Localizing Aid Agencies Across the Country

(AmericanProsperity.com) – The UK’s Foreign Office said they would deliver aid as far out as possible by using local institutions and organizations. The push to focus more locally on charity rather than globalized aid is nothing new.

Tsega Girma was a trader who sold goods in her region before the civil war engulfed her home. She did a huge duty to her people and sold all her goods to buy hungry children meals in her region. After this, Tsega appealed to Tigray’s diaspora for donations, and at the peak of the war, this charity fed over twenty thousand kids per day. Even today, the program still feeds about five thousand children per day, post-war.

Tsega said, “It is emergency work,” and continued, “We are doing this simply to keep them alive.” She spoke out on how the food is all bought locally and prepared by its volunteers in an abandoned library.

The United States Agency for International Development plans to have one-quarter of its funding through “local partners” and they want at least fifty percent of their programs driven by local agencies.

This idea of localizing aid picked up steam during COVID-19 when agencies leaned into local partners due to the travel restrictions at the time. Amy Croome, a humanitarian policy adviser, said, “A few years ago, localization was a crazy idea. Now it is completely mainstream.” A report showed that just over two percent of donor money goes to local organizations, which shows the potential that this has.

Kennedy Odede, head of Shining Hope for Communities, said that this aid system is still characterized by a “colonial mindset.” Odede said, “They believe they can just walk into a community and they’ll solve the problem if they have enough money, but that’s not how you create change.”

With conflict and climate change at an all-time high now, there aren’t many spaces where funds can be given or taken. A UN humanitarian official spoke out saying, “International aid agencies are competing with local NGOs at a time when they are strapped for cash, so they are hardly going to support them. They don’t want to give up their funding.”

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