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CARE International’s Humanitarian Mandate is to meet immediate needs of disaster-affected populations in the poorest communities in the world in a way that also addresses the underlying causes of people’s vulnerability. Our mandate calls on CARE staff to demonstrate the highest standards of quality and accountability.

The CARE International Humanitarian Accountability Framework (HAF) is a statement of CARE’s commitment to accountability at all stages of emergency preparedness and response.

CARE’s own principles and standards are intentionally aligned with those of many other humanitarian agencies, including Sphere minimum standards, Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) and the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief.

CARE International is a signatory to internationally accepted humanitarian standards and codes of conduct, in particular:

The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief (1994)

• the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability which sets out Nine Commitments that the humanitarian sector can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of disaster assistance. (2014)

CARE International engages in the following platforms to improve humanitarian policies and actions:

• The Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS) Alliance formed in 2015 by the merger of HAP International and People In Aid, leads and facilitates the development, promotion and maintenance of the CHS. As a member of the CHS Alliance, CARE takes leadership in establishing functional accountability mechanisms for crisis affected people in general and women and girls in particular. CARE is dedicated to aligning its own Humanitarian Accountability Framework to the CHS principles.

• The Sphere Project is based on two core beliefs: Firstly, that all possible steps should be taken to alleviate human suffering arising out of calamity and conflict and secondly, that those affected by disaster have the right to a life with dignity and therefore a right to assistance. (Note: Since 2015, the Core Humanitarian Standard has replaced the Sphere Project Core Standards.)

Charter4Change: An initiative led by both national and international NGOs to practically implement changes to the way the humanitarian system operates to enable a more locally-led response.


Central to these standards is a commitment that humanitarian agencies should be directly accountable for the quality of their work by making certain that those affected by emergencies really do have a say in planning, implementing and judging our response. To ensure this is happening and improve our performance by learning, CARE measures outcomes and changes that take place in people’s lives as a result of our work through a series of monitoring activities, after „Action Reviews“ and external evaluations. CARE’s Evaluation Policy is one way of ensuring transparency, as this requires that terms of reference, findings, lessons learned and recommendations of external evaluations of humanitarian action are placed in the public domain. All of CARE’s external evaluation reports can be seen at the CARE Evaluations e-Library.

Partners for humanitarian standards, accountability and learning
In keeping with our programming principles, CARE places considerable emphasis on working with partners in an effort to improve quality and accountability. CARE is an active member of several humanitarian accountability networks, many of which were established in the wake of lessons learned from the Rwanda genocide.

These different initiatives share a common goal that is to improve accountability, quality and performance in humanitarian action. All the initiatives are governed, managed and supported by humanitarian agencies and individuals. Some of the key networks where CARE is involved are listed below:

The Sphere Project
Launched in 1997 by a group of humanitarian NGOs and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, Sphere is based on two core beliefs: 1) all possible steps should be taken to alleviate human suffering arising out of calamity and conflict; 2) those affected by disaster have a right to life with dignity and therefore a right to assistance. The project has developed several key tools, including a handbook and an associated training pack.

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership – International (HAP-I)
The creation of HAP-I in 2003 followed many years of consultation, research and negotiation within the humanitarian community. HAP-I members share a commitment to making humanitarian action accountable to its intended beneficiaries by following specific „Principles of Accountability“. HAP members seek to comply with and promote these principles through capacity-building, self-regulation, quality assurance certification and advocacy.

Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP)
ALNAP was established in 1997 and is dedicated to improving humanitarian performance through increased learning and accountability. Network members include agencies and experts from across the humanitarian spectrum, including donors, NGOs, Red Cross/Crescent, UN and independent/academic organizations. ALNAP is dedicated to improving the quality and accountability of humanitarian action, by sharing lessons; identifying common problems; and where appropriate, building consensus on approaches.

Core Humanitarian Standards
The aim of this website is to highlight the key standards and guidance, and encourage those engaged in humanitarian response to incorporate them into their work.

Those organisations with humanitarian standards listed on the website aim to support the humanitarian system in providing accountable programming that meets accepted standards of quality, both in the immediate humanitarian response, and in the development and implementation of organisational and operational strategies for short and long-term recovery and the prevention of future crises.

The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) sets out Nine Commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide. This single core standard has been devised to clarify the responsibilities of aid workers, make the implementation of humanitarian standards simpler and easier, and contribute to better humanitarian responses. A coherent and easy-to-use standard is more likely to be put into practice and make a difference in the lives of crisis-affected communities.

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), the Sphere Project and People In Aid, supported by the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP) offer this initiative in order to bring about greater coherence amongst standards, thus strengthening aid workers‘ ability to put these standards into practice.

Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB)
The Emergency Capacity Building Project is a collaborative effort of seven humanitarian agencies that are jointly tackling common problems in emergency response and preparedness. Since 2005, these agencies and their strategic partners have been addressing issues pertaining to staff capacity, accountability (primarily to affected populations), impact measurement, risk reduction, and the use of information and technology in emergencies.

The ECB Database Pilot Project is an initiative of the Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) Project, a collaborative effort of the seven agencies of the Inter-agency Working Group on Emergency Capacity (IWG).

The Good Enough Guide – Impact Measurement and Accountability in Emergencies

What difference are we making? How do we know?

The Good Enough Guide helps busy field workers to address these questions. It offers a set of basic guidelines on how to be accountable to local people and measure programme impact in emergency situations. Its ‚good enough‘ approach emphasises simple and practical solutions and encourages the user to choose tools that are safe, quick, and easy to implement. It is aimed at humanitarian practitioners, project officers and managers with some experience in the field, and draws on the work of field staff, NGOs, and inter-agency initiatives, including Sphere, ALNAP, HAP International, and People In Aid. The Good Enough Guide was developed by the Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB).

Accountability and HIV/AIDS
CARE International is signatory to the Code of Good Practice for NGO’s involved in responding to HIV/AIDS. The Code draws on the success of initiatives such as the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Relief; The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief and The People In Aid Code of Good Practice in the Management and Support of Aid Personnel. The Code aims to build wider commitment to principles and practices, informed by evidence, that underscore successful NGO responses to HIV/AIDS.

CARE Österreich Anti-Corruption Policy 2009
CARE Österreich and those who work for or on behalf of CARE Österreich (personnel), either paid (employees, consultants) or on a voluntary basis (board members, interns), are bound by values of integrity, responsibility and accountability, and we do not tolerate bribery and corruption. Our internal and external stakeholders have a right to expect that we conduct all our activities to the highest ethical standards.

This Policy is an integral part of CARE Österreich’s Quality and Accountability Framework.

Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Operations
Transparency International’s new handbook is a user-friendly tool which provides concrete recommendations on how to reduce corruption risks in humanitarian operations. CARE International is among six other major international aid agencies which contributed to the development of this handbook.

People in Aid – People In Aid is an international network of development and humanitarian assistance agencies. People In Aid helps organisations whose goal is the relief of poverty and suffering to enhance the impact they make through better people management and support.

One World Trust Accountability Model – Global Accountability Project (GAP) – The One World Trust promotes education, training and research into the changes required within global organisations in order to make them answerable to the people they affect and ensure that international laws are strengthened and applied equally to all.