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 transformed 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 Hasangani Edema at [email protected].


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.

No Angels, No Devils: a view on ‘localization’ from Cite Soleil

No Angels, No Devils: a view on ‘localization’ from Cite Soleil

In this blog, Louino and Sabina Robillard, from the vantage point of Cite Soleil, Haiti, take a close look at the essentialized conceptions of the "local" and "international". In holding these terms up against the complicated legacies of aid in Cite Soleil, the authors challenge the way different actors in Haiti have been reduced, romanticized, and demonized by the localization agenda.
Local Leadership: Is it now or never?

Local Leadership: Is it now or never?

In this blog Sarah Cechvala discusses how COVID-19 is challenging the traditional modalities of work in the aid sector. She argues that in the face of a global pandemic local leadership and action will occur out of necessity, regardless of the support from the international community. And so, we need to push for and embrace change now or never.

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