How does ICCO Implement its Charter 4 Change Commitments to Improve Localization?
The Charter for Change (C4C) is an initiative aiming to increase localization efforts in the humanitarian system working with local and international organisations. ICCO is one of the signatories to C4C aiming to increase its efforts on localization. This is important, because localization can increase humanitarian response’s effectiveness and efficiency on vulnerable communities and decrease inequality in the global humanitarian system.
Recently I had a meeting with Kingsley Okpabi, programme manager of ICCO’s local partner in Nigeria, Jireh Doo Foundation (JDF). We talked about the localization efforts of ICCO in the context of the C4C commitments. Let me highlight some important improvements that ICCO and JDF made in the past year. You can find the 8 C4C commitments and its good practices from different countries here. With these commitments signatories measure their achievements on localization.
Commitment 2 of the C4C is addressing the principles of partnership (equality, transparency, result-oriented approach, responsibility and complementarity) and commitment 6 is aiming to improve equality between local and international organisations and local partners’ participation in decision-making processes. Kingsley gave examples of the application of these commitments as “local actors and partners have now opportunities to equip themselves better. We have improved our humanitarian response through communicating with other local partners in different countries and also international organisations directly”. This is a result of the long lasting partnership between ICCO and JDF, where funding is granted for a longer period than just one year.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs also showed their interest in these two C4C commitments. To give more visibility to local partners and involve them in decision-making in more equal manners, on the 1st of July they invited JDF to the online meeting with the Ministry as a partner of ICCO. Kingsley mentioned that in this meeting the Ministry was very interested in how southern NGOs are working in the Covid-19 crisis, what is needed in the field and how localization effort increased their efficiency on humanitarian response in Nigeria. Kingsley continued that “over the years, ICCO’s mission of giving more powers and voices to local partners, resulted in more ownership at local level. They also gave us capacity support to implement projects. These allowed us to have much more flexibility and do more efficient humanitarian response which is crucial in this Covid-19 context”.
Kingsley said that “local NGOs should be listened to even more. They are close to the field and know the local context better than international NGOs, so they can be more impactful”. Kingsley mentioned that this localization effort should continue to spread and be longer-term through signatures of other international organisations to the C4C commitments. He stated that sharing experiences and addressing challenges with other local NGOs in a Local Advisory Group to the Dutch Relief Alliance, co-facilitated by ICCO, is very interactive and engaging. Kingsley finished his speech saying with ICCO’s implementation of C4C’s Commitment 2, his organisation could have a platform to engage with other local partners and international organisations to join decision-making. They have been involved in partnership policies in a more transparent way with increasing localization effort.
Jireh Doo Foundation’s example shows us localization is a joint effort between international and local organisations, in which the C4C is an important driver to do localization in long-term and not just on policy level, but also to practice it in partnerships.