Local organisations such as National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and national NGOs are among the first responders to disasters and outbreaks of violence. The recent Global Humanitarian Assistance report stated however that a mere 0.4% of humanitarian aid is channelled directly to national NGOs and Civil Society organisations.
The Charter for Change is an initiative that aims to shift the way the humanitarian system operates to enable southern-based national actors to play an increased and more prominent role in humanitarian response.
International NGOs are encouraged to play an active part in this shift towards a more locally-driven humanitarian system by changing the way that they work. The 8-point Charter for Change outlines a number of commitments intended to strengthen the capacity of local actors, increase transparency within the sector and emphasise the importance of national actors in humanitarian response. Alongside advocacy to governments which are humanitarian donors, those signed up to the charter have committed that by May 2018, two years after the World Humanitarian Summit, they will pass on at least 20% of their own humanitarian funding directly to southern-based NGOs.
The Charter for Change was launched in July 2015 by CAFOD, Christian Aid, DanChurchAid and ADESO and has now been signed by 29 INGOs (including Oxfam, CARE, and Islamic Relief) and endorsed by more than 125 national organisations and networks from across the globe. See all signatories and endorsements: http://charter4change.org
The Charter for Change includes 8 Commitments that INGOs agree to implement by May 2018 to change the way they work with and relate to national organisations:
Direct Funding: Commit to pass 20% of humanitarian funding to national NGOs
Partnership: Reaffirm principles of partnership
Transparency: Publish the amount or percentage of funding that is passed to national NGOs
Recruitment: Address and prevent the negative impact of recruiting national NGO staff during emergencies
Advocacy: Emphasise the importance of national actors to humanitarian donors
Equality: Address subcontracting and ensure equality in decision-making
Support: Provide robust organisational support and capacity building
Promotion: Promote the role of local actors to media and public
For clarity the Charter has used the GHA categorisation which defines 5 categories of NGOs: international NGOs, southern international NGOs, affiliated national NGOs (which are part of an INGO family), national NGOs and local NGOs.