one of the only major NGOs to make their database of project evaluations publicly available, and to regularly conduct a meta-analysis of evaluation methodologies and overall organizational impact.[32][33]

CARE today[edit]

CARE’s structure[edit]

CARE International is a confederation of thirteen CARE National Members and one Affiliate Member, coordinated by the CARE International Secretariat. The Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices in New York and in Brussels in order to liaise with the United Nations and the European institutions respectively.[34]

Each CARE National Member is an autonomous non-governmental organization registered in the country, and each Member runs programs, fundraising, and communications activities both in its own country and in developing countries where CARE operates. There are thirteen National Members and one Affiliate Member working towards full membership. The thirteen CARE National Members and one CARE Affiliate Member are:[3]

CARE National and Affiliate Members
CARE Member Joined the confederation as of: Website
CARE Australia 1987[20]
CARE Canada 1946[5]
CARE Danmark 1987[21]
CARE Deutschland-Luxemburg 1981[5]
CARE France 1983[17]
CARE India 2011 [2]
CARE International Japan 1987[22]
CARE Nederland 2001[27]
CARE Norge 1980[16]
CARE Österreich 1986[19]
CARE Peru (Affiliate Member) 2012[2]
Raks Thai Foundation (CARE Thailand) 2003[28]
CARE International UK 1985[18]
CARE USA (founding member: originally simply CARE) 1945[5]

Programming scope[edit]

In 2013 CARE was active in the following countries (as well as in Member and Affiliate countries):[2]

Region Countries where CARE was active in 2013
Asia and Oceania Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, Myanmar, Vietnam
Middle East and Eastern Europe Armenia, Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Romania(Sera), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Egypt, Yemen, Georgia, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon
Africa Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Benin, Morocco, Burundi, Mozambique, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Somalia, Ghana, South Africa, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Togo, Liberia, Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Guinea, South Sudan, Tunisia
Latin America Bolivia, Guatemala, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico

A total of 927 projects were carried out in these countries, with 97 million people reached. The breakdown by region was as follows:[2]

CARE Projects by Region
Region Direct Participants Projects
East & Central Africa 6,887,402 185
Latin America & Caribbean 2,229,792 177
Middle East & Europe 671,460 112
Asia 74,820,629 256
Southern Africa 4,039,262 87
West Africa 8,390,949 110

For the fiscal year 2012, CARE reported a budget of more than 610 million Euros and a staff of 11,300 (97% of them local citizens of the country where they work).[2]

Programming focuses[edit]

CARE programming falls into the following broad themes:

  • Gender and women's empowerment: CARE lists the empowerment of women and girls as its first priority, and focuses its programming in other areas towards this. In 2006 CARE formed the CARE International Gender Network (CIGN) to improve the coordination and quality of CARE’s work on gender equality.[2] Last year, CARE’s projects reached more than 51 million women and men, with information and tools to promote gender equality and empower women. CARE’s women’s empowerment programs help women and men promote women’s rights, provide solidarity and support groups for women, prevent and ensure services and support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as promote conciliatory measures for more equitable roles.
  • Emergency response: CARE supports emergency relief as well as prevention, preparedness, and recovery programs. CARE reported that in 2013 its emergency response and recovery projects reached over 4 million in 40 countries. CARE's core sectors for emergency response are Food Security, Shelter, WASH and Sexual & Reproductive Health. CARE is a signatory of major international humanitarian standards and codes of conduct including the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief, the Sphere standards, and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) principles and standards.[35]
  • Food security: CARE provides emergency food aid and supports the prevention of malnutrition through demonstrating proper breast feeding, providing education focusing on the cultivation and preparation of nutritious food, and improving infrastructure.[36] Last year, CARE improved food security conditions for almost 3 million people by providing nutritional support, increasing access to quality food and improving food production systems.
  • Health: CARE's health programs are focused on maternal health and HIV/AIDS, but also address other areas such as nutrition, safe drinking water, health education, and training local health workers.[36] CARE reached more than 53 million women, men and children last year with information and services to improve maternal health.
  • Climate change: CARE engages in climate-change advocacy and supports local mitigation strategies such as promoting early warning systems, helping communities to draft evacuation plans, providing technical equipment and information, supporting reforestation, and working with local governments to reduce pollution.[36] In 2010 CARE designated the Poverty, Environment and Climate Change Network (PECCN) as its first Centre of Expertise.[37] Last year, CARE worked with almost 400,000 people developing adaptation strategies to the effects of climate change, promoting ecosystem management and restoration, and reducing greenhouse emissions from deforestation.
  • Education: CARE provides economic incentives to help parents keep their children in school, advocates for the importance of educating girls, and supports programs that ensure that girls receive a quality education and engage girls in extracurricular and leadership activities.[36] Last year, CARE facilitated access to quality basic and secondary education or technical training for almost 1 million people in 46 countries.
  • Water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): CARE builds and maintains clean water systems and latrines, and provides education about hygiene and water-borne illnesses.[36] These programmes aim to reduce the risk of water-related diseases and increase the earning potential of households by saving time otherwise spent fetching water.[38] Last year, CARE helped more than 3.3 million people access safe drinking water and sanitation systems, develop governance mechanisms for management of water systems, and improve hygiene practices.
  • Economic Development: CARE supports increasing market linkages, promotes diversified livelihoods, organizes Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), and provides entrepreneurship training.[36] Last year, CARE helped more than 1.6 million people to engage in economically viable activities through increased access to financial and non-financial services, participation in village savings and loan associations, value chain strengthening, market linkages, diversification of livelihoods and competitiveness in the labor market.
  • Advocacy: CARE's advocacy for improved development policy is directed at local and national governments, as well as international organizations such as United Nations institutions, the European Union and other multilateral and international organizations.[36]

Examples of CARE's programs worldwide[edit]

Women and Girl’s Empowerment: Marie Goretti Nyabenda from Burundi joined a CARE program called UMWIZERO assisting women to form savings and loans groups. Whereas Goretti’s husband was at first reluctant to let her join, he quickly saw the benefits as the group not only saved money together and made investments, but they also helped each other in their daily chores. At the same time, CARE worked with local leaders and men to examine and challenge social norms that marginalize women. Eventually Goretti and the other women gained the respect of their husbands. Nearly three-quarters of participants were able to more greatly partake in their households decision-making and spending. And as it is often women who make decisions for their children’s healthcare, schooling and nutrition, the entire family benefits from these changes.

Maternal Health: In India, CARE facilitates mothers’ group meetings to teach safe birth practices and promote health and hygiene measures. Zeba, a young woman who lost her baby through miscarriage before learning about these meetings, says: “I heard woman sharing information about their health, their pains and their happiness. I saw them talking about the danger signs for the mother and the newborn through picture cards. I kept thinking all the time, that if only I had known all this earlier, I would have not met this fate. I kept attending every meeting and learnt so much. Two months later, I was pregnant again as I could recognize the symptoms of pregnancy. I happily shared this with all at home.” CARE trains traditional birth attendants so that they can learn to recognize problems in pregnancies and promote healthy practices. We also offer men’s group meetings in which they learn about women’s rights.

Food Security: CARE works with families and communities to help them produce more nutritious food, develop better agricultural and environmental skills and increase their income. Our goal is to help poor people conserve their natural resources and protect their environment for their children’s future. In the Sahel region, CARE has been actively helping families struggling to survive. In Niger, CARE is providing income to families so they can buy food during what is commonly known as the ‘lean season,’ the gap between the time people run out of food stocks and the next harvest. “It’s a support that came at the right moment,” says Achirou Inoussa, a 42-year-old man. People receive cash in exchange for part-time work in projects identified by their community, or as a handout in the cases where nobody in the family is able to perform manual labor. This type of project has a very tangible impact and CARE’s support has fed families at a critical time. “Before this support, I couldn’t; I was eating leaves,” explains Maka Ali, an 80-year-old widow. “Not only can we buy millet and sorghum now, but also corn and condiments,” explains Mariama Oumarou, 55. “With this support, we get to eat abundantly,” explains Halima Abdou, 25. She is now able to give her children two daily meals.

Climate Change: CARE is helping people adapt by finding new sources of income, planting different types of crop and being better prepared for disasters. CARE is also influencing national and international policies and institutions to help tackle the growing climate crisis. As the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the latest instalment of its Fifth Assessment Report, CARE International’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator Sven Harmeling said: “The IPCC’s findings confirm that climate change is a man-made phenomenon that has emerged from largely unequal human development patterns. Even though a small, rich segment of the global population has caused the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, it is the world’s poorest people who are increasingly suffering from growing climate disruption. This is an extreme global injustice.” CARE warns that eradicating global poverty will become a near-impossible task unless governments take urgent action to tackle the growing injustice of climate change.

Education: In Guatemala, CARE works with groups of girls to give them access to education and to train them as future community leaders. Maria Angelica Joj Yac is a 21-year-old indigenous woman who fought for the chance to be the first person to finish school in her family. Maria Angelica volunteers in her community through CARE’s Education and Leadership Program, where she is trained in teaching and learning techniques and themes such as leadership, self-esteem, and children’s rights and responsibilities. With a scholarship and inspiration from CARE, she was able to pay for her high school studies and keep the earnings from her job to buy 45 chickens to raise and sell. Maria Angelica knows that in order to overcome injustice in her community, girls must be educated about their rights and support one another. “I work with the girls in my community, and together we leave the confines of the home, of isolation, and of timidity, and move toward the public, especially to participate in the classroom among our peers,” she explains. “What I have to do now is demonstrate that women have the same rights and opportunities in school and in the workplace. Nothing and no one will stop me from reaching my goals.”

HIV/AIDS: In Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, young adults are experiencing an HIV and AIDS epidemic that is placing their generation in danger. However, Dormatilda Gani, 23, and Bridgette Mohin, 22, are two young women who have chosen to contribute to a more positive future by volunteering to become peer educators in a CARE education program, which raises awareness of HIV and AIDS among youth to help prevent the spread and impacts of the epidemic. They attend monthly trainings on health issues and leadership skills, which they turn into education sessions for their communities to transfer the knowledge they have gained on issues such as HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and substance abuse. Dormatilda is committed to helping protect her community from the epidemic, saying “What I like about being a peer educator is public speaking and having the chance to talk to many people. Trying to build up the community. I like to be aware of HIV and AIDS and other sexual and reproductive health issues. And also it strengthens me to be strong and know my rights and just be faithful to myself.” These youth are also learning vital leadership skills to play a stronger role in decision-making in their communities.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: When Serina learned about the benefits of building a toilet in the home she shares with her husband and eight children, nothing could stop her from completing the task. Serina is a member of a community health club facilitated by CARE in Zaka District, Zimbabwe. “I’m very happy to be a club member,” Serina explains. “It helps me to learn about health and hygiene. I have learned how to keep my house clean inside and out and how to avoid the spread of diseases in our community. Now I feel happy that I can teach these things to my children.” Serina’s family now practices many hygiene principles that they didn’t previously, and she is working to spread the knowledge among other women in her community. “I can see in the households that women are the ones that care for their families, so it’s important that we are learning to live in a healthy environment. After I have gained all these skills my family is practicing good hygiene. We always remind each other to keep ourselves clean. I hope I will learn even more in the health club sessions.”

Economic Development: CARE’s Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) allow rural poor women to pursue economic independence. Groups of about thirty people are formed, and every week members contribute savings according to a system of shares with fixed values. Members can then borrow from the revolving fund at a monthly interest rate decided by the group for the duration of 1 to 3 months. Loan amounts depend on the availability of funds, member demand and individual repayment capacity. At the end of an agreed period or ‘cycle’, the accumulated savings and interest earnings are shared among the membership in proportion to the amount that each member saved throughout the cycle. In Haiti, Alice tells her story: “When I went to that meeting, I was intrigued by what I learned; I decided to take a chance. I used the little money I made from my sale of mangos and bought “shares”. Then later, I took out a loan, and with that, I started a small business. At first I would sell candies in front of my house. Then, with my profit I would repay the loan and expand my business, to include pasta, rice and beans. I was overjoyed when, at the end of the year, came time for the profit distribution, I never had so much money in my life. I felt confident enough to invest in something bigger. My next project was to build a house.”

Emergency Response: After typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, CARE immediately launched an emergency response. Since the storm first hit, CARE has reached more than 200,000 people, including food relief, cash transfers to purchase food, emergency shelter supplies including tarpaulins, tools and kitchen sets, high quality shelter repair kits, an additional cash supplement for extra costs; and training on building back safer techniques. CARE is also focusing on providing livelihood assistance, helping communities recover in the months and years to come. “Imagine losing your only source of income and then losing your house at the same time. That’s what too many typhoon-affected families are living with right now, which makes it incredibly difficult to recover,” says Lex Kassenberg, Country Director for CARE Philippines. Overall, our relief operations are expected to reach 250,000 people.

Vision and mission statement[edit]

CARE vision statement:

We seek a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security. CARE will be a global force and partner of choice within a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty. We will be known everywhere for our unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people.

—CARE International [39]

CARE mission statement:

CARE’s mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility. We promote lasting change by:

  1. Strengthening capacity for self-help
  2. Providing economic opportunity
  3. Delivering relief in emergencies
  4. Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  5. Addressing discrimination in all its forms
Guided by the aspirations of local communities, we pursue our mission with both excellence and compassion because the people whom we serve deserve nothing less.
—CARE International [39]

Networks and partnerships[edit]

CARE is a signatory to the following standards of humanitarian intervention: the Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief,[40] the Sphere standards,[41] and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) principles and standards.[42] As well, CARE is a member of a number of networks aiming to improve the quality and coordination of humanitarian aid: The Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB),[43] The Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies (CBHA),[44] the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP),[45] the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SHCR),[46] the International Council for Voluntary Agencies (ICVA),[47] and the INGO Accountability Charter.[48] CARE also regularly engages in joint advocacy campaigns with other major NGOs. The Global Campaign for Climate Change Action is one example.[49]


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