Local Leadership and Shifting Power

CDA remains guided by the belief that humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding action should be owned and led by those closest to the issues. We partner and act in solidarity to move rhetoric to reality, equipping systems change to shift the power from international to local leadership.

Stopping as Success (SAS+)

The overarching goal of Stopping As Success: Locally Led Transitions in Development (SAS+) is to enable development partnerships to be more locally led, for transitions to be more effective and sustainable for local people, and for development practitioners to be more responsive to local dynamics. 

SAS+ equips organizations with good practice to transition responsibly to make way for local leadership in the development sector. Since 2021, the SAS+ consortium – CDA, Peace Direct, and Search for Common Ground – have supported active transition processes by accompanying organizations in implementing SAS+ tools and resources.

The Listening Project

CDA’s foundational listening methodology came out of a broad, systematic effort to listen to the voices of people who live in countries where international assistance has been given. Between 2005 and 2009, more than 125 international and local aid organizations joined the Listening Project in 20 aid-recipient countries to talk with nearly 6,000 people about their experiences with, and judgments of, international assistance.

CDA continues to advise donors, policymakers, and international and local aid agencies on the use of feedback loops and other ways to more effectively listen to, engage with, and be accountable to local people, organizations, and governments.

From Where I Stand

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?

Amidst the current 30-year high in global conflict and some of the most challenging humanitarian situations of a generation, local leaders continue to play essential roles. CDA believes this expertise and insight is essential for sustainable peaceful change.

In 2024, CDA launched a new phase of the platform with a specific focus on perspectives of local leaders and experts working in complex and protracted emergencies.

Key Publications