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Predictions and calls to action for 2021

From local and national organisations

  • by Helen James
  • 15 Dec 20

Blog Post

The events we have experienced in 2020 may catalyse the types of changes that the world has been demanding for many years. From localisation and decolonisation to action on the global climate emergency, to maximising technology and advocating for accountability.

We asked our local and national members and our Hubs what predictions and calls to action they have for the sector for 2021. This is what they told us...


Civil society must survive and thrive

"The non-profit sector suffered disruptive changes during the last decade in the world. NGOs/INGOs are in a disadvantageous position and have systematically been stigmatised and marginalised from the international discourse. At the moment, NGOs are the focus of regulatory authorities and vulnerable to frequent security checks. It is part of a much bigger process of marginalisation of NGOs in the world and the whole non-profit sector is facing the heat. NGOs are losing credibility in society as a whole and built negative perceptions about their resources, organisational culture and ways of working. Over the years, new players (like private contractors) emerged and gradually reduced the funding share of NGOs. The marginalisation process is gradual, consistent and slow. The conservative (far-right) governments in the Western countries gradually took away the critical public subsidies, encouraged privatisation of aid. At the moment we have to make sound judgements about the value of our work for the local communities and governments. We must be able to “measure” the value of our goods and services from the perspective of people and government institutions.

In 2021 we must focus on “Surviving and Thriving of Civil Society” through;

  • Increasing understanding of the operational environment
  • Educating donors and our supporters
  • Focusing on beneficiaries and donors, developing business partnerships
  • Transforming for effective service delivery and influencing work
  • Defining and understanding products, services, and power
  • Collaboration with emerging donors
  • Engagement with local philanthropists."



The creation of local alliances

"A call to action for local alliances to create a unified humanitarian system that is timely, dignified and efficient for the well-being of at-risk people in Guatemala."

Translated from Spanish: 

"Un llamado a la acción a través de la unificación de alianzas locales para hacer realidad un sistema humanitario oportuno, digno y eficiente para el Buen Vivir de la población en riesgos a desastres en Guatemala."

SANDRA JUDITH MIGUEL MARTINEZ, COORDINADORA PROYECTOS NACIONALES,  Asociación de Servicios Comunitarios de Salud (ASECSA), part of the Guatelama Hub



Build new ways of working and invest in local organisations

“The year 2020, amidst the pandemic, has brought upon the realisation and made it absolutely clear that we cannot manage 21st century disasters and risks with tools from the previous centuries. It has come as a wake-up call and forced the humanitarian sector among several things to use technology effectively to remotely manage work while maintaining quality and accountability standards. Therefore, in the coming year we need to collectively toil on building awareness on these new ways of working. Having said that, I am also aware of the inequity in access that exists within the sector. That can be dealt with by continuing to invest in and harnessing the abilities of local organisations, which Start Network is committed to.”

Manu Gupta, Co-Founder, SEEDS, part of the Moderating Team for the India Hub


Localisation, towards the nexus to development


"MIDEFEHOPS asbl is a national Congolese rights organisation and member of the Start Network. We would like to see the localisation policy advocated by the Start Network become a reality at the heart of the members of the network. This reality is possible if all members of the Start Network decide to work as a consortium, taking into account the balance between international and national humanitarian actors in the logic of complementarity to save human lives.

Localisation should not be a slogan in training courses and in the elaboration of project proposals, but should be taken as a collective mechanism to bring together the experiences of the international community and the local community, which moreover has a proven knowledge of the real needs of populations with specific needs.

Why sign the charter for change and make people deaf from within? If humanitarian aid does not manage to meet all the needs of the population with specific needs, it is the consequence of the dispersion of efforts in the community of beneficiaries, working without effective coordination despite the orientations of the clusters. Our hope is to live the localization concert for 2021 in line with the Start Network's call for action, which we enjoy as a member and are available to contribute to the effectiveness of this humanitarian dream which remains the key to development."

(Translated from French, below).*

Mrs. Anuarite Kabuo Admin. within MIDEFEHOPS asbl, part of the DRC Hub


Commitment, localisation, anticipation and advocacy

"This is my call for action for 2021:

1. All current Start Network members to renew their commitment to Start Network membership because their current behaviour (doings and thinkings) does not reflect SN vision. There still is a lot of hypocrisy around. The time to walk the talk is now or never.

2. If donors are not yet ready to seriously revisit their risk transfer policy, then we should say goodby to localization

3. More effort and resources should be geared toward innovative anticipation: that's the only way to reduce to nil losts to communities and maintain their resiliency mechanisms.

4. Governments are the first accountable bodies for their populations' safety and security. Humanitarian actors should not hide behind sovereignty to not advocate and pressure them to take that role."

Gang Karume, Executive Director, Rebuild Hope for Africa, part of the DRC Hub


Building the capacity, resources and power of communities to strengthen their resilience

"As development and humanitarian organisation dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of humanity, North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS) will continue to stand committed to work at the frontline of risk to improve the lives of people affected by disasters and climate in Assam. The aim is to build local capacity, resources and power of communities that they need to strengthen their resilience. Local communities most at risk will be enabled to participate, influence and take decisions on risk-informed development policies and practices as they are the people most at risk with a range of other vulnerabilities.

We believe affected people have critical knowledge and experience of the threats they face and their consequences, the actions which help to reduce risk and barriers to those actions. NEADS is also committed to and would voluntarily contribute to the goals set for 2030 in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in its interventions."

Tirtha Prasad Saikia, Joint Director, North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS)


Coronavirus and climate change poses risks to communities in Pakistan

“Pakistan is a poor country and affected by the global climate change situation and facing different disasters from the several years included the floods, earthquakes, droughts and currently facing COVID-19 emergency. After the few months break the 2nd wave of Coronavirus has started in Pakistan, which will be very alarming in coming days, the majority of the people are not following the Coronavirus SOPs (standard operating procedures) and the situation is going to again lockdown in the country. Due to the poverty in the country, the situation will be very critical for the poor communities of Pakistan. Due to the global climate [emergency], there are predictions and expectations of drought and floods.

Bright Star Development Society Balochistan (BSDSB) has vast experience working in the different disasters and emergencies and responded to the floods, Earthquake and drought emergencies and now responding to the COVID-19 emergency. BSDSB is a national humanitarian organisation and is willing and committed with the poor communities of Pakistan and with their partners, supporters and donors for the responding to the predicted disasters in the country”.

Naseer Ahmed Channa, Chief Executive, Bright Star Development Society Balochistan (BSDSB)


A twin-track approach for inclusion and diversity 

"Pakistan is facing predictable and unpredictable disasters over the last three decades, which is now shaping the humanitarian fabric of the country. Over the years HANDS has been working in the humanitarian sector of Pakistan and has recently become a member of Start Network. 

HANDS' strategy 2030 aims to strengthen and continue its efforts against the national set targets of Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) in Livelihood, Health, Water and Sanitation, Education, Infrastructure and Disaster Management. This is the time to call for action in 2021 for a twin-track approach for inclusion and diversity in the overall structure includes Inclusive Development, Environment, Climate change, Urbanization, Information Technology and Knowledge Solutions.

HANDS aims to integrate its expertise across various sectors and themes to diversify its portfolio and solve the greater developmental challenges of the 21st century. As a national NGO, HANDS prioritises building good relationships with international organisations and by linking them with communities."

Sumera Javeed, Executive Manager, Health & Nutrition Development Society (HANDS)


La localisation, vers le nexus au développement

"MIDEFEHOPS asbl est  une organisation nationale  des droits  congolais membre du réseau Start Network qui voudrait voir la politique de la localisation prônée par le  Start Network d’être une realité au cœur des membres du Réseau.

Cette realité est possible si tous les membres du Start Network décident pour un travail en consortium en tenant compte de l’équilibre entre les acteurs humanitaires internationaux et nationaux dans la logique de la complémentarité pour sauver des vies humaines. 

La localisation ne devrait pas être un slogan dans les formations, l’élaboration des proposition du projet,mais doit être pris comme un mecanisme collectif pour rapprocher des expériences de la communauté internationale et la communauté locale  qui du reste dispose un savoir avéré des réels besoins des populations avec des besoins spécifiques.

Pourquoi être signateur de la charte pour le changement et faire sourd d’oriel intérieur ?

Si l’aide humanitaire n’arrive pas à répondre à toute la satisfaction de la population avec des besoins spécifiques, c’est la conséquence de la dispersion des efforts dans la communauté des bénéficiaires, un travail sans coordination efficace en dépit des orientations des clusters.

Notre espoir, c’est de vivre le concert de la localisation pour 2021 en lien avec l’appelàl’action du Start Network dont nous nous jouissons en qualité de membre et disponible pour contribuer àl’effectivité de ce rêve humanitaire qui reste la clef du développement."

Mme Anuarite Kabuo, Admin. au sein du MIDEFEHOPS asbl

Keep reading:

Members Advocacy

  • by Helen James