Why does CARE work on conflict?

CARE engages in programming addressing conflict for two principle reasons

1. CARE’s mandate: CARE’s vision is “a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security.” To achieve security and social justice means to address not only open violence, but also the structural causes of conflict.

2. Peace and development are intertwined: Violent conflict disproportionately affects some of the poorest countries and poorest people in the world. Poverty can cause or exacerbate violent conflict. However, violent conflict is also a major cause of poverty and a factor preventing poor people from realising their rights. Preventing and addressing violent conflict is necessary to achieve poverty reduction. CARE works in many countries currently affected by, or recently emerging from violent conflict. These conflicts affect our ability to undertake life sustaining and/or sustainable development programming as we encounter risks to staff, communities, or assets, as well as face political restraints. CARE has also become aware that implementing aid programmes of any nature in a conflict or post-conflict setting inevitably affects conflict dynamics. CARE Country Offices (COs) are increasingly seeking to take this into account through ensuring conflict sensitivity in their programmes and organisational approaches.

Conflict can continue under the surface long after violence is stopped and peace agreements signed. If underlying causes of conflict are not addressed, relapse into violent conflict is likely and the cycle of poverty and conflict continues. Many CARE CO’s in conflict or post-conflict situations have found that they must address unresolved causes and impacts of conflict directly in order to achieve realisation of people’s rights and poverty reduction. They do this by implementing peacebuilding programming and conducting advocacy to influence the policies and practices of other agencies and donors in support of peace.