In the immediate aftermath of an emergency, CARE has three chief objectives:
1. We make sure our teams are well- prepared, safe and have the capacity to carry out response efforts in a culturally appropriate manner.
2. We seek to ensure that our work is beneficial to the communities we are working in, and that our emergency response aids the whole population, without discrimination, that it does not create unsafe situations or reliance upon aid, and that it does not weaken existing local and governmental capacities, efforts or economies.
3. We aim for our responses to be timely and efficient, for our teams to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice, and to be able to deploy at a scale and with the resources necessary to meet needs immediately.
Q: In what ways does “humanitarian aid” include both emergency response and longer-term development?
A: Humanitarian relief efforts can often reinforce development objectives and vice versa. In an emergency response, we work to ensure that people have safe access to shelter, food, water and health care. Over the years, however, our work has taught us that relief efforts alone are not enough — and in many protracted crises like Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, we must pair those efforts with development efforts to break cycles of reliance on humanitarian assistance. To doso, we engage entire communities to design and implement a response that is sustainable by building local capacity and local partnerships. For decades, international humanitarian and development aid
efforts have been siloed, with different funding sources and different lines of activity. But in the context of today’s emergencies — which are more often protracted crises layered with large displacement, food insecurity and protection challenges — it is clearer than ever that we can no longer treat humanitarian and development efforts as distinct. CARE and other actors are increasingly focused on ensuring that we work along a continuum, and consider longer-term development aims at the outset of a humanitarian response, all while building into our development efforts the resilience and capacity for crisis response.
Q: In what ways do you see humanitarian aid as a stabilizing force in communities around the world?
A: CARE provides lifesaving humanitarian assistance in response to either a conflict or natural disaster. Without such assistance, communities might not be able to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, which can
lead to destabilizing conditions: shortages of food, lack of medical supplies, inadequate shelter, and the degradation of civilian institutions that provide necessary services to affected populations. CARE’s approach to humanitarian assistance addresses immediate needs but also gives individuals and communities a way forward and an active role in recovery. Those most affected by the crisis, for example, are at the table providing input into discussions around needs, gaps and program design. By engaging local populations, CARE builds local capacity so that programs are sustainable long after the immediate response winds down — helping build the bridge between humanitarian and development with the aim of helping communities recover stronger than before.
Q: How does CARE’s focus on women and girls help build more sustainable communities when responding to emergencies?