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An Introduction to Gender Equity and Diversity in CARE

CARE’s vision makes fighting discrimination, promoting empowerment and dignity, and respecting human rights central to our work of eliminating poverty. CARE’s work to advance gender equity and diversity (GED) seeks to ensure that we need to uphold these principles both within the organization and within our programs. CARE’s diversity training curriculum aims to build skills within ourselves and within the organization, to deepen our sensitivity to power dynamics, to value differences, and to learn how to utilize the rich diversity within CARE. The ultimate goal is to enhance our effectiveness as a relief and development organization.

How Does CARE Define Diversity?

CARE defines diversity in the broadest sense, going beyond regular classifications of gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age and disability, among others, to include diversity of perspectives that uphold CARE’s core values, and to emphasize the value of creating and maintaining a work environment that promotes diversity. Embracing diversity at CARE means valuing, respecting and fully benefiting from each individual’s unique qualities and abilities in order to fulfill and strengthen our vision and mission.

Why Promote Gender Equity and Diversity?

Our success in advancing quality programming depends on our ability to harness and apply the talents of our staff within an environment of respect, trust, and value for the contribution of all. Understanding and appreciating GED internally is a process to create these conditions.

Our business rationale for GED is as follows:

  • In order to enhance and advance our relief and development work, we need a variety of perspectives to inform relevant and responsible choices about how programs are designed, and how projects are managed and implemented;
  • To increase capacity within the communities in which CARE works, we need to build collaborative relationships and partnerships amongst people with a multiplicity of similarities and differences;
  • CARE’s mission calls for affirming the dignity and worth of all people. This includes, but is not limited to, combating discrimination in all its forms;
  • CARE’s successful future is dependent upon our ability to learn and innovate. Our differences in knowledge, approach and perspective are the source and spring of innovation and learning;
  • CARE promotes diversity because we believe it is the right thing to do and it upholds CARE’s core values of Respect, Integrity, Commitment and Excellence.

What is CARE's Framework for Action?

The GED Task Force, formed in September 1999 and composed of staff from CARE Headquarters and representatives from Country Offices, established a framework for action after an extensive process of gathering input and feedback from staff throughout CARE. The lessons learned and feedback received all suggested that for effective management and advancement of GED within CARE USA, there are four key leverage areas: Representation, Trust, Learning, and Accountability. These areas were selected because they form the building blocks of the types of teams and healthy relationships upon which high-quality organizational performance depends. These areas are inextricably linked and cut across the organization. As such, they are fruitful areas from which to initiate thinking and provide a broad framework in which to embed diversity work.


CARE's GED Training Materials and facilitator's guide are available through the CARE Gender Equality Toolkit Organizational Assessment section in English, French and Spanish. They are also available upon request from Aliya Firozvi (, and on the Village for CARE staff.

Case Study: Gender Equality Orientation for All New Staff

How can I make sure that all new staff receive an orientation to CARE's gender work? This case study featuring CARE Canada's gender equality orientation for new staff answers that question.

1. The gender equality orientation is just one module in the overall employee orientation. Human resources schedules new staff to take the orientation and is responsible for making sure the orientation happens. Because all new staff must take the general orientation, they must take this module.

2. CARE Canada has a set of trained facilitators from all areas of the organization who can deliver the orientation. This means that someone is always available to give the orientation even if the gender advisor is not available. It also means that new staff see people from all areas of the organization speaking confidently and articulately about gender equality.

3. The orientation is simple. It is a half hour to 45 minute conversation that answers three questions:

  • What is gender equality?
  • Why is it important to CARE?
  • How does each unit do its gender work?

The focus is on linking CARE's gender equality vision to the work that new staff will do everyday. Participants are asked to describe examples of four gender equality concepts. They are asked to discuss why gender equality is important to development, and they are shown (with examples) what each unit does. A question and answer session allows new staff to ask questions related to CARE's programming or common gender equality misconceptions.

4. New entrants into the international programs unit only receive a follow up orientation that follows the CARE International Gender Equality Orientation Pack, with emphasis on CARE's gender equality philosophy, strategic documents and frameworks, the Wiki and Toolkit and expectations for them as program managers.

For all of the resources used in CARE Canada's gender equality orientation for new staff, click on the link above.

Resources on Gender Audits and GE Organizational Development

By popular demand, please find the frameworks, methods and tools that CARE Canada used to complete its gender audit and on Minerva (left click once on the link and it will give you the option to visit the Minerva site). A bonus rapid GE organizational assessment tool and supporting practice literature are included in this package. If you can't download anything or don't have access to Minerva, contact Margaret Capelazo at and she will invite you to share the resources through Dropbox.


CARE's GED Strategy

Read CARE's GED Strategy for the period 2010 - 2015:

GED Strategy

Or a two page summary:

Strategy in a Nutshell

It is also available in French, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish:


ged_strategy_arabic.doc strategy_in_a_nutshell_arabic.doc

ged_strategyl_port.doc strategy_in_a_nutshell_port.doc

ged_strategy_final_espaol.doc equidad_de_genero_y_diversidad_en_pocas_palabras.doc

History of GED in CARE


  • CARE develops its Gender Policy that clarifies the rationale, statement of commitment, programming and organizational goals, and includes an implementation plan. One of the three minimum standards defined in the policy is that ‘All CARE USA County Offices will commit to implement this policy and monitor progress.’
  • Several other efforts are launched including development of national staff development policy.


  • CARE recommits itself to a Gender Equity Initiative. This culminates into an extensive Gender audit and Action Plan. A task force is constituted to take the gender initiative forward.


  • Some Country Offices take advantage of the resources made available through the Gender Innovations Funds between 1999-2002 to support their special initiatives to promote Gender Equity.
  • CARE re-dedicates itself to a broader diversity agenda. Gender Equity is expanded to ‘Gender Equity and Diversity’. A new task force representing staff from CARE Headquarters and Country Offices is formed. A separate diversity policy is also developed. CARE defines diversity in the broadest sense, going beyond regular classifications of gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age and disability, among others, to include diversity of perspectives that uphold CARE’s core values, and to emphasize the value of creating and maintaining a work environment that promotes diversity.
  • CARE introduces three paradigms to define its business case for promoting diversity:
    • Discrimination and Fairness – based on recognition that discrimination is wrong and encourages the organization to be fair in advancing its recruitment and retention goals.
    • Access and legitimacy – celebrates differences and judges the value of diversity only based on an organization's effort to match its internal demographics to targeted customers
    • Learning and Effectiveness – proactive about learning about and from diversity- employees are encouraged to tap into differences for creative ideas


  • CARE International adopts a new vision that reinforces the case for promoting GED “We seek a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security. CARE will be a global force and a partner of choice within a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty. We will be known everywhere for our unshakable commitment to the dignity of people.“
  • CARE’s Leadership Conference endorses GED as a priority in the strategic plan.
  • CARE’s adoption of RBA expands and strengthens the case for GED. CARE’s definition of RBA is: An approach that deliberately and explicitly focuses on people achieving the minimum condition for living with dignity (i.e. achieving their human rights). It does so by exposing the roots of vulnerability and marginalization and empowers people to claim their rights and fulfill their responsibilities. The decision was based on the recognition that, after over 50 years of effort, addressing needs and capabilities of poor women and men did not bring about sustainable impact on poverty. CARE recognized that in order to have a sustainable impact, we need to address the underlying causes of poverty (UCP).


  • CARE develops organizational guidelines for undertaking an organizational GED Gap Analysis and all Country Offices and Atlanta divisions were required to complete the analysis. This Gap Analysis Framework reinforces the need for CARE to ensure GED is integral to its culture, systems, procedures and structures and defined four leverage areas for diversity work - Representation, Trust,Learning and Accountability.
  • A global GED change agents workshop is held in Nairobi, Kenya to bring together 50 staff from across CARE to disseminate the gap analysis framework and to share lessons and best practices.

2002 - 2003

  • The GED gap analyses is completed in more than 90% of the Country Offices and actions initiated to address key gaps. CARE’s Headquarters also completes an extensive review of its HR policies and steps up its efforts to integrate GED into HR strategies.
  • CARE International endorses a set of programming principles that reinforce the case for GED
  • Promote empowerment
  • Work with partners
  • Ensure accountability and promote responsibility
  • Address discrimination
  • Promote non violent resolution of conflicts
  • Seek sustainable results
  • CARE USA’s annual allocation process for unrestricted resources (UNR) shifts to require proposals to focus on RBA/GED/ Advocacy.
  • In response to some allegations of Humanitarian Aid Workers sexually abusing beneficiaries, CARE USA launches a global initiative on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse emphasizing CARE’s commitment to prevent harassment and sexual exploitation of staff, partners and communities.
  • A Unifying Framework on Underlying Causes of Poverty is developed that strengthens the convergence between GED, RBA and other efforts to guide programming efforts. This framework underscores the need for working across the domains of human conditions, social positions, and enabling environment in all of our work. Extensive research undertaken during this process identifies Gender Inequity as one of the four critical underlying causes of poverty.

2004 - 2005

  • A global Strategic Impact Inquiry (SII) Initiative is launched and women’s empowerment is selected as the first theme of the global impact inquiry. The SII offers a framework for understanding women’s empowerment and categorizes 23 indicators into three broad areas:
    • Agency: This is driven by the actor-centered notion of “agency,” that is based on the aspirations, resources, and achievements of women themselves.
    • Structures: Refers to the broader social structures that condition women’s choices and chances.
    • Relationships: Refers to the character of the social relationships through which women negotiate their needs and rights with other social actors.
  • A four-part Gender and Diversity curriculum is developed and disseminated.
  • A global survey on Country Office Senior Management Teams and decision-making structures and processes is completed to understand the status of diversity and inclusiveness and to make specific recommendations for improvement.
  • CARE USA constitutes a Program Leadership Team (PLT) to include representation from staff from the different functions and the field.
  • A global GED Change Agents Meeting is organized in Addis Ababa that brings together 48 colleagues from the CARE International world representing five regions. The meeting explored themes of human rights, power, poverty and its relation to GED and implications for CARE’s work.
  • In May 2004, the Mildred Robins Leet Award is presented to CARE by InterAction in recognition of our work to advance gender equity.

2006 - 2007

  • In order to promote greater consistency in measurement and accountability to progress, the PLT has sponsored an initiative to define high-level measures for Program Quality and GED management Effectiveness.
  • GED Benchmarking Study launched with 12 corporate and non-profit organizations participating. This study will inform CARE of our GED performance compared to the other organizations.
  • Seven years after the adoption of RBA, a global mapping and review gauged progress and established the status of implementation of RBA
  • In response to the organizational changes and the findings from the SII on women’s empowerment, a process has been underway to revise and update the Gender Policy. The objective of this revision is to facilitate deeper analysis, understanding and innovation between the diverse contexts in which CARE operates.
  • A number of Working Groups and Advisory groups on RBA, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual and Gender-based Violence are revitalized/constituted to advance specific issues and to promote knowledge sharing and learning.
  • Succession and Talent Management processes being tested and institutionalized to develop all staff and ensure a diverse pool of candidates for key positions in CARE
  • CARE USA’s new strategic planning is underway and offers new opportunities to strengthen the work to promote GED. At its special meeting on strategic planning on April 13, 2007, the CARE USA Board was enthusiastic about the central elements of the emerging strategy. They affirmed the importance of our focus on women and girls; endorsed our efforts to address underlying causes of poverty across the three areas of our Unifying Framework—social positions, human conditions and the enabling environment; and recognized that real impact on poverty will require more long-term programming and, consequently, a quite different way to work and different kinds of funding. The Board urged that, while we focus on women and girls, we remain strong in our connection to communities, who are key to all that we do. They believe that partnership is vital to our ability to strengthen and empower communities. They are also keen for us to strengthen our policy and advocacy influence
based on our programming results, build broader constituencies for our work engaging more creatively in partnerships; and building closer ties to social movements.
In the third global GED conference in Bangkok (May 6-10, 2007), we have gathered here to take stock of what we have achieved so far, and identify the next level of commitment to deepen and advance this work further. This next level of commitment takes us into unexplored but important territory and will require us to define new meanings and pathways for CARE’s GED journey beyond 2007.

2008 - 2010

  • During this period work was carried out to develop a GED strategy for CARE. This was completed in 2010 and covers the period to 2015. It can be read above. While using CARE's framework for action of Representation, Learning, Trust and Accountability; the strategy focuses on the development of leadership, coherence, information and communication.
  • A work plan was developed by a small team of committed individuals ensuring strong linkage between our organizational change work and our programmatic work.

2010 - 2012

  • After two years of implementation of the strategy progress was assessed and further work plan developed.

Country Office Initiatives in GED

Asia Regional Management Unit

CARE Bangladesh

CARE France

CARE India

CARE Nepal

East and Central Africal Regional Management Unit

CARE Burundi

  • The aim of this document is to introduce the reader to a pilot practice within CARE Burundi that focuses on valuing people and their stories of positive change as a means to approach sensitive issues within the communities where CARE works. ‘Dialogue Valorisant (DV),’ as it is called by CARE in Burundi, is a translation of the method called Appreciative Inquiry which was developed by D. Cooper rider from Case Western University of Cleveland, Ohio (refer to Annex 1 Appreciative Inquiry for details). The approach focuses on the positive – both existing and possible, as opposed to the common problem focused analysis that CARE as an organization has been using over the past years. It also emphasizes the fact that change is always happening, and recognizing that positive change is not only the result of project activities, but of a combination of factors influencing people’s lives.”Excerpt from CARE Burundi: Empowering Approaches for understanding Empowerment:

West Africa Regional Management Unit

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