The humanitarian sector has long promised to give local aid organizations more power and resources. Yet reforms are not forthcoming. During this edition of Humanitarian Hot Topics, we spoke with humanitarian expert Jemilah Mahmood about the effects of this decision and why real reforms on shifting powers between international and local aid organisations are not being made.
For a long time ‘localization’ has been a hot topic for the humanitarian sector. During the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, the world’s largest donors and humanitarian organizations promised to place more power – and funding – in the hands of local aid organizations. But real reforms are lagging behind. When a disaster has occurred, international organizations still overshadow national aid organizations. National governments are increasingly resisting this. For example, the Indonesian government after the tsunami in September 2018. All international aid workers had to leave Sulawesi and leave the aid to national aid workers.
We spoke with Jemilah Mahmood about the effects of the decision of the Indonesian government and the relationship between international and local aid organizations. Jemilah has a lot of experience in the humanitarian sector, both locally and internationally. Like no other, she can explain why it is so complicated to change the relationships between international and local aid organizations.