Ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit next week, discussions are ramping up within the aid community about how to open up to smaller, local actors. High-level politicking may make wholesale change difficult, but experts tell Devex that there are ways of putting reforms into practice at the grass-roots level, where programs are unfolding every day.
As the eyes and the ears of their organizations, aid workers have the power to re-orientate and reorganize things from the ground. Devex spoke with three humanitarian professionals, including the author of a recent report, to suggest six practical steps aid workers can take to work toward reform.
Christina Bennett, co-author of the Overseas Development Institute’s report “Time to Let Go,” suggests one simple tweak: drop the words “development” and “humanitarian” and think in terms of short-, mid- and long-term instead. Madara Hettiarachchi, head of humanitarian programs Asia and Middle East at Christian Aid, believes that preparedness is the key to a more inclusive response. Saman A. Majed — general director of REACH, a local NGO in Iraq working with refugees in the area with partners such as UNHCR, Christian Aid and Oxfam — thinks that it is fundamental that the relationships between local and international organizations become sustainable and reciprocal. Read More.