Theophile Twahirwa from CARE Rwanda talks about what the team has learned in more than a decade of programming on Women's Economic Empowerment and savings groups. What did they find out? Savings is not enough; economic empowerment is not enough; investing in women is not enough. The team learned that true change comes from investing in equality--working with women, and also with the men in their lives and the systems of power they all face and replicate. Looking over a decade of learning, including the Indashyikirwa project, the team sees transformational change, and talks about where to go next.
Holly Radice reflects on 3 years of cash and voucher programming at CARE, where we've grown, and where we need to invest more. Working with cash and vouchers to ensure that we're supporting gender equality and reducing risks of GBV is possible, but it's also a challenge. Here are some places that we need to strengthen: get participants more involved in design, listen to feedback, and understand that you've always got different levels of skills and experience are some of her big recommendations. She also says we need to be patient with ourselves, and always learning more.
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.
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.
"Fear of failure is the only thing that ensures your dreams won't come true." Hiba Tibi from CARE's Middle East and North Africa hub talks about what they're learning from programs that didn't work, and how they are using those lessons to improve sustainability and scale. A big lesson is that Women's Economic Empowerment programs have to focus on both gender equality AND solid business cases--but many programs only manage one or the other. You can check out more lessons in the recent paper: Bringing Gender Equality Closer to Women's Economic Empowerment.
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.
How can using the phrase Happy Families actually hurt women and set feminism back? Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Zainab Ibrahim from Chrysalis--a CARE affiliate in Sri Lanka--tell us lessons learned from the EMERGE project engaging men and boys, and working with feminist groups. Some key lessons: let local groups take the lead, engage with respect and humility, and pay attention to your wording. Concepts need to translate not just in language, but also in ideology. Also check out the paper on working with social movements, and how we can improve women's rights by taking a back seat.
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.