Collaborative learning on localisation from Grand Bargain Signatories through the Charter for Change

Published Date

CAFOD, CARE International, CRS, Christian Aid, DanChurchAid and OXFAM are all Grand Bargain Signatories collaborating together with local partner NGOs through the Charter for Change (C4C) coalition to support Grand Bargain workstream 2 efforts on localisation. Charter for Change is also endorsed by and benefits from the participation and advice of Grand Bargain Signatory NEAR and many of NEAR’s member agencies. Until now, the C4C is signed by 35 international organisations and endorsed by 234 local NGOs. One key activity for the coalition is the production of an annual progress report assessing challenges, good practices and emerging on localisation. 

The 2019 Charter4Change Annual Report was published in the last month and highlights the following gains, good practices and challenges:  

Capacity support:

  • Increased transfer of unearmarked funding and budget margins directly to local and national partners to use these funding resources in accordance with their own organisational needs, not pre-determined by INGO Signatory.

Financial flows:

  • C4C Signatories have increased the reported funding to national and local NGOs in 2018 with a vast majority of Signatories now channelling 20% or more to local and national NGOs.
  • However, research amongst C4C Signatories and endorsers points to how the terms of the funding relationship and the quality of the funding are found to be equally, if not more important than the quantity or direct or indirect nature of the funding.

Empowerment in policy spaces and programmatic partnership:

  • Increased support by INGO Signatories for local and national NGOs to access international donors and humanitarian decision-making spaces.
  • Increased commitment by Signatories to give lead to local partners in project design and adapt the humanitarian response to the capacities of local actors.  

A survey on the Sulawesi response highlighted how:

  • Longer-term investment in capacity-strengthening and relationship-building prior to crises strike are the most important factors determining whether or not international actors effectively support local actors during a response.
  • Innovative partnership models by some agencies enabled joint decision-making, capacity-strengthening and a phased handover to local actors.

Looking forward, INGO Signatories in the C4C coalition look forward to collaborate with other GB Signatories and a wider range of humanitarian actors in the sector to share good practices on agency-specific policies and practices to embed the Grand Bargain localisation commitments into their work.  What makes sense for a medical response agency, might look entirely different from an agency involved in longer-term livelihoods or food security work. However, all can start somewhere and have something to contribute. Collaborative approaches to institutionalising and embedding good practices within agencies are an important part of the process, alongside working towards system-wide changes.