This report, the result of internal research by CARE International, argues that partnerships in humanitarian response not only meet lifesaving needs but can also address gender inequalities. Based on the review of five recent emergency responses, the report explores which partnership models and practices can best foster gendertransformative humanitarian action.
CARE’s focus on women and girls is based on overwhelming evidence of gender discrimination as an underlying cause of poverty and marginalisation, leading them to being more vulnerable to the effects of disasters than men and boys. Humanitarian programming that fails to account for the differing roles and power dynamics between men and women tends to exacerbate gender inequalities. At the same time, disasters often disrupt and displace social structures and relations, creating opportunities to promote gender transformational change, such as women taking on leadership roles in their household and community during relief and recovery. While urgent, lifesaving action is critical in crisis response, CARE firmly believes that gender-sensitive action is essential to an effective response. CARE is also convinced that humanitarian action can advance gender equality and transformation.
Partnership and Localising Aid dimensions
Partnerships are fundamental to CARE’s work. CARE believes that saving lives in emergencies, and overcoming poverty, can only be achieved through the collective action of many. CARE has long promoted working with local institutions in development settings and is increasingly partnering in emergencies. CARE recognises that partnering with local actors leads to greater reach and sustainability as they are often the first responders when disaster strikes, with best access to local populations, intimate knowledge of the local context, and long-term presence. CARE believes that localised aid is not only more effective but also just and fair. As such, CARE advocates for more operating space and resources for local actors and disaster-affected communities. CARE recently strengthened its commitment to localising humanitarian aid by endorsing the Charter for Change and the Grand Bargain2 , espousing the call to ‘reinforce – not replace – existing local and national capacities.’ This approach compels CARE to move away from subcontracting towards more equitable, powersharing partnerships, viewing local civil society as peers with common visions and purposes.