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.


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?
Partnerships in humanitarian action

Partnerships in humanitarian action

In this post, Lizz Harrison shares findings from the Accelerating Localisation through Partnerships program. She suggests ideas about partnership practices that support shifting the power and moving humanitarian action closer towards being truly locally led.
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.

Made possible in part by support from Humanity United