As seen onFavicon for

The challenges of localised aid in conflict

On 29 December 2016, ALNAP and MSF convened a panel of expert observers and practitioners to discuss and debate the operational challenges to locally-led responses in conflict and highly politicised environments. Here's a quick summary of how the event unfolded.


  1. Informed by new research from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) the discussion asked: what are the practical implications of locally-led responses in acute conflicts? What are the key issues to overcome? How can we ensure that locally-led responses conform with key humanitarian principles?
  2. Ed Schenkenberg, Executive Director of HERE Geneva and author of MSF's 'Emergency gap: The challenges of localised humanitarian aid', presented the key findings of the paper:
  3. Watch Ed's presentation here.

    Ed noted that the paper had received significant activity on social media, both positive and critical. He welcomed this, pointing out that the paper seeks to create a space for having a real debate, based on the reality on the ground.
  4. Prior to the event, the paper and the issues it raised divided commentators and generated heated discussion on Twitter
  5. Expanding on the themes in the paper Teresa Sancristoval, Emergency Desk Manager at MSF, spoke about some of the key operational challenges faced by local actors, and the way in which the pressures upon and abilities of local actors differ from their international counterparts.
  6. Presenting a different perspective, Charlie Rowley, Interim Coordinator of Oxfam's Humanitarian Capacity Development Team, posed the question of whether there was an issue around risk transfer. Local actors might be able to access areas where international organisations wouldn't be willing or able to reach - might they experience different pressures in such a scenario?

    Charlie also went on to discuss the criteria Oxfam use in order to select local partners, and the ways in they ensure they adhere to core humanitarian principles.
  7. Luz Saavedra, a former Research Fellow at ALNAP, spoke about her research with ALNAP into national and local NGOs, which sought to find out more about the work they do in disaster and emergency response, from their perspective.