IRIN is enhancing our coverage of indigenous and locally driven responses to humanitarian emergencies and disasters, an effort made possible with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2016, at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, governments, UN agencies and NGOs made ambitious pledges to reform the way aid is delivered. Part of this shift aims to better support and empower local communities to lead responses to crises in their own communities — often called “localisation” in the aid sector. But these commitments have largely stalled, almost two years after major donors and UN agencies promised to deliver on a wider “Grand Bargain” of reforms.
To help inform this debate, IRIN’s reporting will examine examples of local responses to crises around the world – in conflict zones, refugee camps, scenes of natural disasters and more.
“In the wake of a crisis, attention often turns to the international aid agencies sending their teams in to help. But friends, family, neighbours and community organisations are often the first responders,” said IRIN Director Heba Aly. “Local people know best what they need; can respond faster and more efficiently; and may offer more sustainable, long-term solutions. This reporting seeks to highlight examples of self-reliance, from the Zimbabwean women battling climate change to traditional approaches to cyclone proofing in Vanuatu; from local volunteers helping refugees in Greece to the white helmets in Syria. We want to better understand how local communities respond in a crisis and what lessons the international community can draw from them.”
In addition to new reporting from the frontlines of crises, the Gates Foundation funding will support three case studies produced by the Center for Public Service Communications, exploring indigenous solutions and knowledge that have led to successful disaster preparedness, prevention and responses to risks and threats.
This reporting will support IRIN’s mission to inform humanitarian response, by cutting through the increasingly caustic “localisation” debate and examining ways in which local communities are already tackling crises on the ground.
We uncovered the sex abuse scandal that rocked the WHO, but there’s more to do
We just covered a report that says the World Health Organization failed to prevent and tackle widespread sexual abuse during the Ebola response in Congo.
Our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation triggered this probe, demonstrating the impact our journalism can have.
But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking.
We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.
The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and do more of this.