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From crisis communication to early childhood immunization: CARE demonstrates multiple uses for chat

A leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.
Cosas de Mujeres community activity. © Julia Zulver



Information & Resource Service




Nigeria and Afghanistan


March 2023

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Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. 

CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls. Equipped with the proper resources women and girls have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. 

In 2022, CARE and partners worked in 111 countries implementing 1,600 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects and initiatives that reached 174,000,000 people.


Unique conversations started by 2023


People that opted for more messages

One Organization. Two WhatsApp services

“The accessibility of the WhatsApp line and the ease-of-use of the Turn.io platform have enabled CARE to reach different communities with a variety of assistance - from short-term crisis response to focused support for offline healthcare programming.” Jessica Kirkwood, Associate Vice President, Supporter Engagement, CARE

One Organization. Two WhatsApp services


By January 2023, CARE Nigeria’s chatbot had seen almost 15,000 unique conversations started and about 2,700 people opted in to get further messages.

CARE Nigeria Chatbot

CARE Nigeria was one of 20 social change organizations selected for the Chat for Impact Accelerator 2022 hosted by Turn.io in partnership with WhatsApp. The accelerator provided mentorship and support to social impact organizations wanting to build and scale a WhatsApp chat service to improve their impact and reach. The CARE Nigeria Chatbot was built during the implementation of the Impact Accelerator.

Building on already established humanitarian work to create a chat-based source of trusted information

Globally, Nigeria is estimated to have the highest number of deaths among under-5 children. According to the National Immunization Coverage Survey (NICS) of 2017, preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and HIV/AIDS account for more than 70% of the estimated 858,000 annual deaths in children under 5 . Additionally, 30% of the total number of under-5 deaths are babies in their first month of life. Only about one in three children between 12 and 23 months (31%) receive all eight basic vaccinations, while one in five (19%) receive no vaccinations. The reasons for this include mistrust and fear, issues with quality service delivery, and a lack of awareness of best practices and access to health services. This was worsened in the wake of COVID when health centers were seen as the source of the infections.

Against this background, CARE Nigeria has carried out offline programming to encourage early childhood immunization, focusing on Yobe State in Northeastern Nigeria. 

The chatbot built during the Chat for Impact Accelerator 2022 builds upon the pre-existing efforts of CARE Nigeria and functions as a hub for trusted information dissemination. By providing end users with accurate information about how vaccines work, which ones are needed for their children, and where to get them, the chatbot attempts to increase awareness among the Nigerian population regarding early childhood immunization.

CARE Nigeria Chatbot 

The CARE Nigeria chatbot focuses on:

Watch an overview of the Chatbot by Priya Pradhan -

“Thanks to Turn.io's Chat for Impact Accelerator, we were able to connect with mental health experts from one of the other participants, StrongMinds. With their support we’ve been introduced to new partners and approaches that have dramatically improved the service we’re offering to LGBTQ+ teens and young adults.” Keith Mundangepfu, SameSame

Importance of building on social behavior change communication (SBCC) campaigns … 

Before developing the chatbot, CARE Nigeria had already run social behavior change communication (SBCC) campaigns using micro and nano influencers to encourage immunization practices among parents of young children and expecting parents. The chatbot was developed as a complement to these campaigns and other offline CARE health programming in Yobe State. It is also being supported by a six-week advertising campaign to promote the use of the chatbot that, by midway, had reached almost two million people. 

… and ensuring the chatbot meets the specific needs of the community it is built for

“The specific community we built the chatbot for in Yobe State, Nigeria includes a low-literate population whose primary language is Hausa, not English. We therefore needed to ensure the platform was as simple as possible to enable community members to access it easily.” 

“The WhatsApp chatbot provided us with a lot more reach than we were ever able to imagine previously. It has enabled us to reach our target audience of mothers but also religious leaders and traditional leaders. We needed to build the service to be able to reach key stakeholders who influence a lot of decision making within family households in the area.” Habeeb Sulaiman, CARE Nigeria Communication and Advocacy Officer and country office content lead for chatbot

CARE’s crisis communication service 

Using chat to support teams in times of crisis

The 2021 humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan compellingly highlighted Chat’s ability to provide fast, secure and reliable ways to communicate when it is most needed. Partnering with WhatsApp, CARE was able to set up a vital support line for its team on the ground in Afghanistan in less than five days. The line was built using Turn.io’s no-code platform and CARE was able to scale the service in real-time.

CARE’s Chat service was developed to focus on helping the organization support its team members in Afghanistan during a time of crisis. The service provided access to important information as well as frequently asked questions – and ensured teams on the ground were assisted as a matter of urgency. CARE used the chatbot for several months, until the crisis period came to an end.

Lessons on using a WhatsApp-based chatbot for organizations working in the humanitarian impact sector

“In building our chat services we assumed the tech would be the major hurdle. But we soon found that the more intense part of the process was developing the communications and communications flow.  Our advice would be to give yourself enough time to really think through the intentionality of your message and the planning around it. If you have a reasonably technical person, the programming within Turn is not all that difficult and Turn has a lot of support available, should you get stuck.” Jessica Kirkwood, Associate Vice President, Supporter Engagement, CARE

“I would advise really thinking about where a chatbot could play a role in complementing a program/project that has an offline social behavioural change component when you are designing a program. There should be a clear strategy to measure impact/change..” Habeeb Sulaiman, CARE Nigeria Communication and Advocacy Officer and country office content lead for chatbot

“Just because you build it, you cannot assume people will find it. If possible, build in an advertising budget and have a marketing plan. CARE Ghana built a chatbot with Turn.io and had just 200 users over an eight month period. However, once a paid campaign on social media was implemented, adoption really rose.” Priya Pradhan, CARE USA Media Partnerships Coordinator

Turn.io’s flexible and responsive approach and data analysis capability

“We found the flexibility of the Turn.io platform and the responsiveness of the team really valuable. There have been times when I have asked for something - like how to code a location finder - and a week later they built me a playbook about it. 

“Although there is definitely room for new ways of extracting data, we were able to use Threads to create a section of the chatbot that is a survey. It asks questions like “Have you taken your child to get vaccinated?”, “Would you recommend this chatbot to a friend?” and “Do you feel that you have learned more about vaccines?”. We will be analyzing those results after our targeted ad campaign comes to an end and are very interested in what they will show.” Priya Pradhan, CARE USA Media Partnership Coordinator

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