Fostering NGO's and frontline responders' engagement


The 10 Grand Bargain workstreams

Greater Transparency
More support and funding tools to local and national responders
Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming
Reduce Duplication and Management costs with periodic functional reviews
Improve Joint and Impartial Needs Assessments
A Participation Revolution: include people receiving aid in making the decisions which affect their lives
Enhanced quality funding through reduced earmarking and multi-year planning and funding
Enhanced quality funding through reduced earmarking and multi-year planning and funding
Harmonize and simplify reporting requirements
Enhance engagement between humanitarian and development actors

More support and funding tools to local and national responders


Aid organisations and donors commit to:

  1. Increase and support multi-year investment in the institutional capacities of local and national responders, including preparedness, response and coordination capacities, especially in fragile contexts and where communities are vulnerable to armed conflicts, disasters, recurrent outbreaks and the effects of climate change. We should achieve this through collaboration with development partners and incorporate capacity strengthening in partnership agreements.
  2. Understand better and work to remove or reduce barriers that prevent organisations and donors from partnering with local and national responders in order to lessen their administrative burden.
  3. Support and complement national coordination mechanisms where they exist and include local and national responders in international coordination mechanisms as appropriate and in keeping with humanitarian principles.
  4. Achieve by 2020 a global, aggregated target of at least 25 per cent of humanitarian funding to local and national responders as directly as possible to improve outcomes for affected people and reduce transactional costs.
  5. Develop, with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), and apply a ‘localisation’ marker to measure direct and indirect funding to local and national responders.
  6. Make greater use of funding tools which increase and improve assistance delivered by local and national responders, such as UN-led country-based pooled funds (CBPF), IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) and NGO- led and other pooled funds.

The co-conveners: Switzerland and IFRC
NGOs co-champion: Amanda Schweitzer CRS, Anne Street CAFOD, Michael Mosselmans Chrisitan Aid 
Helpful contacts: Michael Mosselmans, Christian Aid
Official IASC page on this workstream available here

Main progress in the last 3 years:

The workstream formed a work plan to move the agenda forward. It is focused on four main strands of work:

  • more funding for local and national partners;
  • more capacity-building for local and national partners;
  • a strong voice for local and national partners in country level humanitarian coordination and leadership;
  • and measurement of progress.

CAFOD, Development Initiatives and OCHA co-led a comprehensive process to define how the commitment in the GB to provide 25% of funding as directly as possible to local and national actors by 2020, could be measured.

The workstream has tried to coordinate a series of relevant research initiatives on this agenda to ensure that we are all on the same page, maximise coherence and minimise duplication.

The European Commission, ECHO, is providing funding to IFRC through the ERC HIP to enable the workstream to be adequately staffed and resources. The workstream holds a coordination conference call every two months to review progress, 10 national actors have been selected to join these calls recognising that it is counter-intuitive only to have Grand Bargain Northern signatories in discussions about the future of localisation.

Three multi-stakeholder country visits have been executed by the co-conveners– to Bangladesh, Iraq and Nigeria to get a sense of what is working on the ground, what the blockages, opportunities and replicable good practices are, and to engage with local perspectives.

The workstream organised three regional conferences in Addis Ababa, Amman and Jakarta to gather regional perspectives on how best to advance the localisation agenda in a contextualised manner. The workstream then held a global conference in Brussels, financed by ECHO and co-organised by IFRC and Christian Aid, which sought to bring together the thinking from the three demonstrator visits and the three regional conferences for a stocktake of where we have got to in the first three years of workstream activity and identify priorities for future action.

Significant priorities suggested at the Global Conference included:

  • we need to move the localisation debate from global to country level. We need to form multi-stakeholder localisation dialogues in key crisis countries to develop contextualised action plans for accelerating localisation
  • we need to join the dots between the localisation workstream and the other 7 Grand Bargain workstreams, to mainstream localisation into their thinking, so that localisation is not a silo but part of the lens within which one advances cash, needs assessment, participation, the nexus etc
  • if pooled funds like OCHA-led UN Country-Based Pooled Funds (and the Start Fund) are one of the primary modalities wherein donors fund localisation, then ambitious targets should be set for the percentage of these which reaches local actors, the size of these should be significantly increased, and local actors should have strong representation in governance
  • a key reason why localisation is desirable is because local actors can be closer to crisis-torn communities and hence better-positioned to ensure that communities are empowered to play a leading role in the design and delivery of their own response and recovery. We do not aspire to localisation for localisation’s sake, but to localisation that empowers, listens to and enhances the agency of people affected by crisis
  • we should ensure that localisation efforts contain a strong gender lens and a strong attempt to prioritise local and national women-led and women’s rights organisations

The workstream has collectively developed best practice papers on six themes relevant to localisation: capacity-strengthening, coordination, donor/intermediary arrangements, financing, gender and partnerships. These will be finalised and published in January 2020 and will represent useful learning material for organisations interested in advancing their localisation practice.

Why should you engage?

One of the most prominent and important messages emerging from WHS was that if more capacity, power, respect, resources, space and voice is given to national and local actors within the humanitarian system, we can improve the results and services delivered to the people in needs. Because the volume of crisis globally is too much for international actors alone to cope with, and because in a large number of situations, local people, communities and organisations are best-positioned to help and the first to arrive.

The Grand Bargain workstream, alongside the Charter for Change, is one of the most prominent areas in which interested parties can coordinate and share ideas and lessons learned in order to move the localisation agenda forward in the most effective way.

How can you engage?

  • You can contact the NGO co-champions Amanda Schweitzer (CRS) or Michael Mosselmans (Christian Aid) to keep abreast of progress.
  • If you are a GB signatory, you can join the IFRC-led bi-monthly coordination calls.
  • If you are keen to advance the way your agency engages with local actors and engage with other like-minded peers on how best to do so, you can sign the Charter for Change.
  • You can study the workstream best practice papers on to gain ideas about how your agency could work differently in those thematic areas.
  • Share your organization’s related material on projects, reports and research about localization on the Grand Bargain Localization website resources page.


[1] The Grand Bargain Annual Report 2019, ODI June 2019

[2] The Grand Bargain, Workstream 2: Localisation. IFRC Localization webpage.



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