CARE (relief agency)

Current CARE Logo

CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) is a broad-spectrum secular relief, humanitarian, and development non-governmental organization fighting global poverty. It is non-political, non-sectarian and operates annually in more than 70 countries across the globe.[1]

One of the organization’s primary focuses in its fight to eradicate poverty is Women’s Empowerment. Women are at the center of many of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also is responsible for delivering emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters and is often also involved with the rebuilding process.

The CARE International Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and has representational offices in New York City (to liase with the UN) and Brussels (for European institutions). CARE has 12 International Members: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany-Luxembourg, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, Thailand, the U.K., and the United States. CARE USA is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2010, CARE implemented 768 projects in 70 countries, reaching almost 57 million people.[2]


History of CARE

A CARE-packet, 1948

CARE was first established in the United States during the month of November 1945 as Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe.[3] It was founded in response to the decimation of Europe from the violence of the World War II. The idea was that Americans would be able to send “CARE Packages” to those who were in desperate need of (food) relief. This action represented the collective effort of 22 American organizations (religious, civic, cooperative, labor, etc.). Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, contributed to the effort. In 1946 the organization “opened its first offices in Canada to broaden support for its mission.”[3] On May 11, 1946, the first 20,000 packages reached the battered port of Le Havre, France. Some 100 million more CARE Packages reached people in need during the next two decades, first in Europe and later in Asia and other parts of the developing world. In 1948, CARE was already working in many Asian countries — first came Japan, then the Philippines, Korea, India, and Pakistan. By the early 1950s, the organization had been launched in many Latin American countries and by the 1960s had spread to Africa as well.[3]

Moving Towards Development

CARE officially changed the meaning of its acronym to Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere in 1953 as a response to its changing operation. Over the next few decades the CARE package was phased out, focusing instead on large development projects and disaster relief operations.[4] This included large-scale supplementary feeding programs using U.S. surplus agricultural commodities and self-help community development programs. During the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, CARE’s programming approach continued to evolve as it developed its capacity in various sectors, including agriculture, primary health care, and small enterprise development. [3] In the 1970s, CARE responded to massive famines in Africa with both emergency relief and long-term agroforestry projects[5] integrating environmentally sound tree- and land-management practices with farming programs.

Transition from North American to International NGO

During the 1980s, independent CARE organizations were set up in other countries and CARE International (CI) was established as an umbrella organization.[3] In 1993 CARE changed its name again. This time, “American” was changed to “Assistance,” leading to the organization’s current name: Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere.[6]

CARE Today

1999 to 2002

In 1994, CARE celebrated its 50th anniversary; it also looked internally to see how it could further evolve to meet the needs of a rapidly developing world. It was in this mind-set that CARE sought to re-brand itself in order to avoid the growing confusion about what it actually did.[6] McCann Erickson conducted a number of focus groups in six countries and found that CARE, though recognizable as an “old” and “large” organization, had very weak ‘’brand’’ awareness as compared with other NGOs in the sector such as UNICEF or the Red Cross. The study also found that people perceived CARE to be “empathetic, but not particularly effective.”[6] One of the primary outcomes was the new logo with the tagline “Where the end of poverty begins.” Many of the international members (such as CARE Australia and many European members) had issues with the rebranding, ranging from the coloring to the phrasing of the tagline. The Australians did not want to be confused as a land rights organization and the Europeans and field staff felt that the tagline sounded too arrogant. A compromise was reached wherein CARE International agreed to allow country offices to modify and translate the slogan accordingly for their respective areas. There was also controversy over lack of communication with the field offices, which, after the rebranding, expressed concern that the new brand did not fit within some local contexts. This shift to a rights-based approach, was widely considered a “top-down” decision. [6]

2002 to 2006 (CARE USA)

As the brand continued growing internationally, CARE USA aimed to raise awareness of its presence in the United States from a lowly 2% (unaided; the Red Cross was at 42%). It decided to focus on women’s empowerment. Global statistics on the impact of poverty on women and girls was also a major catalyst for the platform to gain momentum: The majority of people living in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day).[7] At the time, 60% of the primary-school-age children not in school were female.[7] Women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa were 3 times more likely to be infected with HIV than men of the same ages.[7] Two thirds of the 876 illiterate adults were women, etc. [7] Basically, there was a lot of motivation behind the idea of women’s empowerment and it also fell in line with CARE’s commitment to rights-based approaches to development.[6]

The "I am Powerful" Campaign

Launched in September 2006, the idea was to empower women everywhere, from the women CARE was focusing on empowering, to the women it was trying to get to donate. The message was, “She has the power to change the world. You have the power to help her do it—” It was a summary statement ‘’and’’ a call to action. CARE publicized the campaign through the use of celebrity spokespeople such as Sheila Johnson — the co-founder of BET; Christy Turlington — model; and Meg Ryan — actress; as well as a press tour, corporate sponsorships, print ads in high profile women’s magazines, radio ads, web presence on “woman-oriented” sites, etc. Perhaps most important was the complete overhaul of the CARE website, offering a “new look” and including images from the campaign itself. The whole campaign was highly targeted and focused, which is why it was able to become one of the identifying features of the CARE organization.[6]

Organization Structure

  • CARE International Secretariat (CI) is the governing body over the 12 international members.
  • Ninety-seven percent of CARE's employees are citizens of the country where they work. [8]

Official mission statement

To serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, to promote innovative solutions and advocate for global responsibility. Facilitate lasting change by:

  • Strengthening capacity for self-help
  • Providing economic opportunity
  • Delivering relief in emergencies
  • Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  • Addressing discrimination in all its forms

Guided by the aspirations of local communities, CARE pursues its mission with both excellence and compassion because the people who are served deserve nothing less.[9]

Countries of operation

In 2009, CARE operated programs in the following countries:

Regions of Operation Countries
Asia Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam
East- and Central Africa Burundi, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
South- and West Africa Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Latin America Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru.
Middle East and Eastern Europe Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, West Bank/Gaza, Yemen

See also

External links


  1. ^ Lindenberg, M. and Bryant, C. "Going Global: transforming relief and development NGOs". Kumarian Press, Inc. (2001).
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e Henry, K M. "CARE international: Evolving to meet the challenges of the 21st century." Nonprofit and voluntary sector quarterly 28.4 (1999):109.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e f Kasturi Ranagan,V and Lee, K. "Repositioning CARE USA" Harvard Business School. 9-509-005. Aug 12, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^ [1], The World's Top 40 Development Innovators.
  9. ^

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