Embedding localisation in the COVID-19 response


The benefits of local actors taking a leading role in crisis response and recovery are clear. But despite donors, agencies and international NGOs signing up to Grand Bargain commitments on localisation in 2016, it has remained a challenging agenda. Not least in relation to social protection and humanitarian cash and voucher assistance. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to empower local actors more than ever – not just in relation to immediate cash response but also through embedding their role in longer term social protection systems building. To ensure the resulting opportunities for enhanced localisation are realised sustainably, it is important that we both:

  • Promote access to practical guidance on integrating local actors into social protection and humanitarian cash responses to COVID-19; and

  • Learn lessons in real time from those contexts where local actors are already critical players in the COVID-19 cash response.


This webinar supported both these objectives through:

  1. Presenting the core considerations outlined in the SPACE Guidance Note on Embedding Localisation in the COVID-19 cash response;

  2. Inviting reflections from some grass-roots actors as well as those focused on embedding localisation within government systems; and

  3. Opening up the floor for questions and discussion.


The presentations and discussion were framed around the following questions:

  • In what ways does the COVID-19 pandemic provide opportunities and entry points for enhancing the role of local actors in immediate cash response and beyond? 

  • What are the benefits and challenges of working in this way – as experienced by different actors including beneficiaries, civil society and donors?

  • To what extent is localisation in the cash response to COVID-19 resulting in devolution of decision-making as well as implementation?

  • What are the core principles of localisation we should be considering along the delivery chain of any COVID-19 cash response?

  • What does this mean in practice when designing a response?



Courtenay Cabot Venton – SPACE
Maureen Andinda – Reach a Hand Uganda
Shiro Wachira – GiveDirectly
Joe Powell – Open Government Partnership



Michael Mosselmans – Christian Aid



Kristin Smart – Oxfam


This is was the thirty-second webinar of the “Social protection responses to COVID-19” webinar series. The series is a joint effort initiated by the IPC-IGGIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Australia Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) collaboration with the socialprotection.org platform, and in cooperation with partners from different organisations.

Join the online community ''Social protection responses to COVID-19 [Task force]'' if you want to learn more about the initiative, and make sure to attend the Global e-Conference “Turning the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity: what’s next for social protection?“ on 5, 6 and 8 October, marking the closing of the webinar series and offering the opportunity to discuss the future of social protection in the post-pandemic scenario.