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Localising aid


Hero image description: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Image credit:Flickr/Adam Thyer Image license:ODI given rights for use on localising aid project

In 2012, ODI began investigating one of the most debated issues in aid effectiveness: whether and how to provide funds directly to local actors. Through literature analyses, country visits (Guatemala, Liberia and Uganda) and interviews, the project has sought to:

  • Analyse the value of localising aid for strengthening systems and organisations in recipient countries.

  • Give preliminary guidance to donors on how to localise their aid most effectively.

  • Assess any supply-side blockages to localising aid, particularly perceptions of risk.

Ten headline messages have emerged from the research:

  1. Localising aid to the state can work in all country contexts.

  2. There is mixed evidence on the overall importance of localising aid.

  3. Most donors should localise more aid.

  4. More aid should be localised to the private sector.

  5. International civil society organisations have an important role to play.

  6. There is more than one route to aid effectiveness.

  7. Localised aid is no more risky than non-localised aid.

  8. Information is still very poorly shared.

  9. The complexity of systemic change should be operationalised by donor agencies.

  10. Donors should focus more on principles and human capital than rules.


Alastair McKechnie; Gideon Rabinowitz; Ahmed Ali; Fiona Davies

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