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. That is why, in April 2020, CDA launched the From Where I Stand virtual learning forum with this guiding 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?

In 2020, we published over 25 articles from practitioners from over 17 countries that shared their experiences about what localization of aid looks like in practice. We heard from partners in their own contexts, as well as those seeking system-wide shifts in power, about what works, what doesn’t, what questions we should be asking, and what changes we, as a community, need to make. 

In December 2020, we published a two-part reflection on the forum after 8 months of listening: What we’ve heard and From where we stand. Through this reflection process, we recognized that a space to share and listen to the stories of how people are leading in their own communities is still quite rare. Therefore, we decided to transform the forum into an avenue less focused on the ‘localization agenda’, but for people most affected by aid to explore and amplify their leadership experiences, stories, and lessons for the aid sector. 

If you are interested in contributing, please contact Grace Boone at [email protected]

The opinions expressed in CDA From Where I Stand blog are those of the author and are not representative of CDA.

 


If you want to support, vacate the space

If you want to support, vacate the space

In this blog, Sudhanshu Singh discusses neo-colonial practices in aid, with a focus on India, that discourages Southern actors from fully participating in localization processes. On the other hand, he offers how localization could be "a real win-win" if local actors could lead while international partners could complement their efforts.
From where we stand

From where we stand

This is the second blog of a two part series. In this blog, CDA's editors took the learning and analysis provided by blog contributors and tried to respond to the question: "what next?" Editors offer their take on what they have learned from this series, what it means, and what next for the sector and this blog.
What we’ve heard

What we’ve heard

Based on the listening for 8 months this blog showcases what the contributor's of the 'From where I stand' series have told us about locally led aid; and importantly what we need to pay attention to, and importantly why. This blog is a two-part series. Next week the editors will consider what we have heard and seek to answer: What now?
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.

Other relevant posts

Made possible in part by support from Humanity United