Local Humanitarian Leadership

LOCAL HUMANITARIAN LEADERSHIP

Local humanitarian leadership is built upon the premise that humanitarian action should be led by local humanitarian actors whenever possible. When disasters strike, local people spring into action to save lives. They perform search-and rescue operations and first aid, and make sure there is food and shelter for their neighbors. They understand the languages, cultures, and geography of the disaster-affected areas. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave. In many cases, their local and national governments are ready and willing to lead the way on evacuations and aid delivery, and to collaborate in reducing future risks. In other words, many local and national responders are well qualified to take charge in times of crisis. But there are inequities in the humanitarian system: the UN and major international aid agencies receive the lion’s share of international funding for disaster responses, and with it an inordinate amount of decision-making power during emergencies.

Meanwhile, local leaders are often overlooked and overshadowed.

This needs to change.

The LHL COVID-19 Practice Group brings together local organizations and local actors from different countries to jointly inform COVID-19 response and advocacy work. The network is seeing the COVID-19 response as providing an opportunity to transform the humanitarian system to be more locally led.

About the LHL Covid-19 Network

The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored why transforming the humanitarian system to be more collaborative, inclusive, agile, diverse, and accountable to the ones most impacted by disasters – is crucial. The COVID-19 Practice Group brings together local organizations and local actors from different countries to jointly inform COVID-19 response and advocacy work. The network is seeing the COVID-19 response as providing an opportunity to transform the humanitarian system to be more locally led.

What is the LHL COVID 19 Practice Group?

Currently, there are 24 local and national NGOS and 29 Oxfam staff from across 24 countries who are members of the group. It has been generating informative 'products', e.g. sharings by partners on their COVID-19 response work (incl. work funded by Oxfam), identification of key challenges to local actors in COVID-19 response and collective discussion of solutions, sharing of interventions to address LNNGO and LHA business continuity, funding gaps as well as response interventions, and more. It is a safe space for discussion and collaboration, real time exchanges, and gathering of experiences, etc.

What is the purpose of the group?

The group aims to ensure that LHL approaches are considered & embedded in any Covid-19 related humanitarian preparedness, response and changing approaches. The scope can be country, regional and/or global depending on emerging needs. Core of the practice group is programmatic; however, it should inform/support the Influencing work where/when required.

Objectives

1. Listen & identify specific LHL entry points/approaches/ real time learning questions in relation to Covid-19 responses at various levels: country, regional, global

2. Support progress on LHL commitments in Covid-19 related preparedness & responses

3. Enable the mainstreaming of LHL principles and approaches in Covid-19 humanitarian preparedness, response initiatives & ways of working; strive for quality & relevance of humanitarian approach through the LHL lens .

4.Gather & exchange emerging knowledge and learning that is relevant to the LHL agenda in a changing humanitarian context/model

5. Scope future scenarios & possibilities on how Covid-19 might impact the humanitarian sector, particularly the localization/LHL agenda and potentially be an innovative force of proposition for new ideas/approaches etc.