The Time for Progress is Now

Ripple Impact Partner Spotlight: CARE

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This Ripple Insights series spotlights Ripple Impact partners, the nonprofits and mission-driven companies we work with to advance financial inclusion, fight climate change, and make a difference both globally and locally, in the communities in which we live and work.

Today, we speak with Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE. CARE is one of the world's leading humanitarian relief organizations, working in over 100 countries to save lives, combat poverty, and promote social justice. CARE has been a partner of Ripple since 2020.

Q: Tell us about CARE’s vision and where your work is done.

A: CARE started just over 75 years ago with the invention of the CARE Package. A small group of people in the United States came together and said, "We're not going to stand on the sidelines and watch as World War II refugees face starvation." I feel like this moment of time calls upon all of us to embrace that kind of visionary generosity. There is a lot to do right now for CARE and other actors that are trying to make life better for people around the world. These past three years we have witnessed countless tragedies, from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine to the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, as well as the growing hunger crisis.

CARE is deeply committed to not only providing continued emergency response but to making progress on the larger and longer-term development front to fight poverty. Last year alone, we served 174 million people in 111 countries. As we look to 2023, and beyond, our ambition is to meaningfully impact 200 million people as we seek to bring about a more just and equitable world, where poverty is shrinking, and gender equality is a growing reality.

Q: What are CARE’s focus areas and how does your work center on women and girls?

A: CARE works across multiple sectors to address the root causes of poverty, hunger, and injustice. And we know we cannot achieve economic justice, climate justice, health equity, the right to food, water, and nutrition, or equal access to humanitarian assistance without addressing gender inequality. Last year, for example, we published a report about the disproportionate impact of the hunger crisis on women and girls: 150 million more women are hungry in the world than men. With our partners, we pay particular attention to how our programming, advocacy, and partnerships include, enable, and impact women and girls.

Ripple, for example, has supported CARE’s financial inclusion work in East Africa with women in savings groups or as we call them, Village Savings and Loan Associations. CARE coordinates the largest micro-savings program in the world, where small groups of people, mostly women, come together to save a little bit of money each week and in turn, loan it out to one another. These Savings Groups have now supported over 17.6 million members in 64 countries. Our goal is to scale this program to reach 62 million people by 2030.

Q: How is CARE exploring blockchain and crypto as a means of improving humanitarian aid?

A: CARE is committed to working on innovative solutions that amplify the reach, transparency, and impact of humanitarian assistance. In 2020, Ripple was the first company to fund CARE's exploration of programs using blockchain and crypto. Your team helped us successfully run pilot programs in Kenya and Ecuador and better understand the potential benefits of blockchain in aid delivery and in expanding financial services for women. Ripple's support has also helped, more generally, build our team's knowledge base and capacity on this front.

The potential benefits of blockchain and digital assets are tremendous, but practical applications that can accelerate impact in the humanitarian sector are still limited. We are still in the early stages, but we are excited about the many opportunities that lie ahead. We've also been exploring promising applications of crypto in our fundraising efforts and have found great inspiration in the generosity and creativity of the crypto community. One notable example is the NFT CARE Package for Afghanistan campaign, launched by one of our supporters a couple of years ago, which raised nearly 60 ETH to deliver critical humanitarian aid to Afghan families in need. We are reimagining the "CARE Package" for a new era.

Q: What were some of the results and findings of the crypto pilot programs?

A: We ran two pilot programs where we distributed crypto vouchers to survivors and women at risk of gender-based violence in Ecuador, as well as Village Savings and Loans Associations facing the economic impact of COVID-19 in Kenya. In the Kenya pilot, for instance, CARE directly issued crypto vouchers totaling $114,000 (equivalent to KES 13.9 million) to 50 Savings Groups, benefiting a total of 1,217 members. We managed the disbursement process at the group level, with participating Savings Groups downloading and registering a shared wallet for their group. These vouchers were versatile, as they could be redeemed for goods, services, or cash, depending on the specific needs of the recipients. They provided some much-needed relief for women involved in Savings Groups, empowering them to invest in alternative income-generating activities. The pilot demonstrated that, in appropriate contexts, crypto vouchers can serve as a safer alternative to traditional paper vouchers and other digital cash platforms. That pilot was made possible with support from Ripple and collaboration with Binance Charity.

Q: How has CARE been providing relief following the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria?

A: The earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which took the lives of two dedicated CARE staff members and tens of thousands of others, have tested our team, who are recovering from their own losses. Despite that, their intrepid spirit helped CARE begin to deliver emergency supplies within days. CARE and our partners have responded in some of the hardest hit areas in both regions, delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance to more than 610,000 people with goods or services delivered to help people withstand the blistering cold and find temporary shelter after having lost everything. These past months have been an exemplar of the scope of CARE’s work, and of the human spirit to stand together every day – in times of crisis and hope. Your support makes this critical work possible.

Q: Where is CARE focused in 2023?

A: We remain focused on responding to sudden-onset emergencies around the world and carrying forward our life-saving work in health, food and nutrition, education and work, climate, and equality. For example, we continue to deliver humanitarian aid within Sudan and call upon the global community to step up support for relief efforts in neighboring countries to ensure access to food, water, and health services to those fleeing Sudan. CARE is working to ensure that we provide critical life-saving support in those places that receive less global attention and are what we term “neglected” crises like Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Simultaneously, we are investing in longer-term solutions to address the climate crisis and building out our digital technology and financial inclusion initiatives. We strive to be a global network of local partners and experts to scale solutions that work for millions of people to reach their full potential, and we look forward to doing this alongside partners like Ripple.

Learn more about Ripple’s partnership with CARE and other organizations in the 2022 Ripple Impact Report.

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