CARE Project Standards
CARE currently operates over 1000 projects worldwide. Each project is designed by a broad team of technical specialists, CARE national staff and field personnel. Progress reports are prepared regularly, and personnel conduct frequent evaluations to identify opportunities for project refinement. Senior accountants within the country office manage operating funds tightly.
In projects that involve CARE’s presence over several years, CARE often makes formal agreements with host governments. International workshops, policy documentation and regional management-unit meetings allow CARE personnel to share lessons learned during the course of a project with other Country Offices.
CARE maintains four key objectives in its project planning:
- Quality programming: meeting the highest possible standards for programming and management.
- Innovation: systematically testing new approaches and different models to improve our work.
- Local capacity building: developing local skills and experience at all levels.
- Cost effectiveness: continually finding ways to cut costs and work efficiently at all levels.
In 2002, CARE thus defined a set of standards for its projects, which should each:
- Be consistent with the CARE International Vision and Mission, Programme Principles and Values.
- Be clearly linked to a Country Office strategy and/or long term programme goals.
- Ensure the active participation and influence of stakeholders in its analysis, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes.
- Have a design that is based on a holistic analysis of the needs and rights of the target population and the underlying causes of their conditions of poverty and social injustice. It should also examine the opportunities and risks inherent in the potential interventions.
- Use a logical framework that explains how the project will contribute to an ultimate impact upon the lives of members of a defined target population.
- Set a significant, yet achievable and measurable final goal.
- Be technically, environmentally, and socially appropriate. Interventions should be based upon best current practice and on an understanding of the social context and the needs, rights and responsibilities of the stakeholders.
- Indicate the appropriateness of project costs, in light of the selected project strategies and expected outputs and outcomes.
Develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation plan and system based on the logical framework that ensures the collection of baseline, monitoring, and final evaluation data, and anticipates how the information will be used for decision making; with a budget that includes adequate amounts for implementing the monitoring and evaluation plan.
- Establish a baseline for measuring change in indicators of impact and effect, by conducting a study or survey prior to implementation of project activities.
- Use indicators that are relevant, measurable, verifiable and reliable.
- Employ a balance of evaluation methodologies, assure an appropriate level of rigor, and adhere to recognized ethical standards.
- Be informed by and contribute to ongoing learning within and outside CARE.