The central position of local and national actors in humanitarian action has become more evident over the years, and is reflected in the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit and the following Grand Bargain agreement between global donors, NGOs and aid providers, who agreed to make humanitarian action as local as possible, as international as necessary. Localisation agenda takes its strength from the evidence that participation of local actors in the design and delivery of the humanitarian assistance increases efficiency, reduces costs of service delivery, and makes the whole process more accountable to the affected people. Local actors usually have cultural and contextual knowledge that international actors may not have, and civil society actors can have greater acceptance by local communities and more access to affected populations than their international counterparts. Furthermore, local actors are the almost always the first-responders to crises and are continuously present in the affected areas long after international actors are gone. Therefore, building into the institutional and technical capabilities of local actors will have high returns on investment and help closing the humanitarian financing gap, as disasters become prolonged and recurrent globally.
Global Education Cluster’s Vision for Localisation
Global Education Cluster (GEC) recognizes that local actors, including local NGOs and governmental bodies, make up the majority of the education clusters and working groups at the national and sub-national level and they play a pivotal role in the coordination of emergency education response for the affected communities. For this reason, greater involvement of local and national actors in coordination groups is a necessity if humanitarian action is to be more accountable, cost-efficient, and sustainable.
Clusters have a central position in fostering the localisation process, which can be a set of actions that highly vary depending on the context where humanitarian response is taking place. Following actions and considerations by cluster coordinators are encouraged by the GEC as part of the effort to transition to a more localised humanitarian response, and GEC is ready to support individual education clusters in any of these processes upon request:
The following Conceptual Framework for Localisation in Coordination is developed by Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR) and highlights 5 key dimensions and possible action points:
A conceptual framework for localisation in coordination
What this means for coordination
Governance and Decision-Making
Local actors should have equitable opportunities to play leadership and co-leadership roles at national and sub-national levels; and have a seat at the table when strategic decisions are made (for example, in Strategic Advisory Groups or Steering Committees).
Participation and Influence
Even if not taking the decisions, local actors should have the opportunity to influence these decisions. To do this, they need equitable access to information and analysis on coverage, results etc; and the opportunity and skills to effectively and credibly convey their thoughts and ideas.
Coordinators should be promoting a culture of principled partnership both in the way it interacts with its members; and the way in which members interact with each other. In some cases, this requires transitions from sub-contracting to more equitable and transparent partnerships, including recognising the value of non-monetary contributions by local actors (networks, knowledge).
Local actors should receive a greater share of the humanitarian resources, including pooled funds. Where they have the institutional capacity to manage these funds, local actors should be able to access funds directly.
Whilst technical capacity strengthening is important, coordination groups should also actively encourage more systematic and coordinated opportunities to receive support to strengthen operational functions, as part of the overall sector strategy to scale up services.
National clusters are strongly encouraged to include, consult, and listen to national actors and local communities at all stages of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC), which is coordinated by the clusters. For example, national NGOs should be included not only at the data collection stage of the HPC, but also at the analysis of the data and the finalization of the Humanitarian Needs Overview.