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Rethinking Aid Financing: How Locally Led Organisations Are Funding Their Futures

‘The people that innovate the most are the resource-strapped communities… When you have no resources, you're constantly innovating.’

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After years of inaction on the emergency aid sector’s promises to shift power and funding, grassroots groups are finding their own workarounds.

During a wide-ranging panel moderated by The New Humanitarian on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week, aid leaders described how local organisations are taking matters into their own hands.

They’re collaborating with each other to share resources, instead of competing for the same dwindling pots of money. They’re working with new donors willing to back new types of faster local funding – which they believe can be a model for the humanitarian sector’s biggest donor governments.

“We're on this path of trying to figure out: What can we do? What kind of infrastructure can we build to be able to get resources to local actors?” said Hibak Kalfan, executive director of the Network for Empowered Aid Response.

“We as a Global South have to come up with our own solutions to our own problems and we're trying to do that,” said Degan Ali, executive director of the Kenya-based non-profit, Adeso.

The frank conversation also delved into differing views on what “radical” reform entails, how local and international organisations are treated differently when fraud scandals are unearthed, and why it’s harder than ever to convince donor governments to invest in aid.

Listen to what they had to say during the discussion:


Opening remarks

  • Marcia Wong (@marciakimwong), Deputy Assistant Administrator for Humanitarian Assistance, USAID


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