In profile: CARE’s Lisa Faye
Jan 13, 2020
We're lucky to have so many passionate, dedicated people working at CARE—whether its helping to create and manage our programs, helping to ensure we have funding for these programs, our local staff implementing projects in the countries we work in and more. It's our people that truly bring our mission of lifting people out of poverty and out of crisis to life. Lisa Faye is one of these amazing people. Find out about her work, what drives her and what she wants Canadians to know about international development:
What do you do at CARE?
I work for the women’s economic empowerment team, so this means I spend much of my time working with my colleagues around the world to support women to start and run profitable independently owned businesses. We support some women in very traditional businesses – tailors, farmers, crafters, and catering ventures. But it is also exciting to work with women who are branching out and finding the niche market in their communities – unemployed nurses giving first aid training, women coming together to provide fresh bread service to a local school, or women raising decorative pet hens (something I didn’t even know existed till I saw it with my own eyes!).
Our work goes beyond this, to ensure that women have access to banks or banking alternatives so that they can invest in their businesses. We work to change household norms, encouraging men to take on a fair share of the household and caring work as women begin to work outside the home.
When women are economically empowered, they have access to a more full range of decisions about their own lives and that is a great aim to work towards.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE THAT THIS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO WITH YOUR CAREER?
Honestly, I was headed towards a job at a University. I completed my Master’s degree in Women’s Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland and was about to move on to a PhD when I was offered a short-term volunteer opportunity in Ghana, which I decided to scoop up. I spent 7 months working with Women in Law and Development Africa (WiLDAf) to set up a database of clients at a free legal centre in the eastern part of Ghana. Once the database was set up, it was used to build statistics that allowed the organization to advocate for changes to domestic violence laws. It allowed the lawyers in the office to keep better track of client’s cases. It moved the office from a vulnerable paper based system to an online, easily searchable system. I learned so much and when I was done I knew that I wanted to be part of supporting that kind of work around the world.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OR OPPORTUNITY YOU FACE IN THIS ROLE?
Sometimes the weight of what we work with can be difficult. Ongoing conflicts, severe natural disasters, communities of people just struggling to ensure their children get the education they deserve – it can be a lot on an ongoing basis. That being said, the opportunity is there as well. The opportunity to come to work and do something about this every day! The opportunity to work with my colleagues around the world, in solidarity with communities, with groups of women activists speaking up for their rights, and for a more just world…It all gives me hope.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP NEXT?
We’re about to start work on a project in Zimbabwe and I am very jazzed about it! First of all, we are working with The Coady Institute – an organization I have always admired for their really forward thinking and empowering programming. But, even more, it’s the project itself. In this project, we’ll work with young women (especially those who are married or young mothers), their communities, and community leaders to encourage girls who have dropped out to return to school or enter vocational training. The project includes some work on getting young people in schools growing food and incorporating that into the learning process, a bit of work on building community mentorship programs, and also some work on health rights with young women. It’s going to be a really great piece of work and I’m excited to be part of it.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE CANADIANS KNOW ABOUT OUR WORK?
The work that Canada does around the world is something of which we should be proud. Honestly, our reputation globally is strong and that is because we show up when we’re needed. Whether that be during a natural disaster, during times of conflict, or just to support communities as they work together to get from where they are to where they want to be – we are ready to help in both the big and the small jobs. So find ways to be informed about what we’re doing overseas! Listen to the CARE Canada podcast, join a Council for CARE Canada, or follow us on social media to get a little reminder of what we are doing regularly.