8.5 Access to Humanitarian Funding – Supporting National and Local Organizations
  • 07 Dec 2023
  • 4 Minutes to read
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8.5 Access to Humanitarian Funding – Supporting National and Local Organizations

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Article summary

National and local organisations play an important role in any emergency food security response. They are often the only agencies working in isolated, hard-to-reach, insecure areas and have distinct advantages compared to their international counterparts as they have a nuanced knowledge of the context, are geographically close to crisis affected communities, and can respond rapidly to meet the needs of people.

However, despite the broad recognition that humanitarian interventions should be ‘as local as possible and only as international as necessary’ (see 10.3 on localisation), many local and national actors (L/NAs) face challenges in accessing humanitarian funding. This may be due to concerns about their institutional and operational capacities (which may prevent some donor governments from funding them directly) or due to limited experience with cluster coordination and humanitarian finance instruments.  

What is the Role of the FSC Coordinator? The Coordinator should consider the following to enhance funding opportunities for L/NAs:
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Participation in Appeals and Humanitarian Pooled Funds (HPF): 

  • Advocate for and support L/NAs to have projects included in the Flash appeal and/or HRP and, where relevant, to be represented in the associated project review processes (see 9.5).  
  • Encourage the participation of national partners and support them to have projects funded through pooled funds mechanisms(and be represented in the review process): 
    • CBPF: Although the overarching aim of CBPFs is to support partners best placed to respond in a timely, efficient, and accountable manner, localisation is recognized as a secondary aim. The Coordinator can thus play an important role in advocating for food security L/NAs. The HCT may set an official target (percentage) of funds to go to L/NAs. Alternatively, it is important to ensure a fair distribution (this can be discussed with the SAG). However, whilst promoting local FSC partners, the Coordinator also has to be mindful to remain neutral and to find a balance between applying agencies (UN, NGOs, NNGOs).
    • CERF: In the CERF process, if relevant and possible, the Coordinator can advocate for L/NAs with required capacity, to be implementing partners. 
  • Inclusivity, Transparency and Information Dissemination:  
    • Keep all national partners informed of opportunities to access humanitarian funding and widely disseminate any calls for proposals, and invites for relevant meetings, OCHA trainings (on the CBPF process etc, HRP , OPS etc.).  
    • Improve inclusivity and transparency by clarifying the process to all national partners and supporting national and local NGOs to submit quality proposals to the pooled funds (as well as the HRP ) in line with international, national and cluster standards and best practice.
      This can be achieved by: 
      • Developing clear FSC guidance on the mechanisms and processes (as relevant in a specific country) as well as provide clear definitions of the scope of the funds and provide clear FSC objectives, priorities and requirements for funding. Where possible, these should be available in the local language.  
      • Providing mini workshops, training, one-to-one guidance and jointly review proposals.  


  • Encourage L/NAs to participate in overall FSC advocacy activities (8.2.2). 
  • Identify local partners who do not have an external donor and advocate with donors to support these (where programme quality is satisfactory).  
  • Encourage FSC INGO partners to introduce national NGOs to donors to facilitate direct funding.
  • With OCHA and INGO partners, where possible and relevant, facilitate regular networking opportunities to ensure national NGO voices are heard, discuss how to strengthen the participation of local actors in the response, and facilitate their access to funding.   
  • The CLAs, with Coordinator support, can explore opportunities for funding NGO co-facilitation and advocate for this with donors.   

Partnerships and Capacity Strengthening in relation to the Resource Mobilisation: 

  • Encourage the development of partnerships between some of the larger agencies so that grants may be channelled through larger NGOs. 
  • Facilitate the provision of guidance for L/NAs on all aspects of the HPC, for example through workshops (given by FSC team, FSC partners or OCHA) and encourage larger organisations to provide mentorship and guidance for smaller L/NAs. See more on capacity strengthening in 3.7. 

See more on localization and on the concrete steps the Coordinator can take to remove barriers for L/NAs in 10.3.

TIP: Funding has often been cited by L/NAs as a key motivation for joining a cluster. It is recommended that the Coordinator explains the funding processes and opportunities (and limitations) to avoid disappointment when national NGOs are expected to contribute information to funding appeals without seeing immediate benefits. 


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