Research Consultant – Localization Approach

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 18 February 2021

Job Description

Research Consultant – Localization Approach


In 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) examined the challenges facing the international humanitarian system in meeting unprecedented and growing humanitarian need. It reinforced ‘localization’ as a priority issue by compelling leading global donors, aid organizations, and NGOs to sign up to the Grand Bargain. Launched during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016, the Grand Bargain addresses not only the issue of the humanitarian funding gap, but more broadly the pursuit of international humanitarian action that is efficient, effective and fit-for-purpose. As part of the Grand Bargain process, the formal humanitarian sector has committed to steering more funding directly to local organizations as part of a dedicated localization work stream. In recent years, trends towards localization have also become increasingly prevalent in the development space as well, with an increasing number of donors committed to funding local partners and ChildFund Alliance members also prioritizing local partnerships.

The onset of COVID-19 has not only aggravated already existing challenges around the world, it also is contributing to a significant shift in the donor landscape. The need to understand better the local needs, challenges, and appropriate community-driven solutions has become even more important in the current operating environment. With travel restrictions, country specific quarantine measures, and constant resurgence of the pandemic across the globe, it has become even more important to consider a ‘localized’ approach.

Localization and relevance to ChildFund Alliance

The challenge for INGOs in trying to facilitate this process is to understand the implications of such a shift for the delivery of quality and principled humanitarian and development assistance. In particular, the ChildFund Alliance needs to understand better the implications of localization on its existing operational, program and membership structure. At the same time, we also need to recognize that for local and national NGOs, increasing funding and engagement requires consideration of a growing number of donor expectations related to risk, such as data protection, Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (PSEA), child safeguarding, managing staff safety and security, and financial due diligence. The consequences of taking on direct funding and managing risk can be heavy or even crippling for smaller organizations, and therefore developing strong partnerships that support these areas may in fact be preferable.

COVID-19 has changed the way the Alliance delivers development and humanitarian assistance, which has occurred during a time of widespread social movement. This presents an opportunity to reflect on how we deliver quality programs and align with global thinking around localization. Many other development and humanitarian agencies and networks are having similar reflections aimed at positioning and preparedness for new ways of working.

Scope of Work

ChildFund Alliance is seeking a consultant to carry out research on the impacts of increasingly ‘localized’ programming delivered across its programming regions and the implications of this trend on donor funding (both existing and new donors). The co-chairs of the Alliance Grant Support Committee, comprising technical representatives from all Alliance members, will oversee the research.

Specific objectives are:

a) Defining localization

Recognizing that different Alliance members and donors have different understandings of localization, the consultant will identify the different definitions and localization approaches including distinctions between ‘local entities’ and ‘local partners’ and work with the Alliance Grants Support Committee to agree on a common definition for the purpose of this paper.

b) Mapping key donor trends

The consultant will need to map existing donor trends in relation to localization in the key programming regions (Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East). This analysis should closely look at donor interest by thematic area, level of investment and future funding opportunities. The impact of COVID-19 needs to be taken into consideration. To better understand current challenges, the consultant may choose to carry out virtual consultations with relevant project management staff and key stakeholders.

c) Local funding models and capacity

The consultant will need to provide an overview of:

  • Existing funding models and whether they are fit-for-purpose for ChildFund Alliance: e.g., can they be used to deliver existing and/or new programs, are they adopted by donors?
  • Priority areas for capacity development (organizational and programmatic) at INGO and local actor level to support the localization agenda and how these can be addressed;
  • Intended long-term advantages and challenges of a localized approach for the Alliance, e.g., what are the opportunities and threats for the Alliance in pursuing such an approach?
  • Given the current context, how accountability commitments can be met and demonstrated remotely.

d) Provide advice and guidance on the potential implications for the ChildFund Alliance

The consultant should map out potential implications of localization across the ChildFund Alliance in relation to the current operational model. This should be broken down into benefits, challenges and proposed recommendations, with specific recommendations for key pre-selected countries. We suggest a draft action plan be prepared with short and long-term goals, which the consultant can finalize following consultation with the Grants Support Committee. Key questions to be covered include:

  • What is the appetite for risk amongst Alliance members regarding engagement and contractual arrangements between Alliance members and in-country partners?
  • What are the key implications in terms of operations, finance, and indirect cost-recovery for the existing ChildFund Alliance structure?
  • What does local registration actually mean and how does it extend to governance structures (to be explored in pre-selected priority countries)?
  • How does the trend toward localization align with other trends or challenges (e.g., reduced ICR and increased compliance measures)? Are there examples of donors moving in opposite directions?
  • Are any donors shifting their focus from project/activity support to providing core support for local organizations?

Timeframe and Deliverables

Activities are scheduled to take place between March and mid-May 2021. An indicative timetable for this work is provided below. (Note that actual dates are subject to discussion with the consultant)

Indicative dates & Outputs and Activities Number of Contracted Days*

Mid-March Finalization of contract (0)

TBC Induction chat with key ChildFund staff: context setting and sharing work plan (1)

TBC Desk review background documents (4)

TBC Virtual consultation with key country stakeholders and ChildFund project staff (5)

TBC Draft findings (2)

By mid-May Final report and recommendations matrix/action plan (4)

Total number of days 16

Expected deliverables are as follow:

· Summary of the key findings based on the initial desk review and virtual consultations

· Submission of draft report

· Submission of final report and draft action plan

Throughout the consultancy, the Grants Support Committee of the ChildFund Alliance will:

· Provide relevant background documents to the consultant

· Be available for meetings over Skype/phone when needed

· Organize virtual stakeholder consultations

The Consultant will report to the Co-Chairs of the Grants Support Committee. All reports and documents must be written in English and provided in an electronic format (Microsoft Word).

Required Qualifications and Experience

· University degree in social / development studies, or any other relevant areas.

· Significant experience in the design and implementation of research in a development context.

· Good knowledge of the ‘Grand Bargain’, localization agenda, and INGO structures.

· Working experience and/or knowledge of civil society on the national and local level.

· Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.

· Excellent analytical and report writing skills.

· Proven record of professional, timely and high-quality consultancy assignments in the development, humanitarian and/or non-profit sector.


The successful applicant will be required to comply with the ChildFund Alliance Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and to sign the Code of Conduct. If the consultant will be having direct, contact with children or having access to children’s personal information, a relevant Criminal Background Check must also be carried out.

The Parties shall treat all discussions and documents relating to this TOR as confidential. The ChildFund Alliance, its Board and staff make no express or implied representation or warranty as to the currency, reliability or completeness of the information contained in this TOR. Nothing in this TOR should be construed to give rise to any contractual obligations or rights, expressed or implied, by the issue of this TOR or the submission of an expression of interest in response to it. No contract will be created until a formal written contract is executed between ChildFund and a selected consultant.


Please submit your expression of interest (EOI), in English, to by 8 March 2021. The EOI should include the Consultant’s CV, technical and financial proposal based on the TORs, and availability between March and May 2021. Only finalists will be contacted.

About the Organization

ChildFund Alliance is a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. We help nearly 23 million children and their families in 70 countries to overcome poverty and the underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide our expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives. For more details, please see:

More information

2021 Feb__Localization Research TOR_FINAL.pdf

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