3.2 Mainstreaming protection

CARE’s activities during and immediately after the emergency should respond to the most immediate needs of affected populations, and should respect their dignity and ensure their safety. CARE should not put people’s dignity and safety at further risk through our attempts to assist, and we should be held accountable to people affected by natural disaster or conflict. To achieve this, a protection approach should be mainstreamed in all of CARE’s programmes.

In practice, this might mean that in a camp setting managed by CARE, all essential services and facilities will be located in an easily accessible and secure location so that people, especially women and children, will not be vulnerable to attack when they use these services and facilities.

Another example is placing a protective ‘lens’ on a food distribution programme to ensure that the types and methods of distribution do not increase risk to people’s security. For example, sometimes the types of food distributed require increased fuel and water for cooking. This can mean people have to travel further to collect water and fuel, and be at risk of attack. A protection approach would advocate for more fuel-efficient foods. Distribution methods would have strategies to ensure that food cannot be used for exploitation and abuse of power. For more information, refer to the chapter on Prevention of and response to sexual exploitation and abuse.

Providing basic information to the community about CARE and the emergency project, including a complaints mechanism and a means for regular reports and updates throughout the project cycle, is another possible protection approach. See the chapter on Quality and accountability.

A set of Draft Minimum Standards for Protection have recently been developed by a group of NGOs including CARE (see Annex 31.5). These standards provide checklists and indicators for each sector to help integrate a protection approach.

NEW – ICRC’s joint agency agency initiative in professional standards ‘Professional standards for Protection work – ICRC 2009.’ Refer to Annex 31.15 .



  • Help refugees organise themselves.
  • Help ensure that the layout, location and infrastructure of the camp are designed to protect camp residents (for example, that latrines, water and fuel collection points, medical facilities, etc. are within easy and safe access to all, and that camps are well lit).
  • Alert refugees to their rights and responsibilities under national and local laws.
  • Foster dialogue between the refugee community and local population.
  • Ensure women are included as initial points of contact for emergency and longer-term food distribution.

Source: Adapted from Annex 31.8 Protecting refugees: A field guide for NGOs