Few humanitarian organizations have operated as long or as successfully as CARE. The well-known “Care Package” of post-WWII Europe has become an icon of the philanthropic community and a universal part of our lexicon. Today, CARE’s broad humanitarian programs reach 84 countries and 83 million people.
Believing that a focus on women and children is the key to attacking global poverty, CARE’s renowned CEO, Dr. Helene Gayle, and her leadership team approached williamsworks with an ambitious question: How can we bring attention, influence and increased assistance to Maternal and Newborn Child Healthcare (MNCH) in the most vulnerable communities around the world?
With an agenda as ambitious as CARE’s, real results come when you advocate the right message directly to those with the ability to influence and the inclination to act. We started by identifying the individuals uniquely positioned to effect change on U.S. MNCH policy, including members of Congress and key Administration officials. For each official, williamsworks created an individual power map of their circle of influencers, identifying the key business leaders, NGOs and other constituents who could join CARE’s mission and reach out to their representatives in Washington to make a powerful humanitarian, human rights and economic case for the investment in maternal and newborn child healthcare in the developing world.
We engaged our extensive network of deeply-rooted relationships to connect CARE with the most powerful Members of Congress and senior officials, utilizing our knowledge of complex ethics guidelines to ensure propriety. CARE met with dozens of key policymakers, and key executive branch officials with the authority and direction to influence foreign aid investment.
Designing an unforgettable learning experience
With a growing coalition of committed partners, we then turned to the message – the story. What do we want these opinion-leaders to understand? Words and numbers are valuable, but nothing is more impactful than meeting the people whose lives are affected by your work. So together with CARE, williamsworks designed CARE’s first-ever series of hands-on learning trips to Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, showing U.S. policymakers the stark reality of what was at stake, and what was possible.
Relying on our extensive experience around the globe, we meticulously designed seven tailor-made trips that created transformative and educational experiences for the delegations. From 2009-2011, williamsworks directed learning trips to Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Peru, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. One critical objective was to secure opportunities for CARE delegations to meet with heads of state, advocates, and the real people working to improve their communities on the ground.
Together with CARE, our efforts created deeply resonant experiences for key influencers. More importantly, they led to tangible results in Washington, as well as in the targeted countries. As a result of our work together with CARE, some great things happened:
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- President Obama included a $351 million increase for MNCH in his FY11 budget
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in an MNCH event in eastern Congo
- Other delegation participants and policymakers committed to supporting CARE’s MNCH work
- CARE’s MNCH efforts received significant media coverage, including more than five million Oprah viewers in partnership with Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof and his bestselling book Half the Sky, which spotlights extraordinary women doing transformative MNCH work in 10 of the most challenging environments in the world