CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide

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CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide
CARE: Lasting Support for Refugees Worldwide


When CARE developed our 2020 Program Strategy, aligning our measurement system with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seemed an obvious choice; as the SDGs represent a collective, global commitment to a transformed world, it is only right that an organization like CARE also show how its work contributes to these shared goals toward this collective vision.

In this report, we account for the contributions CARE and our partners have made to these global goals, drawing on evaluations, learning summaries or periodic outcome reports from over 1,300 projects and advocacy/ influencing initiatives, from 2015 to 2020. We use the word “contributions” deliberately: in all our work, change happens through the combined efforts of many different actors, including civil society and movements, governments, and the private sector. Our programs are just some of the contributing factors that lead to these impacts and outcomes. The report also highlights what we have learned over the last six years, and the areas we need to focus on and improve over the next 10 years of the SDG period, to 2030.


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One year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, CARE wants to recognize committed supporters like you who helped CARE respond with speed and agility to the worst public health crisis of our generation.

Your contributions have made the largest emergency response effort in CARE’s history possible, helping us to reach more than 30 million individuals across 69 countries with lifesaving supplies and information, and to build a better, safer future for women, girls, and their communities.

The Crisis Response Campaign has raised $60 million toward our goal of $100
million to save and protect lives, build resilient communities, and innovate for the
future. This report highlights key impacts we’ve made with your help, including our
COVID-19 response. We cannot thank you enough for supporting this critical work.

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While everyone around the world struggles to cope with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, the risks are heightened for the world’s approximately 71 million people who are forcibly displaced.

According to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 134 refugee-hosting countries are reporting local transmission of COVID-19. Refugee camps and settlements are typically overcrowded, and refugees commonly lack access to water and hygiene supplies and facilities, which may cause the virus to spread.

A CARE analysis shows that women in countries experiencing war, poverty and instability are at an even greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gender-based violence increases, and women are forced to eat less or last, among other issues. Despite these factors, less than 1% of global humanitarian funding is spent on sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response activities.

CARE, which centers women and girls in its humanitarian response, is continuing to provide services and emergency support to displaced populations around the world.

“There is no shortcut here” says Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General, CARE International. “If we don’t act fast, millions of highly vulnerable men, women and children in high-risk countries will be left to battle this pandemic alone.”

Due to political turmoil in Venezuela and the subsequent economic crisis, approximately 5 million refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela since 2016. In Ecuador, one of the countries worst hit by COVID-19 in the region, the situation is so dire that many migrants who initially fled to the country for safety and opportunity, are now leaving. Many are no longer able to work informally and face serious challenges without proper access to healthcare or other services due to their migratory status. Venezuela is experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with crumbling public services and widespread malnutrition due to food shortages.

In Ecuador, CARE is distributing cash, food, medicine and other supplies to marginalized groups including Venezuelan refugees and migrants, sex workers, and people living with HIV/AIDS.

A group of Venezuelan migrants gather in a shelter in Quito, Ecuador, while a child plays nearby with blocks. They have been in isolation together for more than three weeks and are waiting for Venezuela to lift its suspension of evacuation flights so that they can return home.


Children in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, home to the world’s largest refugee camp, participate in a CARE workshop on coughing and sneeze etiquette.


Nearly one million Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since 2017 after violence escalated in Myanmar, with most fleeing to Cox’s Bazaar.


The camps, which house approximately 855,000 refugees, and are nearly four times as dense as New York City and eight times that of Wuhan, China, making social distancing practically impossible.

Girls participate in a drawing session at the Women and Girls’ safe space in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, Bangladesh, while maintaining social distance. The majority of refugees in Cox’s Bazar — approximately 459,000 — is children. About 51% are women and girls.

Deepmala Mahla, CARE’s Regional Director for Asia, explains the importance of interventions that support women and children: “The household burden is shared more by women and girls, so when people are not able to go out, the burden on the family to earn a livelihood is bigger. Who sacrifices the meal first? Women and girls.”

A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) provides treatment to a patient in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Health services are limited and there are no intensive care beds in the camp.

Conditions of the camp, including its density and a lack of access to water, soap, and other hygiene supplies, are particularly concerning during the coronavirus pandemic. Cox’s Bazar has been under a lockdown since March, but the virus was detected in the camps in May. As of June 15, there were 38 positive COVID-19 cases and two deaths in the camp.

As of June 11, Yemen counted 595 cases of COVID-19 and 137 deaths. After more than five years of brutal war, self-isolation, disease, displacement, movement restrictions, and loss of economic opportunity are all too familiar to Yemenis. An estimated 24 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance inside Yemen, and as COVID-19 threatens this especially vulnerable population, the country is simultaneously battling a cholera epidemic that counted more than 87,000 suspected cases in the first three months of 2020.


Women line up to have their temperature checked while maintaining social distance in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex. The camps in Dadaab are home to over 230,000 refugees.


During COVID-19, CARE has expanded its work in the camps to include teaching safe hygiene and sanitation practices, distributing soap, repairing broken water pipes and pumps, and constructing new bathrooms and handwashing stations.


The camps recorded their first positive coronavirus cases in May. Isolation facilities have been set up in the camps, but the UN refugee agency says they are not sufficient to provide adequate care in the event of an outbreak.

Refugees, carrying their few remaining possessions, wait in the transportation area of the Imvepi Refugee Settlement in Uganda in 2019.

Uganda, which is widely praised for its progressive policies on refugees, hosts refugees in settlements, rather than refugee camps, and provides refugees with plots of land for agricultural use in order to support self-reliance.

Currently Uganda has closed its borders, meaning refugees can no longer arrive in the country.

“We only hope that the borders will open for refugees as soon as possible, and we can screen and isolate them as a precaution. We also hope in the meantime that their human rights will be respected, and they will be treated with dignity. This is uncharted territory for us all,” says CARE Uganda’s country director Apollo Gabazira.

COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat to the world’s most vulnerable people, including displaced women and girls.

See some of their stories and Fight With CARE by signing the petition to prioritize the most vulnerable in a global COVID-19 response.




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Credit: Tapash Paul/CARE
Credit: Tapash Paul/CARE

The global death toll from the coronavirus has crossed 800,000 as confirmed cases surged past 23 million, with Bangladesh overtaking Pakistan to become 15th on the list of countries with most COVID-19 patients. While the country has crossed a grim milestone, there are so far fewer causalities in the densely-populated Rohingya camps that have been and still are considered one of the most vulnerable places to the ongoing pandemic. 

As of now, COVID-19 situation across the camps has been tackled somewhat successfully. However, the apparent success in keeping the virus away should not hide the fact that the risks of a COVID-19 outbreak in the camps remain very high. Despite taking all the preventative measures, it cannot fully alleviate the very difficult conditions continually present in the camps. 

Coordinated approach by the Bangladesh Government, UN organizations and NGOs including CARE has yielded results. CARE is currently responsible for co-managing three camps (Camp 13, 14 & 16) under the supervision of Camp-in-Charge (CIC) appointed by the Government.  

As an early responder, CARE intervened to ensure that the Rohingya population and the host community members have access to life saving and essential services to fight COVID-19. CARE continued with the services e.g. related to health, water and sanitation, and Gender Based Violence where community engagement sessions were also organized to sensitize women, girls, men and boys as well as community level actors to create awareness on prevention and control methods for COVID-19. Staff and community volunteers are being trained on infection prevention and control (IPC) to strengthen knowledge and skills on safe delivery of response package at all levels.

Along with COVID-19 response from March 2020, CARE has implemented a number of programs to reach 334,227 people in the past three yearsCARE especially targeted the most vulnerable groups like elderly, unwell, care-givers and people with disability for offering life-saving servicesWhile establishing over 1,000 gender-segregated latrines in camps, a total of 91 accessible latrines were constructed for families with persons with disabilityPreviously, the latrine I had to use was 20 feet away from my house. I used to face a lot of difficulties then”- shared Bashir who is 17 and visually impaired.  

Apart from working with health, water, sanitation, protection and gender-based violence issues, CARE has also worked on nutrition issues extensively. CARE provided training and capacity building support to 11 partner organizationresponsible for implementing community based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM). Over 2000 staff members from these agencies were trained to provide CMAM services across 29 out of 34 Rohingya camps  

However, COVID-19 threatens to roll back gains made on nutrition in the camps as access to food supplies, income and diverse diets become more limited. According to Nutrition Sector1, progress has been made since the onset of the crisis in August 2017, when over 700,000 Rohingya people fled from Myanmar seeking shelter and safety in Bangladesh. Global acute malnutrition among children under five has reduced from 19.3 percent in 2017 to 10.9 per cent in 2019. It is evident that COVID-19 compromises the fragile gains made over the past three years. 

Aside from COVID-19, people living in the camps also face the threat of cyclone and landslide during the monsoon period; usually between June and October. The conditions in the camps have made Rohingya communities at particular risk of disasters. The strain on services, infrastructures and the environment from the influx has also increased the vulnerability. The exposure of these communities to extreme weather events would exacerbate already existing needs and vulnerabilities, especially for the most marginalized, including women and girls, persons with disabilities, elderly persons and children. 

“Close to a million Rohingya refugees are living in highly overcrowded camps in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. So far with the collective effort of all humanitarian agencies and the government we have been able to limit the spread of COVID-19 successfully. However, the risk still remains and we need to keep working with the communities on food and nutrition security, creating health awareness while reinforcing our disaster preparedness activity”- said Ram Das, Deputy Country Director – Humanitarian Response of CARE Bangladesh. 


About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year CARE worked in 100 countries and reached more than 50 million people around the world. To learn more, visit and 



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Photo by Josh Estey/CARE
Photo by Josh Estey/CARE

World Refugee 2020 sees funding for refugee response plans at an all-time low. Despite the added threat of COVID-19 across all refugee hosting countries, international financial support is significantly lower than this time last year. 

The total amount required to respond to the 6 regional refugee response plans globally represents only 11% of what experts estimate as the volume of international arms trade per year, while the amount received as of June this year represents a mere 1% of that. 

“Now, more than ever, when global solidarity is the only solution to Covid-19, CARE calls on donors and States to share responsibility for the burden of hosting refugees.  Although the percentage has declined in the last two decades, Low Income Countries continue to host the majority of refugees, says Delphine Pinault, CARE International Humanitarian Policy Advocacy Coordinator.    

As of the middle of June 2020 a total of $1.12 billion has been received out of a required $10.86 billion (10.3%) to support joined up regional responses to some of the biggest refugee crises around the world.  “While we are seeing a pattern of needs and required funding increasing year on year, the percentage of funding actually received has dropped year on year” says Emma Naylor-Ngugi CARE Regional Director for East, Central and West Africa. 

Funding is critically needed to support refugee protection, self-reliance and innovation. Across the globe, from Jordan to Uganda to Ecuador, refugees are involved in wide range of self-initiated, small scale projects to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak. All this stands at risk of being lost if more and immediate funding is not committed to support refugee communities. 

Nirvana Shawky, CARE’s Regional Director for MENA says: Despite being amongst the most at risk of exploitation, violence, and poverty, we see women refugees making extraordinary contributions to the societies in which they live. On the front line of the COVID-19 response, experienced doctors and nurses are providing their services as volunteers, and community workers are raising awareness about the pandemic through phone services. Whether they are Syrian, Sudanese, Palestinian, Iraqi or Yemeni, we are inspired every day by refugees across the region showing resilience, overcoming challenges in their daily lives, and giving back to their hosting communities. 

The resourcefulness, self-reliance and proactive response by refugees to support their own communities and find solutions in the face of COVID-19 is mirrored across the globe. 

In East Central and Southern Africa, Naylor-Ngugi continues: Refugees in our region have adapted in incredible ways to fight the adverse effects of this pandemic. In Uganda for example, we have seen women start making masks and supporting the prevention of COVID-19 in their communities. But the stark reality is that this time next year, more gaps in life saving services will need to be filled by refugees themselves and the solidarity to their often very poor hosts, potentially exceeding their capacity to cope, because there is no money. 

While in Asia, Gareth Mace, CARE’s Deputy Regional Director- Program Quality, notes; “while many people may think of refugees as passive recipients of support or assistance, CARE knows well that this often does not fit the reality. In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, we are working with and alongside Rohingya community volunteers – many of whom are women - who are taking the lead on important responsibilities like awareness raising on COVID-19 and ensuring social distancing during distributions.” 

Of the 6 current regional or joint refugee response plans, four are under 10funded, with the appeal for the Democratic Republic of Congo refugee crisis just over 3funded, despite being 6 months into the year. The South Sudan regional refugee response plan has received 5 times less funding than this time last year. These 6 response plans cover around 1/4 of the over 79.5 million people displaced at the end of 2019. 

Claudine Awute CARE Regional Director for West Africa says; “refugees have little choice but to live in camps or with host communities - it is not uncommon for 20 people or more having to share a space normally suitable for five. On top of this, they are being asked to take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19. If they can't afford the bare minimum, and are forced to live in places where space is at a premium, how can they really protect themselves against this pandemic?" 

According to Tatiana Bertolucci, CARE Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean; “Venezuelan refugees have responded with resilience and amazing innovative thinking, contributing to their communities. Anibal comes to mind - a Venezuelan in Ecuador who despite the pandemic did not lose hope to train and become a barber. He speaks eagerly about his plans, and never lets the setbacks in life get to him. Like Anibal, let’s not forget the contribution to our society refugees bring and our duty to protect them.”


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Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CARE
Project Leader:
Maggie Malloy
Atlanta, GA United States
$3,169 raised of $100,000 goal
64 donations
$96,831 to go
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