Localization; what do we need and want, when we talk about it?
We know we have mentioned it before. Probably more than once. And we want to help make localization happen. Simply because we believe it is important to promote a hiring practice that fits the sector we work in. A hiring practice that is as ethically responsible as it could be. Yet, before we start working out the kinks of trying to find a solution and get the job done, we need to make sure that we are all on the same page. And ensure that what we will do is actually the answer to what you are all asking for.
What does it mean?
Since based on some discussions we have had recently it seems localisation means different things to different people. For some, it means having as many local hires, as possible, within your (I)NGO. While keeping the traditional international management structure. While, for others, it means a total disruption of the current mostly western managed aid structures and true ownership of aid at local levels. And, we have also heard it mean that INGOs work as much as they can for and with NNGOs (National NGOs), helping and supporting them wherever they need, instead of NNGOs working for INGOs as sort of subcontractors (which is often the case now). Even the Charter 4 Change, an important initiative aimed to promote localisation, doesn’t speak of complete local ownership of aid.
Some more views
Humanicontrarian wrote in ´The Localization Surge´:
The general view seems to be that local organizations can surge, but to a lesser degree. As Schenkenberg’s study explains, local NGOs often have a very limited ability to scale up. He goes on to describe the causes, such as difficulties in attracting/receiving funds or the unhelpful reality that in an emergency, newly arriving international agencies will often Hoover up staff from the local NGOs. Management capacity for rapid growth poses another stumbling block. While the World Humanitarian Summit’s Grand Bargain and the general strengthening of local NGOs may address some of these issues, they do little to address constraints in the model itself.
Urbain, one of the consulted national responders on HumanSurge, told us:
Localisation for me, is how donors can deal directly with local organisations without being obliged to by-pass by big machines first and from there to the local organisation. This localisation can help strengthening local organisation as some of them have proved their capability in program management, the great % of the grant can reach stakeholders instead of running admin and logistic of big machines which cost too much. If well done it can raise resilience
And to you?
So, before we go down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out how we can best help professionals like you realise localisation at your own respective organisations. We want to know what your opinion is on the issue and how you see the ideal situation rolling out.
Therefore, we really would appreciate it so much if you could let us know what you think, by responding to this article. Even if it is just a line or two.