CARE Failing Forward
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.

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.

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.

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.

CARE of 1000 Papers, Part 2: Improving the way we work with partners in crisis

CARE of 1000 Papers, Part 2: Improving the way we work with partners in crisis

June 18, 2020

Puji Pujiono of the Pujiono Center and Victoria Palmer from CARE Canada talk about their paper based on the Sulawesi response in Indonesia.This time, they talk about what organizations can do once a crisis has already started to have better success with partners, and help them achieve their goals rather than hurt them.

Designing Data Systems in Crisis: Act Quickly, Iterate Fast, and Think to the Future

Designing Data Systems in Crisis: Act Quickly, Iterate Fast, and Think to the Future

April 20, 2020

Jay Goulden talks about designing a data system to collect information on pandemic response in 78 countries--a first for CARE. He says act quickly, iterate fast, and think what your system might need to be in two weeks or a month as the situation evolves. He also talks about reducing burdens on over-taxed staff, streamlining systems, and connecting data collection to data use. Oh--and make it beautiful to look at.

Don’t Jump Straight to Digital: What Ebola Taught Us About Trying to Force New Systems in Crisis

Don’t Jump Straight to Digital: What Ebola Taught Us About Trying to Force New Systems in Crisis

April 13, 2020

Holly Radice talks about how people have limited bandwidth to adopt new things in crisis, and how cash transfers in Ebola failed at digital solutions because of unrealistic expectations. Her recommendations: do everything you can to adapt and expand existing systems to push out cash safely, examine your context very carefully and frequently to see what market approaches work, and start planning now for cash transfers during recovery in a few months. Be empathetic to participants and financial service providers, and respect that everyone is affected. Finally, stay in touch with partners and cash working groups to find solutions that will support everyone.

Push Aside the Panic: Thinking Bigger than Just a Health Response to COVID 19

Push Aside the Panic: Thinking Bigger than Just a Health Response to COVID 19

March 26, 2020

Alfred Makavore, a key responder in CARE's Ebola response in Sierra Leone in 2014-2015, share's lessons about how to improve our COVID-19 response. "At first, we thought it was just a clinical problem, and we treated it like that." Alfred encourages teams to think beyond a clinical response, to understand what communities are facing, and to build trust. "We have to push aside the panic." Engaging governments, setting up local coordination, and trusting field teams to make decisions are some of his key recommendations.

 

Planning a Better COVID-19 Response: How Mistakes from the Ebola Crisis Can Help

Planning a Better COVID-19 Response: How Mistakes from the Ebola Crisis Can Help

March 16, 2020

Learn to act with imperfect information. Take calculated risks. Remember who is most at risk. Those are just some of the calls to action from Andres Gomez de la Torre, drawing on CARE's learning from Ebola response. Originally recorded in August of 2018, this podcast has critical lessons that CARE is using today in planning our COVID 19 response, and are an important call to action as we know some of the world's poorest countries are about to get hit with a crisis for which they are not prepared.

9 Things You’re Probably Doing Wrong: Lessons from Global Cash Programming

9 Things You’re Probably Doing Wrong: Lessons from Global Cash Programming

December 4, 2019

Holly Radice--CARE's Global Cash and Voucher Assistance Advisor--talks about the most common mistakes she sees when people implement cash programming. Some of her tips? Pay attention to GBV, focus on women and engage men, and most of all--don't be afraid of cash! There are lots of resources that can help you get it right.

Design For Everyone, Not for Experts

Design For Everyone, Not for Experts

October 30, 2019

"You need to design for real people, not for experts." "Be ruthless with what you really need, and what's just nice to have" Isadora Quay from CARE's Gender and Emergencies work discusses CARE's Gender Marker, and all of the attempts it took to get to a tool that would actually work for the organization, not just the experts. It's about building tools that can turn everyone into a gender champion, and not tools that contain everything. The other secret? Design on a napkin!

Mobility, Instability, and Crisis: Creating Savings Groups in Emergencies

Mobility, Instability, and Crisis: Creating Savings Groups in Emergencies

September 19, 2019

Camille Davis and Barack Kinanga talk about the challenges of creating savings groups (VSLAs) in emergency settings. Barack works in Yemen, where they have been able to create savings groups, but only by making a lot of adjustments to our traditional model. Not every context works for VSLAs, and it takes longer for people in crisis to build up savings than in development settings. We also have to think about what happens if the people have to move again, and what they need to build resilience.

Embracing Imperfection: Rapid Gender Analysis and Knowing You Don’t Have All the Answers

Embracing Imperfection: Rapid Gender Analysis and Knowing You Don’t Have All the Answers

September 12, 2019

Isadora Quay talks about the process of developing CARE's Rapid Gender Analysis, and how embracing imperfection is key to saving lives. When we want everything to be perfect, that often means we delay or prevent sharing any information at all, which can be catastrophic in humanitarian (and development) settings. Making tools useful for a broader range of people, and focusing on practical, tangible suggestions, and analyzing results in plain language for non-experts are some key lessons to take forward. "Act fast, there's a huge need for real information in real time." Isadora argues that failure is inevitable, so we need to learn not to prevent it, but to manage it and learn from them.

What makes dreams impossible: How we can miss the mark on creating programs that last

What makes dreams impossible: How we can miss the mark on creating programs that last

January 2, 2019

Hiba Tibi from Palestine talks about her favorite quote: "Fear of failure is the only thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve." Even in crisis and fragile settings, we must programs that create space for women's empowerment and will be economically viable in the long term. We can't let the changing environment prevent us from focusing on equality that will last. Check out the recent paper on how to do that with Women's Economic Empowerment programs, and the thinking on how to approach the Humanitarian and Development nexus for long term change.

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