Localization can be understood as an attempt to share power and resources with local and national organizations to equip them with the capacity to more effectively deliver humanitarian aid
ARDD CEO Samar Muhareb attended the recent Pooled Fund Working Group meeting, held on December 12th in New York. The meeting comprised of a series of discussions on improving the efficiency of Country Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs), a key tool used to effectively coordinate humanitarian affairs. CBPFs permit donors to pool their contributions into readily available funds supporting local aid, thus allowing humanitarian actors to provide aid in a time-efficient and coordinated manner. CBPFs are created either during an emergency or when an existing humanitarian situation deteriorates. Funds are normally allocated to national and international organizations that are most familiar with the context and needs of a particular crisis.
Since its start in 2010, ARDD has been working with other organizations and actors to improve the lives of vulnerable populations through programming and legal aid. By attending this meeting, ARDD hopes to encourage a continued partnership with other like-minded organizations, to pool together resources and maximize the joint humanitarian impact.
One recurring topic discussed at the meeting was the lack of localization strategy in current CBPFs. In short, localization can be understood as an attempt to share power and resources with local and national organizations to equip them with the capacity to more effectively deliver humanitarian aid. While the humanitarian field does valuable work, how it does this work is equally as important. When strategizing the future of CBPF, localization strategy should be kept in mind to ensure funds are used in the most effective manner. In The Grand Bargain, organizations have agreed to channel 25% of global humanitarian funding directly to local and national actors by 2020; including a localization strategy in CBPF would help to meet this goal. Further, Sustainable Development Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals, states that global partnerships must be strengthened to achieve the 2030 Agenda. National governments, the international community, civil society organizations, and the private sector must work together in their implementation strategy to progress towards sustainable development.
Involving local and national NGOs will improve both the impact and effectiveness of aid. For INGOs localization can prove financially beneficial; costs like implementation, staffing, and management are all expenses that INGOs can reduce as local NGOs are more likely to have staff that speak the dialect and understand the particular context. It also works to reduce wasteful or duplicated programming. This can help organizations respond more quickly to a crisis, as local NGOs can help to ensure that emergency preparedness plans remain relevant to the particular needs of the context. Further, their efforts are reinforced by international organizations that can provide support both financially and through specialist expertise.
Structurally, localization operates as one way to balance the inequality in power dynamics between larger INGOs and their smaller national and local counterparts. Working with and strengthening the capacity of national and local organizations, rather than working in parallel to them, can improve the effectiveness of aid work because it reinforces rather than undermines national development efforts. It brings the process of decision making in aid work closer to the people the work seeks to help by directly involving the people it impacts. By exploring different perspectives and styles of thinking, including expertise from larger organizations and local knowledge that only national and local NGOs can provide, the humanitarian field can benefit from diversity of knowledge and input.
More information on ARDD’s reflections on localization strategy can be found here: