From where I stand: Unpacking "local" in aid

A CDA Virtual Learning Forum

 

Across all our work, we are hearing increased calls for greater local leadership and enhanced “localization” of aid. CDA and our partners and colleagues have endeavored to highlight the fundamental relevance of shifting how we think about and undertake our work.

In the spirit of infusing this conversation with a fresh set of perspectives, opportunities, and challenges, CDA launched “From where I stand: Unpacking ‘local’ in aid”.

Each week, we will create a space to help bring these critical and fresh, though often neglected, voices – from local practitioners to those working alongside them (including those who work on the policy and programming agenda) – to the forefront. We are asking partners working on these issues in their own context, as well as those seeking system-wide shifts in power, to contribute their perspectives about what works, what doesn’t, what questions should we be asking, and what changes do we, as a community, need to make?

Our hope is to expand our collective thinking and understanding about what “localization” actually looks like practice, no matter how messy it may be. In doing so perhaps we can begin to answer the question: What if the evidence-base for local leadership, aid policy, and INGO practice was instead based on the diverse experiences and ideas of those leading humanitarian, aid, and peacebuilding efforts in their contexts?


For analysis on the themes we are seeing from the first 8 blogs, see our interim reflection piece “Meeting complexity with creativity: 5 themes in unpacking “local” with aid“.


How localization supports practical solutions for women, peace, and security

How localization supports practical solutions for women, peace, and security

On the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, this post offers lessons learned on localizing the Women, Peace and Security agenda and offering ways forward to ensure women are directly involved in decision-making that affects their lives. This post showcases a conversation between Nanako Tamaru and Mirsad “Miki” Jacevic, who shares his experiences and perspectives on the topic.
Can we put the rhetoric into action?

Can we put the rhetoric into action?

Through a recounting of her global experiences, in this post, Alex Carle describes the obstacles she believes the sector faces to exact tangible change. While describing the change she believes is needed, she notes a key glimmer of hope that might be found in technology as a vehicle to elevate the voices of those we serve.
The case for a joint degree in comparative development

The case for a joint degree in comparative development

In this post, Farida T. Bena discusses the role that academia plays in entrenching the power dynamics that exist across the aid sector. Interestingly, she posits the idea that a Northern-Southern university partnership for a joint comparative development degree would be a tangible way to elevate Southern knowledge and make it core to effective practice across the humanitarian and development sectors.
Localism as Radical Ethics: What Syrians have taught us about the critical localization of aid

Localism as Radical Ethics: What Syrians have taught us about the critical localization of aid

In this post, Siad Darwish argues that localization is no longer only an enlightened tactical choice by the aid industry, but a vital necessity that seems to be the only way to alleviate the suffering of millions of people. Through an account and lessons from Syria’s varying experience with localization, Said suggests that “localization” must be an ethical endeavor that seeks to liberate people and planet from multiple intersecting forms of oppression.
From a rectangle to a circle: It’s time to turn the turn tables on aid

From a rectangle to a circle: It’s time to turn the turn tables on aid

In this post, author Ada Ichoja Ohaba speaks to the need to shift the ways of working between international organizations and local partners. She calls for INGOs and donors to move away from "top down" approaches and move towards inclusive methods focused on equality of all, as a way to fully represent the diversity of experiences and knowledge in decision-making.
Liberation starts at home

Liberation starts at home

In this post, Cecilia Milesi suggests that localization of aid should be a process to share power, decentralize and deconstruct the inequalities inherited of the post-colonial international cooperation system. In this way, international cooperation should be less about "aid" and more about "solidarity" and "horizontal exchange" to ensure mutuality is the central pillar. Cecilia further proposes some ideas for a radical renewal of international cooperation.
The quality of a leader: how photography helped me see peers everywhere

The quality of a leader: how photography helped me see peers everywhere

This blog is a question and answer interview format between Sanjay Gurung, Director of Mercy Corps’ Governance and Partnerships Technical Support Unit, and CDA's Chief Collaboration Officer Ruth Rhoads Allen. The piece features highlights from their conversation that touched on Sanjay's passion for photography and analyzes the ability to capture beauty and leadership in profound ways.

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