Our impact

Ernawati from Indonesia with the family survival kit she received from CARE after the Indian Ocean tsunami

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In 2020*, CARE directly reached 92.3 million people (73% of them women and girls) through 1,349 humanitarian and development projects and initiatives.

* financial year 2019-20 (July 2019 to end June 2020)

We measure our reach based on the number of participants in our projects and initiatives. These are people who are directly affected by the problem(s) that a CARE project seeks to address, and who are directly involved and actively engaged in project activities or are receiving services/goods/resources from CARE or through a CARE partner organisation.

Find out how:

By the end of financial year 2020, we had obtained evidence of impact in reducing poverty and social injustice for 157 million people (63% of them women and girls).

This is a cumulative figure based on impact evidence gathered over the period covered by our 2015-20 programme strategy from 1,300 projects and initiatives in 85 countries. This means we have exceeded by 5% our impact target of 150 million people by the end of 2020.

The total also includes evidence of impacts for 65.5 million people through our global advocacy and influencing initiatives. Future potential impacts from advocacy successes, that could be realised over the coming years as policy changes and other advocacy successes are implemented, could lead to impacts for many more than those for whom we can show change over the 2015-20 period.

CARE advocacy impact graphic
Graphic showing potential future impact of CARE and partners’ advocacy and influencing in our 5 outcome areas

We are continuing to improve the way we gather and analyse impact data, so that we can learn from our most transformational projects and initiatives in order to improve the quality and increase the impact of our life-saving and poverty-fighting work around the world.

We recognise that in addition to CARE and the partners we work with, there are always many other stakeholders (communities, governments, civil society groups, private sector, etc) contributing to change in the dynamic and complex contexts in which we work. So, when talking about our impact, we are not claiming that CARE’s work alone led to any given change; we are referring to our contribution to change.

Our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our largest impacts are in SDGs 1 (ending poverty and saving lives), 17 (partnerships), 3 (health), 2 (hunger), 8 (sustainable growth), and 5 (gender equality), and to a lesser extent on SDGs 13 (climate) and 16 (governance). We now also have more significant evidence of impacts on SDGs 6 (water, sanitation, hygiene) and 4 (education), as well as on SDG 10 (inequalities) where we have evidence of impacts on the poorest 40% of the population.

In 2020, CARE worked in 104 countries.

This includes 89 countries where CARE delivered or supported humanitarian and/or development projects and initiatives. It also includes CARE member countries (like CARE International UK) and affiliate offices which raise funds for CARE's work, provide technical support and guidance for our humanitarian and development programmes, and carry out advocacy, campaigning and other activities to tackle global poverty. Find out more on our countries page.

How are we doing on our 2015-2020 Programme Strategy outcome areas?

Our reach

Below are the number of people we directly reached in 2020 in each of our outcome areas (figures add up to more than the total 92.3 million people reached, because some people participated in more than one project):

  • Humanitarian response: we reached 28.8 million disaster or crisis-affected people with life-saving humanitarian assistance, through 683 projects/initiatives
  • Sexual, reproductive and maternal health and rights: we reached 33.8 million people with activities and services to support women's rights to sexual, reproductive and maternal health, through 176 projects/initiatives
  • A life free from violence: we reached 2.4 million people through 329 projects/initiatives to support women and girls’ rights to a life free from violence
  • Food and nutrition security and resilience to climate change: we reached 22.6 million people to support their food and nutrition security and resilience to climate change, through 629 projects/initiatives
  • Women’s economic empowerment: we reached 2.6 million women and girls to promote their access to and control of economic resources, through 442 projects/initiatives

CARE promotes sustainable development by tackling the range of inequalities, injustices and lack of opportunity that keeps people locked in poverty. This means that some projects and initiatives work with people across more than one outcome area. Adding together the figures for each outcome area would involve some double counting, and therefore gives a bigger figure than the total number of individual people reached by our work.

Our impact

By the end of financial year 2020, we had evidence of cumulative impact in reducing poverty and social injustice for people in each of the outcome areas in our 2015-20 programme strategy, as follows:

  • Humanitarian response: 70.5 million people
  • Sexual, reproductive and maternal health and rights: 35.5 million people
  • A life free from violence: 2.3 million people
  • Food and nutrition security and resilience to climate change: 49 million people
  • Women’s economic empowerment: 14.4 million people

Strengthening gender equality and women’s voice

In 2020, 17% of our projects and initiatives were gender transformative – meaning they contributed to a lasting change in the power and choices women and girls have over their own lives, rather than just a temporary increase in opportunities. A further 16% were gender responsive – meaning they challenged inequitable gender structures, systems, norms, and power relations. A further 47% of our projects and initiatives were gender sensitive – meaning they identified and addressed the different needs of people based on their gender, but did not challenge the root causes of gender inequality.

13% of our projects and initiatives were fully focused on addressing gender-based violence, while a further 48% mainstreamed GBV in other project activities.

Promoting dialogue and inclusive governance

In 2020, 11% of our projects and initiatives were transformative for inclusive governance – meaning they contributed to a lasting change in underlying power dynamics. A further 11% were responsive – meaning they actively challenged underlying power dynamics. A further 61% worked to make existing institutions and power relations more inclusive.

Activities to strengthen civil society were included in 45% of projects and initiatives; civil society strengthening was an explicit objective in 26% of projects.

Increasing resilience

In 2020, 70% of our projects and initiatives included actions to build resilience to shocks and setbacks.

45% of projects fully or partially addressed vulnerability caused by climate change.

Multiplying impact

  • 39% of our projects and initiatives promoted innovative approaches to tackling poverty and social injustice.
  • 44% of our projects and initiatives carried out advocacy for pro-poor policy change.
  • Partners implemented all activities in 22% of projects, most activities in 19% of projects, and some activities in 19% of projects.
  • 30% of our projects and initiatives linked and worked with others to scale up proven solutions, and in a further 7% we scaled up solutions ourselves.