Locally led development is a complex process that the development community, in the United States and around the world, has spent several decades trying to get right. Yet, despite all the experience and lessons learned, it feels like we are barely beyond the starting line. This publication aims to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on locally led development, especially as to how the United States can address the obstacles posed by U.S. law, regulation, policy, and practice.
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In this sixteenth interview of the “17 Rooms” podcast, Jamie Drummond and Kennedy Odede discuss shifts in power, process, and funding to uplift proximate leaders and value local knowledge and community-based solutions. Drummond, co-founder of ONE and Odede, CEO and co-founder of Shining Hope for Communities, moderated Room 11 focused on Sustainable Development Goal number 11—on sustainable cities and communities—during the 2021 17 Rooms flagship process.
The COVID-19 pandemic has vividly demonstrated that thoughtful, data-driven, and accountable
leadership has been a significant determinant of the trajectory of this emergency – locally, nationally,
and globally. The current crisis also highlighted the importance of effective teams and meticulous
management in overcoming complex challenges.
As a health economist from Ghana, I’m often asked about my take on the decolonization of global health.
For me, any discussion of decolonization brings to mind Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, who — along with other African liberation leaders — spearheaded the decolonization of other countries on the continent.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, “wakangwara semurungu,” a Shona phrase that means “wise white person,” was a typical compliment given if you did well in school or looked particularly chic — for example, “You’re so smart, like a white person.” To this day, similar anecdotes can be found throughout African countries. Behaving like a white person, thinking like a white person, or looking like a white person was the yardstick used to measure a person’s worth.
Can philanthropy deliver what is expected?
Much has been written about the role philanthropy could play in resetting our fractured and extraordinarily polarised modern world. However, there are disagreements about the way forward. Great resets being mooted. New economic systems. Technology that will save the day. New apps that can entice, cajole, and inform students across the spectrum. Increasing numbers of global forums and think-tanks. Yet, very little is changing.
Over the last few years, the Black Lives Matter Movement and #AIDToo scandals have ushered in a period of self-reflection in the humanitarian sector and elevated calls to “decolonize” its systems. To keep up the momentum and address systemic issues, humanitarian nonprofit organizations should focus on governance: specifically, their governing boards.
Two 5am starts followed by 16 hours of screen time. Yet by the end of the 2021 Humanitarian Leadership Conference, ‘energised’ was the word I used to sum up my feelings. Quite a feat!
Hosted by the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership at Deakin University, the conference challenged delegates to critically reflect on the humanitarian status quo. Speakers and participants dialled in from across the globe. There were representatives from local civil society organisations and large international agencies (INGOs), plus a whole host of individuals, from academics and journalists, to poets and at least one musician!
The theme of this edition of Humanitarian Exchange is localisation and local humanitarian action. Five years ago this week, donors, United Nations (UN) agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) committed within the Grand Bargain to increase multi-year investments in the institutional capacities of local and national responders, and to provide at least 25% of humanitarian funding to them as directly as possible. Since then, there is increasing consensus at policy and normative level, underscored by the Covid-19 pandemic, that local leadership should be supported. Localisation has gone from a fringe conversation among policy-makers and aid agencies in 2016 to a formal priority under the Grand Bargain. Wider global movements on anti-racism and decolonisation have also brought new momentum to critical reflections on where power, knowledge and capacity reside in the humanitarian system. Yet progress has been slow and major gaps remain between the rhetoric around humanitarian partnerships, funding and coordination and practices on the ground.
If the world is going to stop deliberate or unintentional misinformation and its insidious effects, we need to radically expand and accelerate our counterattacks, particularly human-centered solutions focused on improving people’s media and information literacy.