The localisation agenda: How successful is it?

The localisation agenda: How successful is it?

3rd June 2015 remains a dark day for Ghanaians. This sad day was marked by a deadly flood caused by heavy torrential rains and a ghastly fire explosion at a filling station that claimed the lives of over 200 people in Accra (Acquah, 2017). Many were left in rage by the agony caused by the explosion of this filling station. Over 46,370 people were affected with about 187 houses partially or completely destroyed (Ibid).

The situation caused a pandemonium in Ghana and the world at large. Ghana was hit by one of the deadliest unexpected disasters in the history of the nation.

Amidst the chaos, Ghanaians braved the storm. Citizens aided the fire service to minimise the losses by putting off the fire. Citizens also assisted ambulance services to convey the lucky survivors to nearby treatment facilities.

Furthermore, Ghanaians, government agencies, corporate bodies and civil society organisations were at the forefront of mobilising resources locally to support survivors of this deadly incident.

For example, eight days after the incident, a collaboration between Citi FM, Metro TV – two leading media institutions in the country – and Fidelity Bank, mobilised resources that enabled them to provide relief items to some 8,000 persons who were woefully affected by the incident. They further mobilised 25,000 Ghana Cedis (approximately $5,000 USD) which they donated to the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) for onward disbursement to victims of the flood and fire disaster.

Also, Omni media donated 25,000 Ghana Cedis to NADMO to assist victims of the disaster. The Petroleum Ministry also donated 1.45 million Ghana Cedis to victims of the disaster.

The twin disaster attracted support from some neighbouring countries. The Republic of Benin, through its ambassador to Ghana, donated $200,000 USD to assist those affected by the disaster.

Overall, the victims were supported largely through humanitarian aid mobilised mainly in Ghana.

The response to the 3rd June twin disaster in Accra is one of many such unheard-of-responses steered in the global south despite their resounding gains in enhancing the quality of human lives and promoting human dignity.

It is obvious that humanitarian aid, whether globally or locally driven, contributes to save lives and alleviate sufferings of victims of disasters. When disasters strike, local actors or organisations play a key role to respond to them almost immediately. Locals have direct access and network to meet the needs of those who have been affected by disasters. They know and understand the local context, hence can quickly identify and respond to the urgent humanitarian needs. It is therefore without a doubt that local actors are a key instrument needed to sustain humanitarian responses.

However, donors seem to have failed to recognise and wholly appreciate the crucial place and role of local organisations in delivering direct response actions to victims of humanitarian disasters. This can be deduced from the meager resources allotted to local actors to counter the challenges posed by disasters or, more broadly, development challenges facing their communities.

A significant proportion of humanitarian aid is being channeled either through international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), a multilateral agency and or a United Nations (agency before reaching local organisations like NADMO. In some cases, the funds are sub granted to local organisations while in other instances, humanitarian support programmes are sub-contracted to local actors or worst off, local actors are used as implementing agents. Hence, the intermediary donor system.

This approach of delivering humanitarian aid breeds inequality which does not favour local organisations. It does not fully promote equal partnerships between INGOs and local actors. Also, it has not sufficiently ensured better coordination with local coordination mechanisms.

Furthermore, such a mechanism undermines the relevance of institutions like NADMO in Ghana and or other civil society organisations in the global south who are at the forefront of responding to disasters when they happen. The intermediary donor system further cripples local institutions, rendering them somewhat irrelevant or making them to be weaker vessels or underdogs in times of crucial humanitarian disasters that require their full responsive exuberance.

This is largely precipitated by the resource incapacitation of local actors. Given that INGOs and other intermediary actors are sufficiently resourced, they flaunt their resources to determine the pace with which local actors have to respond to the crises in their communities. They hold powerful levers to drive this and direct the localisation agenda to a trajectory that suits their interest, some of which are perceived to align with neo-colonial interests.

Also, donors and INGOs have the money. And given that money is power, they wield the power indiscriminately, giving less consideration to those whom the money is meant for.

As Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator explains:Despite good intentions, the humanitarian system is still set up to give people in need what international agencies and donors think is best, and what we have to offer, rather than giving people what they themselves say they most need.”

To address such, instruments such as the Grand Bargain Agreement, launched during the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, was put in place to facilitate access to resources by those who need it most. Specifically, it aims to ensure that an aggregate target of 25% of global humanitarian funding is channeled “as directly as possible” to local and national responders by 2020.

Is this happening? Unfortunately, not!

So, what way forward? Read part two of this series for more.

 

About the author

Jimm Chick Fomunjong is the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

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Jimm Chick Fomunjong

Jimm Chick Fomunjong is the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

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FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.

DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality.


Previously, Omolara served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

KWABENA KRODUAH

Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.

CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.