+ Follow up: Localisation & Risk
Reading last week’s CID weekly and the IRIN report
on potential humanitarian trends for 2019, the following statement has elicited some discussion:
- Outsourcing of risk within localisation: There is a common assumption that local staff and organisation face fewer risks within insecure areas because they are local. But local actors actually carry the greatest risk and burden within violent emergencies already. The 2018 AWSR figures indicate that in 2017 ninety-one per cent of victims of major attacks were national aid workers.
When international aid organisations subcontract or undertake 'remote management' of donor-funded programmes to local groups – questions remain as to whether this might increase security risks and other moral quandaries. Localisation represents a shift in how we operationalise development and humanitarian work, and a nuanced understanding in real terms will need to anticipate otherwise unforeseen burdens for local actors, who might get an unfavourable deal with respect to safety and the management of risk.
Given the information available in the original (IRIN) article and the link, the data does not immediately give any guidance as to what we should do with respect to localisation of staff.
Data would be very helpful here.
It may be that the probability of a foreign
aid worker becoming the victim of violence in, say, South Sudan is 2% per year, and only 0.5% per year for local
aid workers. But if there are 50 times the number of local than foreign aid workers, of course, we will see more local victims than foreign victims.
While the real data and situation are somewhat unknown, there are implications on how we spend money for maximum good and minimum harm.
A quote from last week's AWSR link
provides further context for consideration;
"Because these attacks took place mostly in contexts of severely constrained access for international aid organisations, 2017 also saw a steep rise in the number of victims belonging to national and local NGOs, reflecting the near universal reliance on national staff and organisations to take on the riskiest of operational roles in the most insecure areas".
While we may not have the answer, we would like to thank Steve Hamlin from CWS for highlighting these points. CID welcomes all and any feedback so that we as a sector discuss and challenge salient and topical points.