Skip to main content

The Importance of Sustainability in International Development: How Carers Worldwide is Paving the Way for Change

Published: 03 July 2024
Updated: 05 July 2024
Carbon Offsetting

In the realm of international development, sustainability is more than just a buzzword—it's a crucial element for creating long-lasting positive change. At Carers Worldwide, we understand that true sustainability means developing solutions that endure beyond our involvement, empowering communities to thrive independently. Our commitment to sustainability is reflected in every aspect of our work, from our innovative Carers Worldwide Model to our environmental initiatives.

Understanding Sustainability in International Development

Sustainability in international development focuses on creating programmes that are economically viable, environmentally friendly, and socially inclusive. These programmes should be designed to continue operating and benefiting communities even after external support has ceased. This approach ensures that the impact of development work is lasting and transformative, rather than temporary and superficial.

The Carers Worldwide Model: A Sustainable Solution for Unpaid Family Carers

At Carers Worldwide, our mission is to achieve recognition of the role of unpaid family carers and to transform the lives of carers, their families and their communities, through our unique and holistic approach. Our Carers Worldwide Model comprises five core elements that together address the comprehensive well-being of carers. These elements include:

  1. Carers Support Groups: Reducing loneliness and isolation, creating social networks and supporting emotional well-being.
  2. Health Services: Ensuring carers have access to physical and mental health services including locally available counselling.
  3. Employment, Training and Education: Facilitating access to employment, training or education, tailored as appropriate to co-exist with caring responsibilities.
  4. Respite and Short Breaks: Offering carers much-needed breaks from their responsibilities, along with the development of alternative high quality care options such as day care centres.
  5. Advocacy: To strengthen the collective voice of carers to advocate for their needs and the provision they require at community, regional and national level, leading to changes in policy and practice.

By partnering with local, in-country charities in South Asia, we ensure that our model is implemented in a way that is culturally sensitive and effective. Our goal is for these local partners to become self-sufficient, continuing the work independently, which allows us to extend our support to new regions and communities.

Last year, four of our long-standing partners – NBJK, SACRED, SAMUHA and LEADS Nepal - transitioned to become our Resource Partners. They will be sharing their expertise and experience of working with carers, with new Carers Worldwide partners and with service providers and government departments in their geographic areas. This confirmation of their commitment to carers and to including carers across all development activities, reinforces our vision of a world in which every carer is valued and their needs are met.

SACRED’s collaboration with Carers Worldwide and support for their new partners is vital because we are committed to amplifying family carers’ voices, addressing their needs, extending our impact, engaging communities, and securing a sustainable and inclusive future for all.”

Thippanna C.C., Founder Director, SACRED

People sitting in circle.

Environmental Sustainability at Carers Worldwide

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our immediate work with carers. We recognise the importance of environmental responsibility and have implemented an environmental sustainability policy to guide our actions. This policy aligns with our values and ensures that our operations are environmentally conscious.

We have recently taken a significant step towards reducing our carbon footprint by offsetting our carbon emissions for 2023, through the planting of 79 trees in Kenya. We have done this with the support of Word Forest, another small international development charity. This initiative not only helps combat climate change but also supports reforestation efforts and local communities in Kenya, and we are very pleased to have established this partnership and to be supporting another small but mighty organisation.

Forest Tree Planting

The Broader Impact of Sustainable Practices

Sustainability in international development is vital for several reasons:

  • Longevity: Sustainable programmes continue to benefit communities long after initial interventions have ended.
  • Empowerment: By building local capacity, communities become empowered to address their own challenges and drive their development.
  • Environmental Protection: Sustainable practices help protect the environment, ensuring that natural resources are available for future generations.
  • Economic Growth: Sustainable development can lead to more stable and resilient economies, reducing poverty and improving quality of life.

Carers Worldwide: A Model for Sustainable Development

At Carers Worldwide, we are proud of our sustainable approach to international development. By focusing on the holistic well-being of unpaid family carers and ensuring our initiatives are environmentally responsible, we are making a lasting impact in South Asia and beyond. Our work is a testament to the power of sustainable practices in creating enduring positive change and, together with our local partners and supporters, we are building a brighter, more sustainable future for unpaid family carers and their communities.