Elevating Education in Emergencies: Rethinking and Reshaping Partnerships with Local Actors

Localisation is the process of transforming humanitarian assistance to be “as local as possible and as international as necessary”. Detailed interpretation of what localisation means has largely been left to individual stakeholders, although there is a general consensus through the Grand Bargain that local people and organisations should play a more significant role in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian action in their communities.

Coordinating a collaborative response bringing together local actors and organisations alongside international entities not only facilitates the transition out of emergency response, but also allows for a more targeted and effective response to meet education needs. Local people and organisations have a better understanding of the context and access to affected communities. Currently, local actors account for around 55 per cent of cluster membership. Local actors are central to the humanitarian education service delivery model, and any effort to expand the sector’s coverage. They often have greater access (although often because they also take greater risks), and their contextual awareness allows them to offer more tailor-made solutions; in most cases, their operations are also less expensive.

While the role of local partners in education and other basic service delivery has been well documented and debated, the role of education clusters in localisation is often less well understood. Considering this, the third instalment in the Elevating Education in Emergencies series explored how education clusters and coordination mechanisms can contribute to and accelerate achievement of the Grand Bargain commitments relating to localisation – particularly moving towards greater local leadership, promoting more principled partnership approaches and systematic approaches to institutional capacity strengthening.

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