8. Policy Framework

This chapter outlines the overarching policy, principles and approaches that guide CARE’s humanitarian work.

CARE’s Vision, Mission and Humanitarian Mandate are CARE’s internal policy framework for humanitarian action.

CARE’s goal is to provide quality, gender-focused and localized humanitarian assistance to 10% of people affected in major crises, reaching at least 50 million people by 2030.

CARE’s Humanitarian Impact Strategy outlines the rationale, context, and approach that CARE is taking to achieve its goal by 2030.

CARE’s internal policy framework is informed by and aligned with international principles, laws and standards for humanitarian action

CARE’s vision and mission statements establish the core mandate of CARE’s work. Responding to emergencies is central to CARE’s vision and mission.

CARE’s mission statement clearly highlights ‘delivering emergency relief’ as central to our work. Our emergency work should also seek to strengthen capacities, address discrimination, influence policy and provide economic opportunity for people and communities affected by emergencies. CARE’s programming principles support CARE’s vision and mission and must be upheld in all of CARE’s programmes.

CARE’s Vision statement

We seek a world of hope, inclusionand social justice, where poverty has been overcome and all people live in dignity and security.

CARE’s Mission statement 

CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.

CARE’s Focus

We put women and girls in the centre because we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities.

CARE’s Programming Principles 

In order to fulfil CARE’s Vision and Mission, all of CARE’s programmes should conform to the following Programme Principles. They should inform and guide, at a fundamental level, the way we work. They are not optional.

Principle 1: Promote Empowerment

We stand in solidarity with people living in poverty and support their efforts to take control of their own lives and fulfil their rights, responsibilities and aspirations. We ensure that participants and organisations representing people living in poverty, especially women and girls, are partnersat all stages in our programmes.

Principle 2: Work with Partners

We work with others to maximise the impact of our programmes, building alliances and partnerships with those who offer complementary approaches, are able to scale up effective solutions, and/or have responsibility to fulfil rights and reducepoverty through policy change and implementation. We commit to working in ways that support and reinforce, not replace, existing capacities.

Principle 3: Ensure Accountability and Promote Responsibility

We seek ways to be held accountable by the people we serve and partners we work with. We identify individuals and institutions with an obligation toward poor and marginalised people, and support and encourage their efforts to fulfil their responsibilities.

Principle 4: Address Discrimination

In our programmes and in everything we do we address discrimination and the denial of rights based on gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, class, religion, age, physical ability, caste, opinion or sexual orientation.

Principle 5: Seek Sustainable Results

As we address underlying causes of poverty and rights denial, we develop and use approaches that result in lasting and fundamental improvements in the lives of the peoplewe serve, particularly women and girls. We work to influence changes that are environmentally, socially and institutionally sustainable.

Principle 6: Do No Harm

We analyse the intended and unintended impacts of our programmes, encourage honest learning, and take action to prevent and respond to any unintended harms. We place special focus on preventing and addressing gender-based violence in all of our programmes.

We hold ourselves accountable for enacting behaviours consistent with these principles, and ask others to help us do so, not only in our programmes, but in all that we do.

This statement articulates CARE’s commitment to the humanitarian imperative in line with its vision, mission, and program principles.


  1. Responding to humanitarian emergencies is an essential part of CARE’s work to fight poverty and injustice and we recognize that emergencies are a cause and effect of both. CARE helps people cope with crises through disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, preparedness and post-crisis recovery.


  1. The primary objective of humanitarian response is to meet immediate needs of affected populations in the poorest communities in the world. Recognizing that people have the fundamental right to life with dignity, CARE also strives to address the underlying causes of people’s vulnerability.
  2. CARE is a major force in humanitarian response and has a responsibility as a leader in the sector to demonstrate the highest standards of effectiveness and quality.


  1. CARE is a signatory of and holds itself accountable to accepted international humanitarian principles, standards and codes of conduct, including the Red Cross/Crescent & NGO code of conduct, the Sphere standards, and the Core Humanitarian standards.
  2. CARE adheres to the principle of impartiality so that we provide assistance on the basis of need regardless of race, creed or nationality. CARE is committed to addressing the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly women and children and persons with disabilities, in times of crisis.
  3. CARE upholds the principle of working independently of political, commercial, military, or religious objectives and promotes the protection of humanitarian space.


  1. CARE believes that local capacity can provide the most effective response to emergencies. However, by their very nature, emergencies often overwhelm local capacities, and in such situations CARE will respond in an appropriate, timely and effective way.
  2. CARE will respond wherever we can add value by:
    • Providing additional resources
    • Enhancing the quality of response
    • Committing to longer term solutions
    • Building local capacities
  1. We have a range of response options:
    • Providing direct relief
    • Working with and through partners
    • Advocating with national and international bodies
    • Keeping the general public informed
    • Providing technical guidance on building back safer
  1. CARE develops focused expertise both operationally and at the global policy level in certain specific humanitarian areas.
  2. In keeping with our programming principles, CARE develops both local and international partnerships to strengthen local capacities and to add value through collaborative approaches.
  3. CARE brings a longer-term view to its humanitarian work, including supporting people [to] be less vulnerable to disasters in the first place. Where appropriate, our programs link emergency relief, recovery, and long-term development, and include measures for disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

​​​​​​​CARE Vision 2030

Humanitarian Action (SDG 1, 5 & 11)

In the last decade we have seen an increased need for humanitarian action due to disasters, protracted conflict and global pandemics. Climate change, fragile states and the proliferation of viruses will only exacerbate this need in the years to 2030. CARE is a dual-mandated organization: we deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance and adapt our rich development programs for innovation, implementation and scale in fragile and complex contexts to support some of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations. By 2030, 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.

Our 2030 Goal

CARE provides quality, gender-focused and localized humanitarian assistance to 10% of those affected in major crises, reaching at least 50 million people by 2030.

For the full details of the emergency strategy and CARE’s work in the humanitarian sector, see CARE’s Humanitarian Impact Strategy (2021).

CARE is signatory to various standards and commitments related to humanitarian or development work, including: the Charter for Change on localization; the Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS); the Grand Bargain; the Generation Equality Forum (GEF); and the Sphere standards.​​​​​​

5.1 Code of conduct

5.2 International law

5.3 Common humanitarian standards

CI Code and Policies Hub

To access the CI Code and all CI Policies, please see the CI Confederation hub in CARE Shares (internal resource).

Charter for Change

An initiative, led by both National and International NGOs, to practically implement changes to the way the Humanitarian System operates to enable more locally-led response.

The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS)

With our global network of member organisations, we raise the standard of aid by putting people at the centre of humanitarian and development action.

The Grand Bargain

The Grand Bargain is a unique agreement between some of the largest donors and humanitarian organisations who have committed to get more means into the hands of people in need and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the humanitarian action.

Generation Equality Forum (GEF)

eneration Equality Forum, held in 2021, has kickstarted a 5-year journey to accelerate ambitious action and implementation on global gender equality.

The Sphere Standards

The Sphere movement was started in 1997 by a group of humanitarian professionals aiming to improve the quality of humanitarian work during disaster response.