Publication Date
Publication Date: 
May 1, 2016

This compendium shares some of CARE International’s most impactful programmes and projects in the field of women’s empowerment and gender equality. Although not exhaustive, this compendium is designed to offer a good indication of what works best to promote social justice and empowerment for women and girls, as well as for men and boys. Specifically, it serves as a roadmap for tracking selected gender equality outcomes in CARE operations since the early nineties.

As explained in the document, the CARE 2020 Program Strategy [PDF] defines CARE’s core approach as strengthening gender equality and women’s voice, promoting inclusive governance, and increasing resilience across all their work. The promotion of gender equality and women’s voice is therefore an integral part of CARE’s modus operandi in all countries and across all programme areas. Over time, CARE has strengthened its focus on ensuring long-term positive changes for marginalised groups, particularly women and girls, by addressing the underlying causes of injustice, discrimination, and exclusion.

The impact of the initiatives highlighted in this compendium are viewed through the prism of CARE’s Theory of Gender Equality and Women’s Voice. These are the key domains of change that CARE seeks to influence:

  • Build Agency - an individual’s confidence, self-esteem and aspirations (non formal sphere) and knowledge, skills, and capabilities (formal sphere);
  • Transform Structures - discriminatory social norms, customs, values and exclusionary practices (non formal sphere) and laws, policies, procedures, and services (formal sphere); and
  • Change Relations - more equitable relationships through which people live their lives through intimate relations and social networks (non-formal sphere) and group membership, and citizen and market negotiation (formal sphere).

Each of the project descriptions in the compendium includes the following subsections:

  • Key Findings
  • Key Activities
  • Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Component
  • Key Results - Related to the CARE Gender Equality Framework key domains of change described above.
  • Contribution to Key Findings

The projects (with a very brief overview) are as follows:

Asia Pacific

  • Cost of Violence Against Women (COVAW), Bangladesh (2008-2011) - The COVAW project sought to prevent violence against women by contributing to changes in gender norms, attitudes, and practices associated with marriage (early marriage, dowry, polygamy) in 3 districts in Bangladesh.
  • Shouhardo Program, Bangladesh (2004-2010) - This programme sought to sustainably reduce chronic and transitory food insecurity. The strategies adopted included the creation of sustainable solutions through: strengthening problem-solving capacity of groups and institutions; community-led empowerment, focusing on women’s empowerment and linkage-building; and formal institutions made up of economically poor and extremely poor people to represent their collective interests.
  • Udaan Program, India - Udaan, which literally means 'soar' in Hindi, is part of CARE India’s efforts to ensure education for girls (aged 10-14) of marginalised groups. It involves setting up residential camps (Udaan camps), which run an accelerated learning programme. This model includes a bridging semester and innovative curriculum elements that build girls' skills and capabilities while boosting their leadership and self-worth.
  • Safe Workplaces, Safe Communities Project (SWSC), Cambodia (2013-2016) - This project strives to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual harassment (SH) among women workers in garment factories, hospitality and tourism (H&T) workplaces, and surrounding communities.


  • The Great Lakes Advocacy Initiative (GLAI) (2009-2013) - This project was implemented by CARE Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with the goal of contributing to the increased protection of women and girls against GBV.
  • Mata Masu Dubara (MMD) Program, Niger (1991-2015) - This programme was a women's time-bound accumulating savings and credit association (ASCA) programme in rural Niger with the goal of empowering women economically, culturally, socially, and politically.
  • Towards Economic and Sexual Reproductive Health Outcomes (TESFA), Ethiopia (2010-2013) - TESFA, in Amaharic "hope", sought to mitigate the effects of child marriage among girls aged 10-19 in the Amhara region in Ethiopia. This project serves as a good example for anyone wanting to learn more about social norms change measurement.
  • The Women and Land Initiative, Niger (2010-2013) - This project addressed the emerging trend of excluding women from agricultural land in Southern Niger. Direct beneficiaries were vulnerable women in 30 communities within six municipalities in southern Maradi.

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

  • Early Marriage, GBV, Hygiene Promotion-Information Volunteer (IV) Program, Turkey (2015 - ongoing) - The goal of this project is to raise awareness of Syrian urban refugees in Turkey about hygiene promotion and key protection issues, including the physical and social impacts of early marriage.
  • Young Men Initiative (YMI), The Balkans (2006-2014) - Implemented by CARE International North West Balkans, the YMI sought to engage youth (aged 15-19) in the adoption of a lifestyle that prioritises good health, nonviolence, and gender equality through a combination of educational workshops and community campaigns.

As noted in the document, the intention is to build this compendium over time, including from Latin America and Caribbean (LAC).

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CARE Gender Justice website on November 13 2017.