What localization means for your development organization

Many of the world’s top donor agencies have undergone a series of policy and procurement reforms over the past several years.

One key element of these reforms is an increasing push to go local — that is move funding, contracting and leadership to the local level where development really happens.

There’s been a lot of uncertainty and debate around development localization and its business implications for donors, global implementers and local organizations.

In this business-focused Hangout, Devex Director of Global Advisory and Analysis Pete Troilo begins to explore the realities and requirements of development localization in the context of these three important groups.

For international donors, localization may help eliminate costly parallel systems, strengthen local institutions and delivery mechanisms and achieve value for money, allowing developing countries to take charge of their own development.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s plan to channel 30 percent of its foreign aid directly through local institutions by 2015 is being watched closely across the global development community as it could shift the way contracting is performed at the agency. Other major donors have set their own localization policies and targets.

Major global health initiatives and institutions such as PEPFAR, or the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have embedded the principles of local ownership and sustainability into the vast majority of their programs, helping to tell the story of development localization.

Further, while some global implementers see localization as a challenge, there is reason to believe they can thrive in this new environment. Particularly, more local contracting and even on-budget support will open up opportunities for global implementing partners to build capacity within local groups.

At the same time, local groups should be positioning themselves to take advantage of localization and secure more donor funding by actively learning global best practices so they can then apply them effectively to local conditions. They should also be investing now to elevate their business development and donor compliance capability.

Devex will continue this conversation during our first-ever International Development Partnership Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, on Oct. 16, 2013.

The event will bring leaders of local East Africa-based organizations together with global development implementers to strengthen their networks and focus on the practical requirements of localization.

Please apply to attend and join us. We hope to see you there.

Learn more and sign up to attend or exhibit at the Devex 2013 Partnerships Forum & Career Fair in Nairobi.

About the author

  • Aimee Rae Ocampo

    As former Devex editor for business insight, Aimee created and managed multimedia content and cutting-edge analysis for executives in international development.