Handling Migration with CARE


By: Gerald F. Witherspoon, Sr.

Introduction to Migration

            Obviously, a migrant is one who migrates or engages in migration. However, there are different types of migrants and different types of migration. Migration is the movement of individuals within or outside international borders irrespective of cause or consequence (IOM 2013). Migration, then, speaks to the what. Furthermore, migration and immigration is oft-times confused with one another. It is important to note that nationals and non-nationals migrate for different reasons, but immigration consists of non-nationals migrating for the specific purpose of settling across borders (a process that refers to the who). The categorization of migration, refers to the how. For instance, circular migration reflects frequent movement between countries with mutual beneficiaries when done voluntarily. Facilitated migration occurs when travel is made more convenient. Irregular migration occurs when a lack of compliance with entry regulations occurs or is fostered by administrative failure. Labor migration occurs when individuals move from within or outside international borders to seek employment opportunities. Orderly migration occurs when individuals abide by applicable regulations of the country exited and country entered. Finally, forced migration is not voluntary, but contains some form of threat or coercion. Categorization of migration is accompanied by classification of migrants such as documented migrant, economic migrant, irregular migrant, forced migrant, and others. Moreover, forced migrants can be divided further into sub-classes known as refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, development displacees, environmental and disaster displacees, smuggled people, and trafficked people (Forced Migration Online 2012).  Adequate distinctions between these categorizations and classifications are important because they are essential in determining when human rights abuses have occurred. Therefore, what type of migrations are occurring, who is migrating, how are they migrating and why are they migrating are of managerial concern to international governmental organizations such as the United Nations, international nongovernmental organizations such as the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), and the rest of the international community.

Overview of CARE

            Many international nongovernmental organizations have found it crucially important to expand their portfolio to include other areas of humanitarian work as many human-rights issues have strong correlations. In essence, poverty may be the result of forced migration and therefore it becomes imperative to understand and address migration to address poverty effectively. For example, CARE was established in 1945 after World War II and was originally intended to reduce hunger and show support to those in Europe who had suffered the dreadful consequences of the war. Inspired by the impact made on individual lives, CARE expanded the types of assistance provided and the targeted geography. After 1990 the organization changed their approach to become more aligned with rights-protection and development (CARE International 2013). Under its emergency response objective, CARE found itself involved in the migration issue by helping Syrian refugees. CARE has considered the violence in Syria the “biggest humanitarian crises of the 21st century” (CARE International 2013). An estimated 4.5 million people have migrated from their homes within Syria (internally displaced persons). Likewise, another two million people have migrated from Syria (forced migrants or refugees) into Jordan, Lebanon, and other countries. Moreover, 100,000 people have already lost their lives. According to the CARE FactSheet, the United Nations has divided funding requirements to address this issue into two categories: Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) and the Syria Regional Response Plan (RRP); SHARP has been met by 43% and RRP has been met by 37%. CARE reports that it currently has secured less than 20% of its desired goal of US $50 million (CARE International 2013). Nevertheless, CARE has provided financial assistance to meet basic living costs and information on how to access psychosocial support to approximately 110,000 Syrian refugees. CARE established refugee camps and utilized the help of refugee volunteers and Jordanians to organize the distribution of services and support information planned to reach more than 10,000 people. CARE is working with the UN to establish another refugee camp to compensate for the overflow of refugees as there is currently only one camp in Jordan. CARE has been actively engaged in needs assessment in Yemen and has concluded that majority of refugees have received no assistance. In Lebanon, CARE has increased access to water and sanitation for approximately 7,000 people in Beirut. Further, CARE has plans to meet nearly 20,000 more individual needs between Lebanon and Egypt over the next two years. It is important to note that CARE takes an integrative approach to helping by attempting to assist both the refugees and the host countries. This increases the potential to foster cooperation at the local-governmental level. Moreover, with less than half of the anticipated funds, CARE has demonstrated not only an ability to meet the need of migrants, but also to save lives. Gareth Richards, CARE’s Regional Director of Middle East and Northern Africa declares, “It is now more important than ever that political differences are set aside and that a peaceful political resolution is reached through dialogue” (CARE International 2013).


            Competition between non-governmental organizations can impede progress whereas partnerships that include international governmental organizations can strengthen the possibilities that international policies will be constructed around issues that have been properly contextualized. CARE understands the importance of partnering with other non-governmental organizations as evidenced in its global network of 14 national and affiliate members: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Deutschland-Luxemburg, France, India, Japan, Nederland, Norge, Osterreich, Peru, Raks Thai, UK, and the USA (CARE International 2013). These members share the responsibility of managing offices in nearly 80 countries around the world and are coordinated by an international Secretariat located in Geneva, Switzerland. Additionally, the Secretariat represents all members at the United Nations and the European Union. CARE is positioned to understand clearly the events that occur in the international community by cooperating with both the local communities and governments in the respective areas. This strategy allows the organization to leverage relationships and gain wider reach. However, research suggests there may be a lack of interaction between CARE and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the largest organization working on migration. This intergovernmental organization has become a chief consultant on migration issues and has a global presence in over 100 countries with research submitted and included in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports (UNHCR 2012). Therefore, IOM has a high-potential to impact international policy. After World War II, CARE was dropping CARE packages while IOM was identifying relocation opportunities for over 10 million displaced people and successfully arranging transportation (IOM 2013). CARE then should consider becoming a key partner with IOM as CARE is already engaged (intentionally or unintentionally) in responsibility and burden sharing in matters of migration. Inevitably, humanitarian organizations and workers will continue crossing paths at the local, regional, and international levels when working to offer human relief. Finally, whether the specific area of focus is migration, poverty, emergency response, discrimination, or others, remains trivial in light of the need to develop cooperative partnerships to be effective.


 CARE International. What We Do. 2013. http://www.care-international.org/what-we-do/emergency-response/spotlight-syrian-refugees.aspx (accessed October 23, 2013).

Forced Migration Online. What is Forced Migration. January 27, 2012. http://www.forcedmigration.org/about/whatisfm/what-is-forced-migration (accessed October 23, 2013).

International Organization for Migration. “Key Migration Terms.” International Organization for Migration. 2013. http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/about-migration/key-migration-terms-1.html#Migrant (accessed October 20, 2013).

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Refugee Protection and International Migration: Achievements, Challenges and Lessons Learned from UNHCR’s 10-Point Plan Project, January 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f2654362.html (accessed 22 October 2013).


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