CARE Failing Forward
Treat the System, Not the Disease

Treat the System, Not the Disease

August 27, 2021

Amani Idfonce from CARE Tanazania talks about how reinforcing the whole health system--especially with community health workers--makes it possible to get an even better COVID response than focusing on the disease alone would have done. How did they manage it? They worked on aligning with existing priorities, thinking about infectious diseases more broadly, and remembered to keep regular services running. Read more about the project here.

We are not superior: lessons on working authentically with local organizations

We are not superior: lessons on working authentically with local organizations

May 11, 2021

Mona Sherpa from CARE Nepal reflects on lessons learned in responding to emergencies in true collaboration with local partners. "We are not superior. Learning has to go both ways," she says. It's not just about your plans on paper or your commitment to principles, but also your actions and your systems.

Breaking Inward: Digital Failures and Who Bears the Risk

Breaking Inward: Digital Failures and Who Bears the Risk

April 30, 2021

Zachary Vinyard from the One Acre Fund talks about how digital projects in Rwanda failed because of too many assumptions about what worked for farmers. His team has a new report on Digital Innovations, and how to get better. Key tips? Break inward. Design experiments so if they fail, the organization bears all of the extra risk and extra work, and the farmers you serve don't have to take it on. Also, don't assume just because the code works that it will work for people. The benefits we care about are to farmers, not to functional code.

Don’t Try to Win: Lessons from innovation failures in the humanitarian sector

Don’t Try to Win: Lessons from innovation failures in the humanitarian sector

April 9, 2021

"Don't try to win for yourself. Try to win for impact." Rahul Chandran talks about what he terms the catastrophic failure of innovation in the humanitarian sector, why importing the Silicone Valley model of innovation and scale doesn't work, and how collective action and anti-racism are the only solutions. "Scale isn't about big" is just one of his provocations to the sector at large.

Where White Feminism has Failed: Linking women’s empowerment with anti-racism

Where White Feminism has Failed: Linking women’s empowerment with anti-racism

February 1, 2021

Allison Burden, CARE International's Head of Programming, reflects on where white feminist traditions have failed at anti-racism, what that means for white feminists to improve their own behavior (hint: listening and humility are two big tips), and what that means for the system of international development where we're working towards equality, human rights, and decolonization.

Study, analyze, adjust quickly: the Bihar Technical Support Program’s concurrent measurement and learning approach

Study, analyze, adjust quickly: the Bihar Technical Support Program’s concurrent measurement and learning approach

January 19, 2021

Dr. Tanmay Mahapatra and Dr. Shridhar Srikantiah from CARE India’s Bihar Technical Support Program explain how they use data to catch failures and make adjustments in real time with their Concurrent Measurement and Learning approach. Learn more at: bihar.care.org

We are not immune: unlearning white supremacy in international development

We are not immune: unlearning white supremacy in international development

December 7, 2020

"If you are not uncomfortable, you are not having the right conversations." Andres Gomez de la Torre from CARE talks about what we have to do in our work to be actively anti-racist. From the big changes to the small habits, from the individual to the organization, we need to accept that our work is built on a history of colonialism, and we all have to do the work to change our ideas about what it means to support social justice. "It's not just an HR issue. Thinking that is a mistake." We have to make changes across all parts of the organization, and do the work as individuals."

Fail Again. Fail Better.

Fail Again. Fail Better.

November 19, 2020

Fiona Cooper talks about her experience leading the research for round two of CARE's Learning From Failure initiative, and…I know this will surprise everyone…we haven’t stopped failures yet. We do have some hopeful signs that we’re failing better. Fiona talks about the importance of looking internally, acknowledging that everyone fails, and finding ways to be honest about failure in a sector that's not really comfortable with it.

Data in the time of COVID

Data in the time of COVID

November 12, 2020

Clement Bisai from CARE Malawi talks about what he and his team are learning about how to do better remote data collection. Focus, listen to communities, and reflect regularly are his key takeaways. Don't expect to outsource everything. Digital remote data collection may be the best way to work in COVID-19, but we're already learning how to do it better.

Dream Big, But Move Methodically

Dream Big, But Move Methodically

October 29, 2020

Hazem Fahmy from CARE Egypt talks about the journey from being a country office to becoming an independent member of the CARE family. What are some of his key lessons? First, don't spend all your time planning--test out actions and adapt. Second, learn to listen for what people aren't telling you; trust is critical for organizational change. Third, keep your principles firmly in mind as a north star. It can be easy to lose track of why we're transforming in the excitement of growing a business.

Implementers vs. Allies

Implementers vs. Allies

October 14, 2020

Tatiana Bertolucci--CARE's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean--talks about what she learned closing the CARE Brazil office. We need to engage with curiosity and treat organizations in the global south as powerful allies, not people who merely implement our agenda. We also need to invest in more diverse boards. "There is knowledge everywhere if we will listen to it." Another lesson is "scream for help sooner" when something is not working.

Undocumented and Unafraid: Rethinking Vulnerability

Undocumented and Unafraid: Rethinking Vulnerability

September 30, 2020

Find out why Randy Villegas from UC Santa Cruz is rethinking is definition of vulnerability when it comes to undocumented youth in California. They certainly face extreme challenges, but what he has seen youth organizers do in the context of COVID-19 has Randy wondering, "what if it's elected officials who are vulnerable if youth keep being activist?" Learn more from Randy's work with young people, and lessons like "you need to be there even when it's not an election year," "stop the flyover organizing," and "youth are brutally honest."

The Power of Risk: Contingency Plans, Relationships, and other lessons from COVID

The Power of Risk: Contingency Plans, Relationships, and other lessons from COVID

September 17, 2020

Deyanira Nevarez Martinez from UC Irvine talks about the challenges of doing research in COVID-19, and the importance of contingency and risk management planning. How would you plan if you thought everything might go wrong? What are your alternatives for each step of your process? When COVID-19 turned everything upside down, Deyanira talks about strategies for moving research forward. Deya's research is in California, but she's got advice that can apply for everyone in the world.

Rumors, Trust, and COVID-19

Rumors, Trust, and COVID-19

August 13, 2020

Salah Hamwi from CARE Turkey talks about lessons learned in fighting rumors and misinformation about COVID 19. "We're fighting against time," he says. You have to get good information out first so that rumors don't have the space to grow and spread. Using digital platforms, getting leaders involved, and using evidence to shape your programs are all other key steps.

A Grain of Truth in Opposition: Launching new programs in difficult times

A Grain of Truth in Opposition: Launching new programs in difficult times

July 29, 2020

Ryan Shepard talks about launching CARE's first US-focused project, creating jobs and feeding kids impacted by #covid19. It wasn't an easy lift and "depended on a lot of things all going right at a very uncertain time." What are Ryan's takeaways? Listen for the truth that will make you stronger, even when people's feedback is discouraging. Believe in the core of what must work, constantly refine the details, and make decisions true to your principles.

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