How has Shifting the Power influenced local and national partner's response to emergencies?
26 February 2018
Shifting the Power (StP) is a three-year project that aims to strengthen the capacity and influence of local and national humanitarian actors, and to contribute to the development of a more balanced humanitarian system.
StP is part of the three-year Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) and is being implemented by a consortium of six INGOs: ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Concern, Oxfam and Tearfund. The consortium is working alongside 55 local and national NGO (L/NNGO) partners in Bangladesh, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya and Pakistan. The project is comprised of five ‘outputs’, relating to capacity strengthening, supporting representation and voice of local partners, consortium member INGOs ‘walking the talk’, collaboration with other DEPP projects, and learning and evidence sharing.
This learning review took place between July and September 2017 (towards the end of the project). It examines how the project has influenced local and national partner’s response to emergencies, and which capacity strengthening activities have been most successful. The data on which the review is based was collected from StP staff, L/NNGO partners, and INGO consortium members through a variety of means including: qualitative surveys, field visits, Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), Skype calls and extensive document reviews.
The programme has seen some immediate results and benefits. There are numerous examples from all StP countries of L/NNGO progress in being prepared for and able to respond to emergencies. Positively, reports of the progress achieved as a result of being part of StP was not limited to one or two L/NNGOs, nor were they limited to one area of progress per L/NNGO.
As part of StP, L/NNGOs worked to develop their humanitarian vision and strategy and to refine the systems needed for management of resources and staff during a humanitarian response. They developed Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans and formed Emergency Response Teams from existing staff members. Some L/NNGOs also extended their reach and potential pool of resources to draw on during an emergency response by identifying and training community volunteers. Capacities were developed in undertaking needs assessments, through formal trainings and practical application. Through progress in these areas L/ NNGOs reported examples where they had been able to apply for new sources of funding. In addition, links were built with local authorities, helping to formalise L/NNGOs roles and relationships within the wider community.
An important aspect of the project was the networking opportunities it provided. L/NNGOs came together to share experiences and to learn from one another. As a result, new relationships were fostered at a national level and new ways of working and examples of mutual support have been seen. For example: some partners have accessed new funding through building alliances to submit joint proposals to pooled funds. It is the reviewer’s opinion that the progress made in building linkages between L/NNGOs and other humanitarian actors is likely to be the most transformative for L/NNGOs going forward, both for the role they play in responding to emergencies themselves and their ability to influence emergency response work. Not only has there been a shift in mind-set among L/NNGOs – from seeing other L/NNGOs as competitors to potential collaborators – but, based on the progress already made and the benefits seen by involved stakeholders, it is likely that these linkages (for the large part) will be sustained.