Impact Practitioners

How can we achieve locally led practice in international development?

By 25/04/2024

This 70-page report published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) sets out the key issues in the localisation agenda. It concludes with a series of recommendations to international actors who want to successfully push the localisation agenda. 

Localisation and locally led international development practice is widely talked about, but it has still not been delivered. This review talks about the barriers and challenges to localisation, and aims to help create systemic change in knowledge synthesis and future advocacy.

Section two of the review goes on to set out a framework for analysing localisation efforts. Additionally, this section stresses the importance of viewing localisation as a journey towards the goal of locally led practice.

Section three describes the barriers to implementing the localisation agenda, from the perspective of both Global North and Global South actors. The challenges broadly relate to resources, ways of being, and agency, with a focus on the need to ‘shift power’ to local actors.

Section four examines several models and approaches to localisation efforts. The report identifies four purposes that should be pursued by organisations:

  • Movement-building and collective advocacy. This can reinforce and strengthen agency across organisations in the Global South, as well as the importance of respecting ways of being.
  • Shifting quality funding to the Global South. Mechanisms to shift more and better quality funding from the Global North to the Global South is crucial to supporting locally led practice.
  • Knowledge creation and sharing.This can enhance understanding of different approaches to locally led practice in a range of contexts.
  • Supporting proximate leadership. This can generate a greater sense of collective agency in advocating for locally led practice, and cultivate respect for different approaches.

Overall, the report recommends that international actors learn from and accelerate intitiatives that already exist; transfer greater resources to local actors; respect local actors’ ways of being; and let Global South actors lead the campaign to promote localisation and locally led practice.

This article is part of our initiative, R2A Impact Practitioners. To find out more, please click here.