Development Blog

Today, ministers and senior diplomats from around the world meet with the UN, EU and states involved in the Syrian conflict for a high-level Conference (5 April) to identify ways forward on the crisis. This happens as news from Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib in Syria suggests that an aerial bombardment using chemical weapons has left over 50 dead, and the situation escalates across multiple besieged areas across the country. At the top of the agenda is the question of ‘reconstruction’ – yet what does ‘reconstruction’ mean in a country still at war?

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A man and boy carrying emergency shelter materials across bombed out rubble in southern Syria (2016) A man and boy carrying emergency shelter materials across bombed out rubble in southern Syria (2016)

Demand for financial services from low-income groups is at an all-time high. Some of that demand is by informal savings and loans groups – including CARE’s 5 million Village Savings and Loan Association members – who want access to quality group bank accounts and mobile-based solutions. East Africa is leading the world in setting up informal savings groups and linking them to formal financial services. The recent East Africa Linkage Summit provided exactly the kinds of insights that other regions can learn from to scale up financial inclusion in 2017.

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CARE VSLA member in rural western Kenya making a transaction using the Kenya Equitel mobile app CARE VSLA member in rural western Kenya making a transaction using the Kenya Equitel mobile app

The plight of refugee women both in Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region has been largely ignored, characterised by a lack of information and lost in the broader sweep of the humanitarian disaster. This won’t be the first time in history women’s issues were side-lined in light of a bigger cause.

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Refugees in a temporary camp in Adasevci, Serbia, prepare to eat a meal provided by CARE’s partner organisation NSHC Refugees in a temporary camp in Adasevci, Serbia, prepare to eat a meal provided by CARE’s partner organisation NSHC

Reyna Araceli Reyes Sorto, age 44, lives in Villanueva Cortes in Honduras. When she was a child she dreamed of being a doctor yet because of economic hardship and lack of access to higher education, she was unable fulfil her dream. Until recently, she never thought a woman of her age could have the opportunity to have a job, to own a business, or to be engaged in any income generation activities; she believed only her husband could generate income. Then she joined a Rural Savings and Credit Union.

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Reyna Araceli Reyes Sorto standing in a field of maize Reyna Araceli Reyes Sorto standing in a field of maize

Payment upon demonstrating a set of agreed results is an emerging contractual modality that many donors are choosing to pursue. DFID together with USAID are leading this discourse and applying this funding approach to an increasing number of thematic areas, especially in health and education. So what does putting evidence at the centre of payment mechanisms mean for monitoring, evaluation and learning?

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CARE staff interviewing a recipient to ensure transparency in distributing cash payments to displaced people returning to Chad CARE staff interviewing a recipient to ensure transparency in distributing cash payments to displaced people returning to Chad

At the end of 2016 the Doing Development Differently community held a workshop to take stock. What have we learned over the past two years? Is anything actually different?

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Young women in Mali: could Doing Development Differently improve food security for people in countries like Mali? Young women in Mali: could Doing Development Differently improve food security for people in countries like Mali?

CARE’s programmes on dignified work have for a number of years included training sessions for women in factories. Recent research provides further evidence, backing up our own findings, that investing in training for women workers makes good business sense for factory owners.

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Workers at a garment factory in Cambodia Workers at a garment factory in Cambodia