The future of aid is the end of it

Posted on: August 4, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

The future of aid is the end of it: the bigger picture of aid localisation Insights by Arbie Baguios The World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 called for aid localisation. Although by how this phrase is often used one would think aid is yet to be ‘localised,’ when in fact, according to ALNAP’s State of the Humanitarian System report in 2015, 80% of the 4,278 registered NGOs worldwide are national organisations, and 87% of the 249,000 aid workers are local or national staff. What the summit actually called for was to increase the share that local humanitarian actors receive out of the global aid budget. Despite local actors being the fastest and most effective aid providers, the Global Humanitarian Assistance report found that in 2016 they directly received a meagre 0.3% out of the USD 27.3bn global spend on aid. Aid is already ‘localised’ – power within the aid sector is…

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Non-local local?

Posted on: June 28, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

Non-local local? This is a follow-up to my last post and also a prelude to my next where I’ll examine the qualitative data from the last two questions on our survey of Filipino aid and development workers.  Arbie and I are almost done with the series and are beginning the process of summarizing. Non-local local Looked at from afar most phenomena may appear monolithic, but the closer one gets the more diverse and nuanced the object of your observation becomes. So it is with ‘local’ aid and development workers. Though I want to think I knew this already, the following comment from a young male Filipino aid worker employed by an INGO made me realize more explicitly something that is now embarrassingly obvious, namely that all ‘local’ aid workers are not, well, local. “As an aid worker, you can be stationed away from your family and thus you feel lonely and homesick. Your co-workers…

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‘Localization’ and brain-drain in the Philippines (and elsewhere)

Posted on: June 2, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

 ‘Localization’ and brain-drain in the Philippines (and elsewhere) This is a followup post to one I wrote several weeks ago about what ‘localization’ means in the Filipino context. Sobering to say, recent events in Manila and in Marawi are now testing the resiliency of Filipino culture and the mettle of the civil sector, including humanitarians. An even closer look at the response seems ever more urgent.  In the meantime, here are some further thoughts on ‘localization.’ The UK based Start Network defines the term ‘localization’ here as “a series of measures which different constituent parts of the international humanitarian system should adopt in order to re-balance the system more in favour of national actors, so that a re-calibrated system works to the relevant strengths of its constituent parts and enhances partnership approaches to humanitarian action.”  Their mission, in part, is to foster, “…a system that reduces the power of centralised institutions and bureaucrats and gives more control to communities…

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What is corruption?

Posted on: May 27, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

“One man’s corruption is another man’s wealth redistribution system. I find it hard to judge others on this.” What is corruption? This is pretty much low hanging fruit, I know, and way past due. Impacting how the aid sector responds to corruption My simple thesis in this post is that as the entire humanitarian sector deals with corruption of various kinds, the Trump administration, a perfect example of what some might call nepotism, is providing a model -justification?- for other leaders around the world thus making it ever more difficult for aid workers at all levels to confront these behaviors. The negative, unintended consequence of this US example is that it gives great support to arguments -at all levels, from the village to the Presidency-  that hiring family and friends despite lack of qualifications is acceptable. This NY Times story puts Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in the middle of the Russia investigation, and provides an…

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How the sector can be more effective in improving the lives of Filipinos?

Posted on: May 22, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

“Put more effort and energy into localization and building the capacity of local NGOs/CSOs to lead humanitarian and development work.” “Listen to the people always.” Local Aid Worker Voices This series reporting on a survey of Filipino aid and development workers is now extensive, with a dozen posts totaling well over 10,000 words.  Though each post can stand alone, I invite you to scroll down and read the entire series started about six weeks ago.  Our end point is getting near and a final ‘executive summary’ article will be drafted in the coming weeks. Before starting these last posts, I thought some ‘35,000 feet’ comments were in order. Cultural context matters The efforts of aid and development workers are best understood through a sociocultural lens that takes into consideration -in equal measure- important historical narratives, global influences, and current political, social, and environmental factors.  Though not exclusively, in many locations the international aid sector can be and…

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Security for both local and expat aid workers in the Philippines

Posted on: May 17, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

Perceptions of risk security for both local and expat aid workers in the Philippines Some background Security has always been an issue for aid workers, and beginning in the mid-1990’s programs like Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT),  Hostile Environments & Emergency First Aid Training (HEFAT) and Security Risk Management Training (SRMT) have increasingly been in-house operations in many larger INGO’s.  Many organizations outsource this training to some well established non-profits, and there are independent training opportunities geared to the aid sector for smaller organizations as well.  Outside of the sector, media organizations and transnational corporations have parallel programs, see here and here for examples. Despite training and a long term array of well intended actions there is still danger for both local and international aid workers that can become too much to bear. The most extreme example in sector history arguably being MSF pulling put of Somalia in 2013 after 22+ years of presence due to killings and kidnappings. Historically the security…

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Motives and impact of INGO’s: Filipino perceptions

Posted on: May 11, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

Motives and impact of INGO’s:  Filipino perceptions “International Organizations paved a great impact in one’s life.. it has the power to reform and help unfortunate people and save lives. It has an overall positive impact in the Phillippines specially during disasters like Yolanda 3 years ago.” -female aid  worker, HQ based in the Philippines Why are you here? As a follow up to the last post discussing ‘Localization’ in the Philippines, here are data from two related questions.  This first one allowed the respondents to opine as to the motivations of INGO’s, and the results are pretty positive with the overwhelming majority -77%- indicating that “They have good intentions and genuinely want to help.”  The glass half empty interpretation, though, is that a sizable percentage -nearly one in four- questioned the motivations.  This question certainly merits  follow-up. But are the INGO’s helping to move the needle in a positive direction?  84% indicated yes,…

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“Localization’ in the Philippines

Posted on: May 7, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

“Aside from local donors, the funding source come from the international aid organization. Genuine partnership between local and international organization is still a work in progress.” -female aid worker, working for national organization (HQ based in the Philippines)   The Grand Bargain How can we move toward a sector that is more ‘localized?’  With some fanfare this question was addressed last May at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.  Although some have stressed that The Grand Bargain  was intended for mostly aid work -response to natural and human made disasters, etc.- the language infers that there remains a blurring between ‘aid’ and ‘development’ work. One passage reads, “Its purpose is to ensure that we are able to anticipate and prepare for crises, that we can deliver protection and assistance better to the most vulnerable and that we can restore opportunity and dignity to them.” Within the Grand Bargain document policy commitment…

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The local – expat relationship: its complicated.

Posted on: May 3, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

“Expat dev workers, after a day or two in the PH, believe they know what’s bugging the country.” -veteran male Filipino aid worker The local – expat relationship Context Here we continue to explore the results of our survey of Filipino aid and development workers.  Look here and here and here and here and here for our preious posts and here for our methodology notes. As we get to the end of our data analysis we will write one ‘executive summary’ report, likely in several weeks.  Our ultimate goal is to have the full results presented in article form. How locals think they are viewed by expats One of the main goals of our survey was to explore the relationship between local aid and development workers and their expat colleagues.  Here is some of what we found. Most of our sample (64%) work directly with expats in the same office or space and the vast…

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Some results related to gender and LGBTQ

Posted on: April 28, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Filipino Aid Workers

Some results related to gender and LGBTQ Intro Though there is much more data to sift through, this post will continue to add more depth to the picture of what aid and development workers in the Philippines think about a variety of issues.  Go here if you want to learn about our methodology and the demographics of our respondents. Background:  gender equity in the Philippines According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Global Gender Gap 2016 report the Philippines ranked an impressive 7th out of 144 nations, number one in Asia, and has a long history as a matriarchal society predating colonial times.  Just for comparison sake, you’ll find the UK at number 20 and the US at 45 in that list of 144 nations.  Holding on to ‘last’ place in the WEF rankings, currently facing historic catastrophic humanitarian issues, is Yemen. Much has been written about the impact of gender in the Philippines, and…

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