The world is faced with unprecedented development and humanitarian challenges. Inequality, conflict, political instability, economic contractions, a global pandemic, and a rapidly changing climate force us to think differently about how we address these threats. As the gap widens between humanitarian and development needs and the resources available to address them, we are re-thinking how we work to better harness limited resources to save lives and ensure the rights of children everywhere.
Save the Children acts as an ally to children and local actors by elevating and strengthening their role and voice to drive sustainable impact. We believe that by shifting power and embracing localized approaches, Save the Children and the partners we work alongside – including children themselves – can better respond to increasingly dynamic development and humanitarian challenges and ensure that all children survive, are protected, and have healthy starts to life.
In 2022, Save the Children committed over $186.2 million USD to the local and national partners that we work with, representing 10.7% of our global portfolio. While not insignificant, it is also not enough – we aim to increase both the quality and quantity of funds transferred to local and national actors wherever we work.
Across Save the Children’s global Movement, we work with Children Parliaments, Child/Youth-led Organizations, and Children directly to better understand their needs and priorities. These inputs inform our strategy and the design and implementation of development and humanitarian initiatives in their respective communities.
This belief is not merely rhetorical. Save the Children’s approach to localization and shifting power is grounded in tangible actions enshrined in the guiding principles of our Localization Policy, operationalized in our current strategy as the Shift Power Enabler, and further demonstrated by our commitments to the Grand Bargain and Pledge for Change.
Seven Dimensions of Localization
In line with these commitments, Save the Children is actively engaged across all seven dimensions of localization to shift power and embed localized approaches in our ways of working:
In Somalia, Save the Children contributed $25,000 of its undesignated funding to cover the co-funding requirement of a proposal a local and national actor (L/NA) partner was pursuing as well as provided technical support for proposal development. The proposal was successful, and the partner was awarded 500,000 EUR in direct funding from a major bilateral donor.
In South Sudan, Save the Children International is overseeing the Local Response Pooled Fund (LRPF) dedicated to extending humanitarian funding to L/NA first responders. LRPF governance structures place L/NA in the lead, with full control over fund allocation and management in the hands of an entirely L/NA steering committee.
Save the Children is currently piloting a Partnerships Quality Marker (PQM) which aims to assess the degree to which, at the design stage, SC programs are laying the foundations for truly equitable partnerships that advance the leadership of L/NAs.
Save the Children is increasingly looking to partner with local primes, and actively learning from our experiences working with local primes in places like Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Nigeria, Tanzania, and more to improve our practices and ensure we can better support their leadership.
Save the Children has long been a leader in the facilitation of robust, tailored, and partner-led approaches to Organizational Capacity Strengthening (OCS) and has developed specific guidance and tools for delivering OCS approaches for networks and child-led organizations.
In Cote d’Ivoire, SC is delivering a Transition Award as part of a $100M USD HIV/AIDS prevention program. Local partners are supported to strengthen capacities needed to directly manage US funds and have since been transitioned to prime awardees with USAID.
In Indonesia, Save the Children created a Children & Youth Advisory Network (CYAN), with the mission to ensure the fulfillment of meaningful participation of children & youth (with access for young people from disability groups and diverse socio-economic backgrounds) in decision-making related to the lives of children & youth. CYAN was formed to ensure SC Indonesia can develop policies & programs through meaningful child & youth participation, and to promote development policies that are based on the best interest of children & youth. This includes child- and youth-led advocacy on climate, gender equality, and children’s rights policies up to the national level in Indonesia and even on the global scale.
As co-lead of the Global Education Cluster, Save the Children has worked alongside the Global Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR), Global Nutrition Cluster, Global WASH Cluster, and Street Child UK to develop and roll out the Inter-Agency Toolkit on Localization in Humanitarian Coordination (2022).
Save the Children is committed to ensure that Save the Children publications, communications, proposals, and reporting pay due respect to the contributions and leadership of L/NA partners in driving sustainable change in their communities. As part of the Partnership Quality Marker, currently being piloted, proposal teams will be specifically assessed on the degree to which partner contributions and leadership are made visible in the proposals we develop.
Save the Children is also developing additional localization communications guidance to ensure partners are included in external communications and that language used does not diminish their roles and leadership (either intentionally or unintentionally).
Save the Children is committed to ensuring the voice of the most marginalized children is heard by decision-makers at all levels. In line with this commitment, Save the Children has launched the Girl-Led Movement Building project to strengthen girl-led networks and increase girl’s civic and political leadership around the world.
In 2021, Save the Children Facilitated the participation of an L/NA partner – Gargaar Relief Development Organization (GREDO) – in a United States House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on locally-led development, providing direct input into the policy deliberations of the US Congress.
Save the Children hosted nine country-level roundtables for the Summit for Democracy, providing platforms for children and local civil society to speak directly to their governments about their top issues related to accountable governance and fulfillment of children’s rights in their country.
Prioritizing Youth Wellbeing in Democratic Republic of Congo with AJEDEC
In response to the growing issue of youth recruitment by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the national government established a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program in 2004. When Save the Children was charged with delivering the DDR program, one young organization stood out for its strong commitment to youth outreach and child protection work focused on the consequences of war on youth: the Association des Jeunes pour le Développement Communautaire (AJEDEC). Almost two decades on, AJEDEC remains a key partner and is now a recognized leader in the area of child protection, receiving funding directly from international organizations. Read more here
Creating Platforms for Children’s Voices Through Country-Level Roundtables
While promotion of human rights was at the top of the agenda at the first Summit for Democracy in 2021, there was limited conversation about children’s rights specifically, and very little opportunity to hear from children themselves. For the Summit for Democracy Year of Action in 2022, Save the Children hosted eight country roundtables, providing platforms for children and local civil society to speak directly to their governments about their top issues related to democratic strengthening and fulfillment of children’s rights in their country, including transparency and access to information, accountability for previously signed international commitments (e.g., the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Safe Schools declaration), public participation in decision-making, fair financing for children, climate justice, girls’ political leadership, and more.
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If you are interested in learning more about Save the Children's approach to localization and our Localization policy, please contact us:
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