Amnesty International and CARE

Amnesty International and CARE 7

AmnestyInternational and CARE

AmnestyInternational and CARE

AmnestyInternational is among the most visible and active humanitariangroups working globally. It is also one of the groups of its kindthat has dealt with many high profile cases involving gross violationof human rights in various countries and regions. CARE is oneorganization that has greatly focused on the issue of women and girlsespecially in the developing world. These two organizations areimportant in the course of my study as they present a balanced focuson issues on international justice and human rights (Amnesty), aswell as addressing the issues of gender empowerment and equality(CARE), both of which are arguably the frontline issues in matters ofsocial activism. For this reasons, this paper will focus on the twoorganizations.


AmnestyInternational is an international social activism group that isconcerned with issues of seeking justice for victims of major humanrights violation in various countries, jurisdictions or entireregions. The stated mandate of the group is to research on andgenerate action against activities of human rights violations, and toseek justice for persons affected in the said activities. The grouphas more than 3 million supporters situated in more than 150countries and these members are actively engaged in preventing grossviolation of human rights (Amnesty International, 2014).

AmnestyInternational was started in 1961 prompted by the publication of thestory of the plight of two students in Portugal held prisoners forholding to toast to freedom. The story was initially published byPeter Benenson, who consequently became a foundation image ofAmnesty. This story was published widely, beginning what became aninternational call for justice for the prisoners. Though it initiallyhad representation mainly in Europe and US alone, the group hasexpanded and strengthened over the decades to become one of the mostvocal and respectable activism groups worldwide (AmnestyInternational, 2014).

Anybodycan become a member or a supporter of Amnesty. Today, the applicationfor membership or contribution for its support is easy and can beconducted online at the official Amnesty website. To become a member,one may either register physically in the group’s 50 internationaloffices or register online as an international member in countrieswhere the group is not physically represented. Anticipation can beachieved in various ways either through joining online conversationsin which members discuss issues and suggest appropriate courses ofaction through online petitions, offering basic information regardingactionable events in individual countries, giving expert guidance onlaws and policies in one’s jurisdiction, or physicallyparticipating in the group’s activism activities where necessary(Amnesty International Report, 2005). Participation can also bethrough donations, mainly online, but also through the offices. Inthe group’s website, the most recent or serious activitiesrequiring attention are listed in the main page where members andvisitors may get quick access (Plait,2010).

Theseparticular presentations of Amnesty International helps bring intolight the concept social activism forms and arrangement. It helpsillustrate what a social problem is and how to handle socialinjustices through activism and public participation (Clarke,2001).It helps to bring out the way that activism helps profile socialinjustices in a manner that makes a society’s needs more visibleand redress more urgent.

Corporativefor Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)

CAREis an acronym meaning Corporative for Assistance and ReliefEverywhere. It is an international humanitarian aid agency that isnon-profit, non government social activism group whose main focus isempowering communities through awareness creation, aid, and otherforms of support for community initiatives. It differs from Amnestyin that while Amnesty is usually a reaction agency dealing withviolations of human rights, CARE is a proactive agency dealing withissues of poverty and gender empowering before the situationsaggravate. In addition, this group has a special interest in womenand girls, while Amnesty has interest in all afflicted persons (CAREInternational, 2014).

CAREhas thirteen main areas of operation, as well as affiliate presencein most developing nations through country offices. CARE has presencein 87 countries, and helps more than 97 million people. It is alsoinvolved in close to 1000 projects distributed in poor neighborhoodsmostly in developing countries. CARE was started in the USA in 1945as a joint initiative of more than 20 non-governmental organizationswhose aim was to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the SecondWorld War. While intended to be temporary and get disbanded after theeffects of the war were contained, CARE instead grew to continueproviding aid to affected people in various countries and continents.It also diversified its initiatives from direct basic aid torecreation projects such as agro forestry, food security, socialexclusion and discrimination, social and community policing amongother issues (CARE International, 2014).

Incontrast with Amnesty, CARE has its membership structure set toinclude entire countries, not individuals. Thus, CARE only has membercountries, not individual persons, but individuals can form intogroups that receive CARE aid. Currently, the active group has twelvemember states as well as one associate member. The members includeAustralia, Canada, Dustch, France, India, Japan, Nederland, Norge,Osterreich, Thailand, UK and USA (Ranganand Lee, 2008).In addition, Peru is currently an affiliate member. To join thegroup, an aspiring new member must apply to the internationalregistration office and set up autonomous operations in theirjurisdiction country once absorbed in the social activism group.

Thegroup is currently mainly concerned with gender and womenempowerment, emergency response, food security, health, climatechange, education, representation, water and economic development.Individual groups or social empowerment initiatives are formed whichcomprise of individual members in a community who have a common goal,usually self help and poverty alleviation, and approach CARE forfunding or other support (Strom,2011).CARE reviews the proposal by the group and funds it as necessary.Therefore, members in countries where CARE operates must join intogroups of representation before approaching CARE. In other settings,CARE may partner with governments to provide community services thatare essential for human development or poverty alleviation. It mayalso partner with other international and local humanitarian agencieswhere the overall goal is provision of services to improvelivelihoods and end poverty. Volunteering activities are open to allupon request where CARE has operations requiring participation.Donations may also be channeled through the CARE website or physicallocations where members and external persons want to donate to CARE.

Knowledgeabout CARE international helps in bringing out the concept ofinvolving external parties in the process of social activism. Ithelps one understand the concept of organizing to make social changethrough incorporation of governments, international community andother humanitarian organizations having a common goal of improvingsocial welfare of the average member of the society. The procedureused by CARE to handle social activism helps me to view the processof society improvement through social activism as cutting throughindividuals, communities, countries and the entire internationalcommunity (Henry,1999).It also helps me understand that social welfare is a much widerconcept than creating mechanism for resolution of the very basic needaffecting the members.


AmnestyInternational (2014). ActivismCentre.Available at

AmnestyInternational (2014). The history of Amnesty International. Availableat

AmnestyInternational Report (2005). The state of the world`s human rights.Amnesty International.

CAREInternational (2014). Thehistory of CARE International.Available at

Clarke,M. (2001). Diplomacyof Conscience: Amnesty International and Changing Human Rights Norms.Princeton University Press.

HenryK. (1999) “CARE International: Evolving to Meet the Challenges ofthe 21st Century.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Plait,P. (2010). Amnesty International loses sight of its original purpose.SlateMagazine

RanganK and Lee K. (2008). &quotRepositioning CARE USA&quot HarvardBusiness School.

StromS. (2011). &quotCARE, in Return To Roots, Will Offer VirtualPackages&quot. TheNew York Times