From Where I Stand: Unpacking "local" in aid

Across all our work, we are hearing increased calls for greater local leadership and enhanced localization of aid. 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 based on the diverse experiences and ideas of those leading humanitarian, aid, and peacebuilding efforts in their own contexts?

Over the course of the year, we published over 25 articles from practitioners from over 17 countries who 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 global community need to make.

In December 2020, we published a two-part reflection 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 transformed the forum into an avenue less focused on the ‘localization agenda’ and more for people most affected by aid to explore and amplify their leadership experiences, stories, and lessons for the aid sector.

Download the blog submission guidelines. Email Hasi Edema to contribute.

 

Disclaimer: Guest authors featured on the From Where I Stand forum write in their personal capacity and the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of CDA or of the other authors who participate in this forum. Blogs and reflection papers by CDA staff represent CDA’s analysis of themes and insights from all contributions to this forum.


Communities of resistance – Why we need more of them

Communities of resistance – Why we need more of them

Some of the biggest changes in the world have been because of people’s resistance against power and injustice. But no longer do we witness such era-defining challenges to power, which are now being met with equal measures by the state against its own people. Themrise Khan shares examples from Palestine and Pakistan, underscoring the necessity for community-led resistance to shift the power.
Can Storytelling Fuel Community-led Development?

Can Storytelling Fuel Community-led Development?

In international development, stories are often used only to fundraise. They’re about the community, not for the community. Emily Kombe's research with the Movement for Community Led Development reinforced what she experienced as a community organizer in the US, where she saw storytelling emerge as a powerful tool to facilitate and evaluate community-led development.
Is The Aid Sector Tèt Anba?

Is The Aid Sector Tèt Anba?

In Haitian Creole, tèt anba means upside down or absurd. Haitians say “bagay saa yo tèt anba” – things are upside down – to describe a chaotic situation or just the state of the world gone wrong. Marie-Rose Romain Murphy discusses four reasons why the aid sector is tèt anba, arguing that a new ‘global solidarity sector’ should focus on community-led prevention and proactive planning, targeting communities’ short, medium, and long-term needs, thereby ensuring the just and effective redistribution of power.
Shifting the Power with Power Footprints

Shifting the Power with Power Footprints

Patrick Meier, executive director of WeRobotics, discusses the work of Flying Labs, a network of independent and locally-led knowledge hubs that combine local expertise and leadership with emerging technologies to drive locally-led action in the social good sector. He also reflects on the ways Western INGOs can take proactive steps to reduce their power footprints - the amount of authority, control and influence that an organization exerts in a given system.
Donors can do better

Donors can do better

Linda Mwesigwa calls on donors to improve their practices and support for implementing organizations. She shares an example of what organizations can do with the right kind of support, based on her experience in Uganda.
Localization – ‘Us vs Them’

Localization – ‘Us vs Them’

Drawing on her experiences as an international and local aid worker, Hasangani Edema describes how the current concept of localization creates division and reinforces an 'us vs. them' mentality. She describes the deep inequities that she has witnessed and experienced and offers some recommendations on how to bridge these divides.
Responsible Transitions to Local Ownership:  Reflections from the 3D Program for Girls and Women

Responsible Transitions to Local Ownership: Reflections from the 3D Program for Girls and Women

In this blog, Sia Nowrojee reflects on the successful transition of ownership of the 3D Program for Girls and Women from the UN Foundation team to local partners in India. She shares key lessons in the transition process including building strong partnerships and allowing for complexities, and highlights a three-phase transition process that accounted for an effective and efficient transfer of the program to local partners.
The Global Standard: Going Global, Acting Local

The Global Standard: Going Global, Acting Local

In this blog, Bao Han discusses the role that CSOs have in shifting power towards their stakeholders. She shares the Global Standard 12 Commitments which is a framework that supports organizations with their accountability to civil society, which she argues is a key aspect of localization.

Made possible in part by support from Humanity United