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Who Represents Whom? A Conversation on Decolonizing Humanitarian Governance

The Black Lives Matter movement, #AidToo, and the failure to support locally-led responses during COVID-19 have spotlighted power imbalances in the humanitarian sector. Whether between large NGOs and local organizations, or crisis-affected populations, there are limited ways for people to participate in decisions that affect them, particularly those on the frontline.

In Aceh, Indonesia, villagers exchange their vouchers for goods at the local markets.

Turning the Grand Bargain Upside Down: Views from Indonesia

Past humanitarian reform agendas have continually emphasised the need for humanitarian response to be locally owned. But for two decades, attempts to systematically elevate the representation, participation, and power of local actors have fallen short; donor governments still have an incentive to channel their funding through large international organizations.

An image of a town in Afghanistan with a mountain range in the background.

Local Voices: Learning from an Inclusive Humanitarian Coordination Model in Afghanistan

Coordination is essential to effective humanitarian action. As a recent policy paper argues, an area-based approach would better align humanitarian action around the needs of crisis-affected people – compared to the cluster system. To understand how this approach operates at the local level and its benefits and challenges, Patrick Saez spoke with Noorina Ani, Abdul Wodood Elemyar, Farkhunda Samsoor and Jahanzeb Daudzai of NRC Afghanistan about their experiences with the “Urban Displacement Out of Camps” programme.

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