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Oxfam’s initiative ‘Innovations in Care’ aims to support development, humanitarian and advocacy practitioners to work more effectively on care issues. Care is understood as a major issue in promoting women’s human rights, empowerment and overcoming poverty and inequality. This paper clarifies the main conceptual issues, overlapping terms and debates relevant for local programming and research on ‘care in households and communities’. The author explores the increasing prominence of ‘care’ in international development discourse, including an annex on the historical evolution of the concept, a glossary of terms and extensive references. The second section reviews approaches to bring about change patterns of providing care: the ‘3Rs’ framework to ‘recognise, reduce and redistribute’ care. The last section unravels debates about measuring care – time use surveys, monetary valuation and recent research on time-and-income poverty.

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