The Rationale for Partnering and Localisation
CARE International Definition of Partnership
At the heart of all partnerships for CARE is our goal of addressing social injustice (particular gender inequality and unequal power dynamics) and poverty. Partnerships are purposeful relationships based on mutual trust, equality and learning, with an agreed vision, clear accountability for all parties, and which engage the complementary strengths of the actors involved to collaborate on specific objectives, challenges or opportunities in ways that achieve greater impact than they could achieve alone.
Vision 2030 and the Humanitarian Impact Area Strategy
CARE seeks a world of hope, inclusion, and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and all people live in dignity and security. In our vision for 2030, we put women and girls in the center because we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. With our partners, we aim to support 200 million people from the most vulnerable and excluded communities to overcome poverty and social injustice through six impact areas (Gender Equality; Humanitarian Action; Right to Food, Water, and Nutrition; Women’s Economic Justice; Right to Health; and Climate Justice).
CARE supports transforming the humanitarian sector by putting gender at the center of our responses, ensuring conflict-sensitive community-led interventions, using market-based approaches that protect people’s dignity, and building resilience and social cohesion through our work in communities before, during, and after an emergency. Our work in CARE’s core humanitarian sectors — shelter, WASH, food, and sexual and reproductive health and rights — will always seek to contribute to both gender equality and immediate humanitarian assistance.
By 2030, our goal is that 10% of those affected in major crises receive quality, gender-responsive humanitarian assistance and protection which is locally-led.
 Those under UN Humanitarian Response Plans, or their equivalents
The Value and Imperatives of Humanitarian Partnership and Localisation
CARE believes that it is only through the collective efforts of many actors that overcoming poverty and injustice, and saving lives during emergencies, can be achieved. CARE has long promoted working with local organisations and institutions in both humanitarian and development settings to support local capacity and ownership.
Similarly, CARE increasingly works with local actors as partners when responding to emergencies, recognising that this approach appropriately addresses the immediate needs of the impact population and achieves greater impact and scale.
Partnership is central to CARE’s global vision and mission. We ‘aim to be a partner of choice for governments, civil society organisations, social movements, the private sector and donors who seek long term solutions for fighting poverty and social injustice. When we maximise the potential of different types of partnerships we can collectively achieve more, have greater impact, and do so in more cost-effective, inclusive and sustainable ways. CARE recognises that partners are not a homogenous group and that we have diverse relationships with a variety of different types of partners.
Within the larger Partnership conversation, localising aid has emerged as a critical pillar of the humanitarian reforms adopted at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). It calls for a more collaborative and equitable humanitarian system that relies on national and local leadership of humanitarian response, supplemented – not led – by international actors. CARE’s data shows that when our activities are delivered predominantly through partners, our work is of a higher quality and significantly more impactful.
CARE supports and engages with diverse partners in a variety of ways – both formal and informal. CARE knows well the important role of a constantly evolving civil society in mobilising citizens, holding governments accountable for the progressive realisation of human rights, and identifying new solutions to injustice for scale-up, thereby contributing to lasting change.
Localising aid is defined as a shift from international to national/local leadership of humanitarian response. Enshrined in Workstream 2 of the Grand Bargain, it calls for making aid “as local as possible and as international as necessary… engaging with local and national responders in a spirit of partnership and aiming to reinforce rather than replace local and national capacities.”
Recognising that local actors have long been side-lined during response, it seeks to reassert their legitimacy and prominence in terms of visibility and operating space. This approach will require deliberate and concerted global investment in national and local capacities to manage disasters.
Localisation also calls for more direct, accessible funding to local actors and more equitable and effective partnerships. The vision is for locally-led responses as the new norm, where local actors are the first responders and direct receivers of funding, supplemented by international action if, and for as long as, needed.
The Rationale for Partnering with and Enabling Women Leadership in Emergencies
At the World Humanitarian Summit, CARE reaffirmed its commitment to focus on empowering women and girls as change agents and leaders, and to further support women-led groups to participate in humanitarian action.
There is growing recognition that women’s involvement in response leads to improved outcomes for relief and post-conflict stability. The leadership of local women’s groups in humanitarian action is increasingly seen as lifesaving. In many contexts, local actors (CSOs, government) tend to be male-headed and patriarchal. This tends to negatively impact the gender responsiveness of localised humanitarian action and the specific assistance and protection needs of women and girls. Stand-alone funding for gender work in emergencies, especially when directed to local women’s groups, can improve aid effectiveness.
CARE views partnerships with women’s organisations as central, not only to its goal of strengthening gender equality and women’s voice, but also for transforming its own organisational culture to successfully deliver its focus on gender equality. While CARE collaborates with diverse actors (including civil society, private sector, government), it recognises the need to strengthen partnerships and focus them more explicitly on addressing the agency (capacities and aspirations), structures (enabling environment) and relations (power dynamics) that lead to gender equality, as prescribed by its Gender Equality Framework.
As part of its gender in emergencies (GiE) work over recent years, CARE has honed its understanding and practice of what it takes to deliver more inclusive and equitable humanitarian programs in partnership with local civil society. CARE’s Gender in Emergencies approach prescribes building capacity and accountability to ensure that CARE and its partners commit to gender-sensitive programming in partnership-based operating models.
CARE has developed guidance to promote gender-sensitive partnerships. This tool assists staff to assess the interest and capacity of partners for gender-sensitive emergency programming and to promote gender-sensitive working relationships. CARE also invests in building strategic alliances at all levels (local, national, regional, global) to bring about broad systemic change towards more gender-accountable and gender-equitable humanitarian policy and practice.