1.1 CARE’ s Strategic Commitments for partnering in emergencies
‘Within this global context, strategic alliances, partnership and niche expertise will be necessary for an NGO such as CARE to be able to demonstrate relevance, value and impact in our humanitarian work.’
‘Stronger and more interested local partners pose tremendous opportunities for agencies such as CARE to support and invest in building capacities and to build upon the contextual relevance and acceptance in communities and regions that external actors have more challenges reaching. ‘
CARE’s Humanitarian and Emergency Strategy describes partnerships as critical to fulfilling its humanitarian mandate. The strategy recognizes that CARE is part of a larger humanitarian ecosystem requiring collaboration and partnering among a diverse set of actors to deliver effective and timely responses at scale.
The Strategy refers to partnering in a range of contexts, including – but not limited to – where CARE’s presence may be reduced as part of the organisation’s ongoing transition to lighter operational models or due to lack of access.
Following the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, CARE signed on to a set of reforms in the humanitarian system through the Grand Bargain http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Grand_Bargain_final_22_May_FINAL-2.pdf). and the Charter4Change (https://charter4change.org/commitments/). The call for ‘localizing aid’ is central to the proposed reforms: making aid ‘as local as possible, as international as necessary.’ This involves giving more space, power and control to local actors (including government and civil society) as critical first responders in emergencies.
CARE has committed to changing the way it operates to enable more locally-led responses. This includes reinforcing – not replacing – existing local and national capacities in response. It also compels the agency to move away from subgranting towards more equitable, power-sharing partnerships. It also involves shifts in resource transfers with CARE committing to channel at least 20% of its humanitarian funding directly to southern-based NGOs by May 2018. This does not mean that CARE will no longer implement a direct emergency response; however it compels the organization to more systematically explore the option of jointly responding with partners and building their capacities as frontline responders. These new directions will require sustained investment in building and maintaining partnerships during non-crisis times (as part of preparedness) to enable partnered response at scale.
CARE also signed on to the Principles of Partnership (https://www.icvanetwork.org/system/files/versions/Principles%20of%20Parnership%20English.pdf) in 2007 which call for effective and equitable partnerships based on: equality, transparency. A results-oriented approach, responsibility and complementarity. This means that partnerships should not be one-way (e.g. led by CARE’s agenda) but rather a two-way relationships where benefits and risks are equally shared and partners’ contributions sought and valued.