Local First is an initiative that promotes prioritizing the views and leadership of local people and organizations in the countries affected by specific issues over those of outsiders from the international community in international development cooperation. Local First announced the release of their new book ‘Local First in Practice: Unlocking the power to get things done’, which showcases successful examples of locally-led development projects worldwide.
The book challenges the current status quo of the development sector that relies on a top-down approach, surpassing local capacity and resources. The study highlights that a donor-oriented approach creates a negative environment that is unsustainable for local agency and ownership. Donor-oriented approaches can also lead to inappropriate and misconceived interventions that end up exacerbating the very problems they aim to solve.
The term ‘local’ in the study constitutes a broader concept than its traditional meaning of ‘implementing partner’ or ‘aid receiver’. It is used to signify “entity whose ideas, capacity and resources drive the process and are integral to its success”. The book chronicles best practices from all over the world that are designed to guide international aid organizations and practitioners to operate in a more ‘locally led’ way.
The study is summarised in four themes that are designed to help development actors operate in a way that the book identifies as ‘locally led”:
- Theme 1: Identifying and supporting local capacity
- Theme 2: Listening to local voices to develop responses and approaches
- Theme 3: Using funding mechanisms that enable rather than distort local entities
- Theme 4: Supporting local actors to work together to achieve greater impact
The Local First initiative aims to create a community of practice among those in development cooperation who wish to see local people building their own better futures. The Hunger Project, being among the major proponents of local agency and ownership, appreciates the hard work and contribution of Local First for the advancement of and advocacy for locally led, bottom-up and sustainable development.
You can read the full study here!