CARE is an international relief and development organisation that operates in more than 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. CARE International?s mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. To fulfil this mission, CARE International pursues four inter-connected lines of activity:
- Development and rehabilitation programming, that addresses the underlying causes of poverty and social injustice.
- Emergency response programming, that provides rapid and effective support to victims of disasters.
- Influencing policy development and implementation at all levels to make significant positive changes in the lives of poor people and communities.
- Building diverse constituencies that support CARE International?s vision and mission in all countries where it works.
Within its natural resources management (NRM) sector CARE has around 35 projects and programmes in 25 different countries, which are focused on promoting sustainable NRM and conservation with social justice and equity. As with other programming sectors, CARE applies a rights-based approach which addresses the underlying causes of poverty, environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity through focusing on issues of governance and underlying power relationships.
CARE has had a long running involvement in great ape conservation and poverty reduction projects in Africa:
- From 1988 to 2002 it ran the Development Through Conservation project, which was an ICDP working in the parishes neighbouring Bwindi Impenetrable NP, home to both mountain gorillas and eastern chimpanzees. Interventions included support for an agricultural programme, the establishment of multiple-use zones within the park, and a resource substitution programme that supported on-farm woodlots to reduce demand for fuelwood and timber from the NP. These interventions had a generally positive impact on relations between local people and the NP, but a relatively limited impact on levels of poverty, mostly due to the scale of poverty in an area that is very densely populated.
- More recently, CARE has established a project called Enterprise, Environment and Equity in the Virunga Landscape of the Great Lakes Region (EEEGL). The project seeks to link the conservation of protected areas with the development of the neighbouring rural region. This link is based on the economic benefits of protected areas (sustainable management of natural resources and tourism). It also seeks to link conservation (within and outside protected areas) to mainstream development processes, such as local and regional level development planning, regional transboundary collaboration, development of agriculture market linkages and the growth of the role of civil society in each country.
- CARE Programming in Uganda targets vulnerable communities such as the extreme poor, internally displaced people, and women and children to provide assistance and opportunities for sustainable development. CARE addresses the underlying causes of poverty through its varied interventions.