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Beyond words: Visual stories bring CARE's work to life

An illustration of a mountain in Zimbabwe, with fields at the foot.

Illustration credit: Juan Echanove/CARE

Illustration credit: Juan Echanove/CARE

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Mission Report to Zimbabwe

Juan Echanove is CARE’s Associate Vice President of Food and Water Systems. He frequently visits projects around the world and documents his trip reports as visual narratives. We asked Juan to share one of his stories and how they’re helping him connect with more people.


Q&A with Juan Echanove

Tell us about your role at CARE.

I coordinate the team responsible for our programming on food security, agriculture, nutrition, water and sanitation (WASH) – the largest portfolio of CARE’s development work. We oversee almost 200 programs in 70 countries and design proposals for new programs in these sectors. I joined CARE seven years ago and lead a team of more than 60 senior technical advisors, all highly qualified and committed experts, based all over the world.

What brought you to CARE?

What really attracted me to work for CARE was this amazing combination of deep roots in the field and engagement with the communities as well as the ability to advocate for change at the global level. Thinking globally and acting locally is truly the day-to-day mindset at CARE and my own life philosophy.

What led you to start documenting your trips as visual stories?

It all started when I decided to document my trips in a way that would let me better capture what I see in those trips – ways that would go beyond mere words. It is also a lot of fun producing these visual stories, so that is a good motivation too! But of course another main reason is because I want to share, to reach people in CARE and beyond. People may not always be inclined to read a long narrative report but will likely enjoy reading these visual stories. At the end, it is all about communicating.

What do you see as the greatest need in addressing food and water challenges?

Food and water systems are broken. They’re not serving their purpose, which is to ensure the right to food, water, and nutrition for every human being. Millions around the world cannot access the food or water they need to enjoy a healthy life. Injustice and power inequity are the root causes of this: inequality between men and women, within societies, between the rich and the poor and between countries. Only by empowering the powerless will we be able to address the immense challenge of poverty.

What are you most proud of at CARE?

The people I work with are real heroes. They do incredible things every day to support others and make this world a better place for our children. For our staff, CARE is not just a job – it is a way of living, a way to be.

What gives you hope about the future?

When you invest in the people, when you empower people, especially women and girls, the magic of change happens. Our responsibility is immense, but we can make it happen, one step after the other. We can truly change the world around us. I see it happening every day.

Want to view more stories and learn about Juan’s work? Follow him on LinkedIn to stay connected.