Why organizations need to stop hiring expats and start hiring more local staff

A World Neighbors staff member educates women on setting up a savings and credit group. Photo by: World Neighbors

The localization of aid and increase of local staff capacity has a host of benefits, including greater longevity of project impact, gaining local knowledge, and the growth of skills and opportunities for local populations. A long-discussed topic in development, there are fears that localization efforts are losing steam, with many organizations still employing expats to lead programs or fill short-term consultancy gigs.

The Grand Bargain agreement — set up in 2016 and endorsed by more than 30 major aid donors and organizations — supports the hiring of more local and national responders as part of the commitment toward the localization of emergency aid work. The World Bank and a number of arms of the United Nations are partners in the initiative — but there has been some discontent around the progress.

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About the author

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    Lottie Watters

    Lottie Watters is a Reporting and Communications Associate based in Barcelona. She focuses on bringing the latest career and hiring trends, tips, and insights to Devex’s global development audience. Lottie is a recent graduate with a background in geography and journalism, taking a particular interest in grassroots international development projects. She has worked with organizations delivering clean water and sanitation projects globally.