Role: Head of Humanitarian
Team: Humanitarian team
As Head of Humanitarian at CARE International UK, I provide leadership on humanitarian issues and sit on CARE’s Emergency Response Working Group which provides strategic advice and direction for our humanitarian work. I also manage a team of technical advisors, including the global Emergency Shelter Team, Gender & Protection and Cash & Markets advisors, and a small Climate Change and Resilience team. Our team is a centre of learning in its various technical areas and provides both strategic and operational support to CARE’s humanitarian and resilience programming. Some projects currently underway in the team include Promoting Safer Building, the development of guidelines and tools for integration of gender equality and GBV interventions in shelter programming, and significant support to the BRACED programme in Niger.
Prior to taking up my current role, I led CARE International’s global Emergency Shelter Team, following on from a career as a chartered structural engineer with significant private sector experience in the UK and USA. I am a trustee of the Happold Foundation and Engineers Without Borders, and chair the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Humanitarian & Development Panel.
I am particularly interested in the tension between the priorities and relationship power dynamics of external humanitarian actors and disaster/emergency-affected people. I would like humanitarian programmes to become better at enabling disaster-affected people to control their own recovery and make their own, informed, choices about risks and their future resilience. I am also very interested in ensuring that humanitarian programming is gender-responsive and, where possible, promotes gender equality.
CARE International UK’s humanitarian team supports CARE’s humanitarian work by accessing funding, and by providing project management and technical advice and capacity to CARE’s country offices and CARE’s emergency responses. CARE has a strong focus on ensuring that all our humanitarian programming responds meaningfully to the needs and capacities of different people, whatever their gender, identity or particular circumstances. CARE’s emergency shelter team is also based at CARE International UK.
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Poverty and social injustice are caused and maintained by unequal power relations that result in the inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities – between women and men, between power-holders and marginalised communities, and between countries. CARE believes poor governance is a key cause of poverty and social injustice. Our Inclusive Governance team promotes inclusive and accountable governance systems so that poor and marginalised people have influence over decisions that affect their lives. We help communities get organised and get their priorities included in development planning. We work to increase women’s voice and leadership in public life. We support service users to hold service providers to account. We work with public authorities and service providers to help them become more transparent and responsive to poor and marginalised people.
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The Programmes and Policy team is responsible for overseeing programme quality and multiplying the impact of our programming by encouraging governments, business and donors – based on the evidence we witness on the ground – to adopt policy reforms that support the world’s poorest people and communities. Working in partnership with our country programmes, women’s rights organisations and civil society, we put forward the views of the most marginalised to governments, including the UK government, multinational businesses and global institutions and press the case for change. In short, our goal is to change the rules of the game that keep people poor.
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Strategic partnerships are a key way for CARE to increase and widen our impact. Our Private Sector Engagement team partners with national and multinational companies to co-create innovative 'inclusive business' approaches that drive new opportunities for poor people as producers, workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers. We – and our partners – believe this makes good business sense: helping to generate efficiency, securing supply chains, accessing new markets and products, and improving credibility with consumers who increasingly expect companies to behave responsibly. Our Institutional Partnerships team connects the vision and commitment of our funding partners with poverty-fighting programmes throughout the world.
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Our Women’s Economic Empowerment team leads CARE’s work globally to ensure women have greater access to and control over economic resources, assets and opportunities. We focus on four inter-related pathways to economic empowerment, based on a combination of women’s core economic roles as producers, workers, entrepreneurs and consumers: financial inclusion, women and value chains, dignified work, and entrepreneurship. We also focus on supporting the involvement of women in creating resilient markets in fragile and humanitarian contexts.
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Many CARE staff who have written Insights blogs have since moved on to other roles. Your blogs are still part of the CARE story – and we welcome any future contributions you may make to Insights and to our shared learning on what works in humanitarian response and international development.
Maria was formerly Asia Governance Advisor for CARE International UK. She has more than a decade's experience in the development…