Localization of Humanitarian Action

This branch of research seeks to understand the enabling and hindering factors that support a localized humanitarian response to natural disaster, conflict, and prolonged complex emergencies. While there are no internationally agreed upon definitions of localization, it generally refers to putting local actors at the center of the humanitarian system.

Despite the popularity of this idea, international organizations continue to drive the humanitarian agenda worldwide. We consider recent international commitments, such as the Grand Bargain, which supports increasing proportion of overall humanitarian resources that go directly to those in need. We seek to unpack the assumptions and biases about a localized response and the barriers to changing the status quo. We also explore the effectiveness of pilot models to more localized aid delivery.

We primarily use qualitative methods that emphasize the voices of local actors who are often marginalized in studies on humanitarian action. Case studies include Indonesia, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Syria. Save the Children Denmark has been an integral partner for this research program.

Views from the Ground: Perspectives on Localization in the Horn of Africa
Report on Localization

This study interrogates the assumptions that underpin a localized response, and identifies the factors that enable and hinder local actors in providing a high-quality, principled, and effective response in three countries in the Horn of Africa: Kenya, Somalia/Somaliland, and South Sudan.

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