COVID-19 Global Response

Photo: Andy Abad and his partner Alexandra Benavides started their own business selling humitas after losing work due to the COVID-19 crisis, which was supported by CARE Ecuador. 

CARE’s Global Response to COVID-19 around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic affects us all. However, for communities already facing extreme poverty, deadly conflict and the impact of the climate crisis, the pandemic has devastating consequences. To ensure no one gets left behind, CARE works with the most vulnerable communities, focusing on women and girls, to ensure everyone is safe and healthy. No one is safe unless everyone is safe.

In places where healthcare systems are unstable and limited, coronavirus prevention measures, such as handwashing, is lifesaving. For this reason, we provide training for health workers and strengthen our hygiene measures. CARE distributes drinking water and food that can be stored in stock, as well as medication, disinfectants and medical protective equipment.

CARE has established emergency aid plans in 75 of 100 countries of operation, and relief measures have already started in many countries. We’ve had to transform our responses, too. This isn’t just a health pandemic—it’s a global crisis on every dimension. So how are we stepping up to meet the challenge? How are we changing to better serve the people who need it most? How have we grown our COVID-19 response faster than any programming CARE has ever had—to reach nearly 12 million people?


What are we doing?

  • We’re reaching 31 times more people. From 380,000 people reached on March 20, CARE is now reaching 11.7 million. We’re also responding to COVID-19 in more countries, from 55 in March to 67 today. That includes domestic responses in the United States, where we’ve launched a CARE package, and the first-ever US focused RGA.
  • We’re responding to the whole crisis—not just the basics. In March, 66% of our response was directed to water, handwashing, and hygiene messages. Now, that number is 25%. We’re using more resources to help people get access to health care (56% of response), respond to food crisis (10% of response), and get Gender Based Violence services (7% of response).
  • We’re working to end GBV. Now, 89% of CARE’s responses are focusing on gender based violence, compared to 35% in March.
  • We’re influencing others. In March, only 21 country offices were advocating for change with national and global leaders. Now, 33 countries have advocacy efforts in place, especially around Rapid Gender Analysis. The Secretary General of the United Nations read the global RGA. The government of Malawi asked CARE to write a Malawi-specific RGA after seeing the findings of the global RGA. The African Development Bank is reading regional RGAs as part of their attempts to create a gendered response to COVID-19.
  • We offer participants more flexibility. At the beginning of COVID, only 17 offices were doing cash-based response, compared to 33 countries now. This allows more than 300,000 people to pick what they need most to respond to COVID-19, instead of CARE choosing for them.


How are we doing it?

  • We’re adapting more programs. By March 20, 31 CARE country offices had started adapting their programs to COVID-19’s realities. In July, 67 countries have adapted some or all of their work to respond to crisis.
  • We’re better informed—especially about gender. In March, we had yet to complete any RGAs, and as of July 13, we’ve published 28. At the beginning, we only collected data in 26 countries (and sex disaggregated data in only 19). Now, we’re collecting data in 59 countries, and 54 of them can separate out data for women specifically. So far, we’ve spoken to more than 6,500 people about what they need.
  • We’re a little more mobile. In March, 17 country offices were completely confined and couldn’t deliver response. Now, only 9 offices are so highly restricted, and 58 countries are able to do at least some of their work.
  • We’re partnering more effectively. 56% of CARE’s country offices are partnering with women’s rights organizations—something we weren’t even measuring at the beginning of the project.
  • We’re raising money for people who need it most. So far, CARE has raised more than $72 million in new money, and reallocated nearly $37 million of our existing budgets to COVID-19 response.


Photo: CARE staff members from Raks Thai distributing food boxes in Thailand. 

Asia and Pacific

Through SMS text campaigns, CARE India reaches millions of people across the country, providing education and awareness on COVID-19 prevention. To reach students in remote Indigenous areas, CARE Cambodia is conducting radio programs. CARE Indonesia is working to provide support for 100 female garment workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Entrepreneurs who are supported by CARE Chrysalis in Sri Lanka, are involved in the COVID-19 response creating PPE equipment for frontline workers. In one of the world's largest refugee camps, Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, CARE supplies health centres and starts large education, water and hygiene programs. For internally displaced people in Marwari, CARE Philippines is providing psychosocial support together with the distribution of relief goods.


East, Central and Southern Africa

In Burundi, CARE is working with VSLA women’s groups and Youth groups to disseminate information about COVID-19 prevention. Through Facebook, CARE is disseminating health care and protection messages in three languages to reach audiences in Ethiopia. In Rwanda and Somalia, CARE is using TV and radio campaigns to raise COVID-19 prevention awareness. To protect refugees at risk, CARE has set up quarantine facilities for three refugee camps in Kenya and is still responding in Dadaab camp. CARE Malawi is working with the government to adapt CARE's approach to Rapid Gender Analysis to respond to the specific needs of women and girls in the country. During food distribution in Zimbabwe, CARE has managed to set up hand washing facilities in the form of Tippy-Taps and screening is being done by Health Staff. In South Sudan, CARE is part of the government's COVID-19 task force, advising and supporting the establishment of life-saving preventive measures.


Photo: CARE's VSLA group in Niger work together to produce peanut oil but COVID-19 has had major economic impact. Ollivier Girard/CARE. 

West Africa 

In Burkina Faso, CARE is conducting trainings for community-based health works, distributing PPE equipment and hygiene kits to vulnerable communities. In Nigeria, CARE’s VSLA groups innovate improvised makeshift handwashing stations using empty bottles which they filled with water and soap which was attached/hung to a wooden stand/frame. CARE’s radio programme in Ghana that was targeted towards farmers, is now being used for COVID-19 information dissemination in two local languages. In Sierra Leone, CARE supports the national and district level health authorities in conducting a comprehensive and effective response to COVID-19.


Photo: CARE Honduras' Covid-19 emergency distribution to families living in poverty in the municipality of Villanueva, Honduras. DANIEL ROMANA/CARE

Latin America, the Caribbean and North America

In Peru, CARE distributes hot meals to the population, as well as to Venezuelan refugees, so that they are cared for during the quarantine period. The LGTBQ population is also supported as it belongs to one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. In Haiti, additional meal vouchers are distributed to poorer households that are self-isolating. CARE Ecuador is providing virtual psychosocial support and accompaniment to households affected by COVID-19. CARE Colombia works together with local partners to support Venezuelan refugees and migrants, facing issues of violence, hunger and homelessness.  


Photo: Cholera and COVID 19 prevention and safe hygiene promotion awareness in Taiz, Yemen. Sarah Alabsie/CARE

The Middle East and Caucasus

In Syria, CARE maintains a hospital and numerous outpatient clinics, and helps with protective, disinfection and medical materials and supports refugees. In the Palestinian Territories, CARE improves the basic care of health centres, including protective clothing, and trains medical personnel. In densely populated areas such as refugee camps, CARE is working to build additional accommodation so that quarantine and distance regulations can be observed. It is also important here that access to clean water and handwashing stations is established. CARE Egypt is playing the coordination role in a GBV Committee established by the National Council for Women. 

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