Street Child & Child Protection AoR: Accelerating localised response to COVID-19: Practical pathways
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a rare and immediate opportunity for a norm shift towards localisation in the humanitarian architecture. Whilst international humanitarian actors are facing constraints in funding and restrictions on movement and travel, national and local level humanitarian actors are on the ground to respond. A timely investment in local capacities and capabilities creates a strong platform for effective, efficient and sustained response and recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the days, months and years ahead.
The 2016 Grand Bargains makes a commitment to channel at least 25% of humanitarian funding directly to local and national actors; however, just 0.1% of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan funds for COVID-19 are going to national and local level actors. Localisation literature notes a number of interrelated barriers, including (i) a lack of accessible, available funds for local level actors; (ii) a lack of fund-absorption capacities amongst local level actors; (iii) low donor appetite for risk, resulting in highly bureaucratic management and monitoring; (iv) low leadership and representation of local actors in the humanitarian architecture – in particular decision making mechanisms; and (v) entrenched conflicts of interest that affect the allocation and use of funds.
Street Child, an international organisation with operations in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, is working with the Global Protection Cluster [Child Protection Area of Responsibility] and the Global Education Cluster to pilot and test practical pathways to accelerate localisation, and to advocate for the adoption of proven approaches. We propose a number of practical options for international actors and agencies from our own efforts to accelerate local action, including our frontline relief and response experience in the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola Epidemic.