Paper: The tip of the iceberg? The growing recognition of non-traditional local actors and funding sources

Paper details

Paper authors Barnaby Willitts-King
In panel on Money Talks. Exploring Funding Solutions for Localized Humanitarian Response
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


The WHS Grand Bargain ‘localization’ target of 25% of funding going to national actors has focused attention on how to fund more locally. However its narrow focus risks underplaying the diversity of ways in which funding is already local – and how the international system has been slow to catch up. Recent HPG studies in Somalia and South Sudan show how the level of funding programmed by national actors – government and NGOs – is much higher than reported. Ongoing research is also looking at whether international assistance is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of a more diverse response that is not reflected in funding data, with ‘non-traditional’/informal actors such as faith groups, diaspora (through remittances), youth volunteers, the private sector and local government playing a significant role.

As well as non-traditional actors operating at local level, different sources of finance are also increasingly evident, from private sector funding and investment, to crowdfunding and social media sources.

This paper will outline trends observed in a number of contexts – and the gaps in our knowledge - to suggest a research agenda that can better elucidate the ways in which such diverse local and funding actors can be complemented by the international response and better reflected in resource tracking. We need to go beyond the Grand Bargain to a more expansive understanding of the opportunities and barriers to funding and reflecting a more localized humanitarian response.



Barnaby Willitts-king