CARE Failing Forward
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.

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

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.

Answering Practical Questions Instead of Academic Ones: How to design research that makes more sustainable programming

Answering Practical Questions Instead of Academic Ones: How to design research that makes more sustainable programming

January 9, 2020

Learning to be less dogmatic about answering the most important academic questions, but instead focus on the practical questions that would allow project teams to "innovate and push" around creating sustainable programs for WASH in schools. Matt Freeman from Emory University and Peter Lochery from CARE talk about what they learned trying to create research that moved programs forward, and allowed us to get better at the work--even when it wouldn't contribute to publications in prestigious journals. They talk about 13 years of research partnership in the SWASH+ project--and how lots of smaller, practical studies with rigorous methods were more useful than one big RCT.

The Learning From Failure Report: A Systemic Look at What Goes Wrong

The Learning From Failure Report: A Systemic Look at What Goes Wrong

May 20, 2019

Katie Pons from CARE talks about a current research effort to learn from what goes wrong based on CARE's evaluations. Using a qualitative analysis program called MAXQDA, Katie and her colleagues have been doing a meta-analysis to give us a more structured way to talk about failure, not just case by case, but in the broader systems sense. Listen to the podcast, and then tell us what reports you would like to see from this data set. Shout out in the comments, or e-mail ejanoch@care.org.

Making People Suffer: The Perils of Partnership and Budget Delays

Making People Suffer: The Perils of Partnership and Budget Delays

April 10, 2019

Mike Mukirane from Uganda's West Nile team talks about an attempt to recruit and pay midwives for a CARE project through the local government system. Because we didn't know enough to set it up well, the midwives went for 6 months without getting paid, "working tooth and nail" the whole time. Learning more from other partners' experience, thinking more carefully about contract requirements, and understanding implications of our budgeting choices are all recommendations for how to avoid the problem.

Processes and Privilege: How to prioritize innovative local partners in market solutions

Processes and Privilege: How to prioritize innovative local partners in market solutions

February 6, 2019

Bob Rabatsky from Fintrac discusses his experiences as the Chief of Party for Feed the Future’s Partnering For Innovation, and what it teaches us about working with the private sector and market based solutions. Re-setting application processes to prioritize qualified local businesses, focusing on setting good milestones, and overcoming resistance to private sector solutions are some of his key takeaways.

Look to Line 238: what happens when reporting impact is optional

Look to Line 238: what happens when reporting impact is optional

October 24, 2018

Sarah Eckoff from CARE USA's Gender Justice Team talks about why when most of CARE's projects work on gender, 0% of them are reporting against the supplemental gender indicators. User experience with our reporting forms, the complexity of measuring gender, and the way we roll out tools are all a part of the story.

You are not alone: Learning to apply systems thinking in cocoa projects

You are not alone: Learning to apply systems thinking in cocoa projects

September 5, 2018

Juan Echanove, the Senior Director of Food and Nutrition Security at CARE talks about how we can do a better job designing a portfolio of projects that use a systems thinking approach instead of creating a host of standalone projects that don't build on each other.

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