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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

CARE of 1000 papers: How our best intentions can hurt local activists

CARE of 1000 papers: How our best intentions can hurt local activists

June 3, 2020

How do international NGOs create problems when they team up with local activists? It's the CARE of 1000 papers, where our processes are so focused on reducing risk that we bury local groups under the weight of our expectations, and don't give them the support they need. Puji Pujiono of the Pujiono Center and Victoria Palmer from CARE Canada talk about their paper based on the Sulawesi response in Indonesia, where we learned a lot about what we can do BEFORE we reach out to local partners so that we're truly helping response and empowering those partners. Stay tuned for part 2, where they discuss what we can do once a crisis hits.

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.

From Supervision to Empowerment: New Ways to Partner for Sustainability (English Version)

From Supervision to Empowerment: New Ways to Partner for Sustainability (English Version)

April 6, 2020

In this translation from the French Episode, Sandra Georges from CARE Cameroon talks about the CHAMPS project, and how they have had to move from "make others do" to "do together" to "let others do." It involves changing the way we think about partnership, gradually handing over responsibility, and believing local teams and communities about what approaches work best.

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.

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