Engaging with the Humanitarian Localisation Agenda from ‘Below’ in Uganda

Policy brief

Viga, Emmanuel; Eria Serwajja; Hilde Refstie & Cindy Horst (2024) Engaging with the Humanitarian Localisation Agenda from ‘Below’ in Uganda, PRIO Policy Brief, 10. Oslo: PRIO.

The humanitarian localisation agenda aims to close financing gaps and increase efficiency and accountability of humanitarian action by directing more resources to local responders. This policy brief addresses the limited advancement of the localisation agenda since its 2016 inception by discussing the example of responses to protracted displacement of refugees in Uganda.

The brief highlights the important, but insufficiently recognised, role of local ‘civic humanitarians’ in localisation debates. Civic actors, including both host community and refugee-led groups, are deeply integrated into the social fabric of their societies through shared faith, community, ethnic or political affiliations. The brief highlights the potential benefits of engaging more systematically with them to further the localisation agenda.

At the same time, we critically examine Uganda's reputation as a refugee sanctuary as many international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are scaling back or shutting down operations in the country under the guise of the localisation agenda. While community-based initiatives play a central role in supporting refugees, they also need access to financing to fulfil their potential.

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