Localisation has been a priority topic for the development sector for decades. Advocates for advancing the localisation agenda have made the case for it from a moral, cost-effective, and social justice standpoint. Although the claims seem compelling and accepted by power holders, and commitments at global stages have been made, the international development and humanitarian sector show little progress.
With less than 1.5% of global funding going to local and national NGOs, there are many reasons to be discouraged, frustrated, or even outraged by the lack of momentum on this issue; set as a priority seven years ago.
Perhaps progress on the international front, or the lack thereof, reflects inflexibility in this system, attached to outdated ways of working. However, local actors are not waiting for complicated international processes to move forward, they are already acting, and, although the scale of some of their initiatives is small, they are locally driven and bring hope for more transformational changes to happen in the sector overall.
The international humanitarian sector needs to do better in documenting these success stories, assigning credit to local actors for innovative approaches, and developing evidence-based cases for locally led action.
Start Network believes that local actors should be at the forefront of the humanitarian system, with decision-making power and access to financial resources to respond to the many challenges they tackle at a local level.
To increase the visibility of locally led action, and to showcase these actors’ expertise and learning, Start Network is launching the #StartLocal: The Locally Led Series, a live repository that compiles examples of locally led work. We hope that this space serves as an evidence-base for good practice, and contextual nuance, making the case for locally led action across the humanitarian sector.