The Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Associations (CCRDA) established Humanitarian Forum on September 7, 2017.
The participants of the meeting organized by CCRDA to establish the forum unanimously appreciated CCRDA for taking the initiative to establish the forum. They all emphasized the need for the forum at a time where natural disasters occur more frequently than ever and when there is a need for localization of aid.
CCRDA Executive Director, Dr. Meshesha Shewarega said CSOs, particularly local NGOs, have challenges in addressing humanitarian crisis. He said CCRDA had included the Humanitarian Forum in its 2016-2020 strategic plan understanding the importance of the active involvement of CSOs in humanitarian issues. He noted that the global humanitarian architecture largely favors and supports INGOs. The Humanitarian Forum is important to build the capacity of local CSOs for they are in a better position for local resilience building.
Country Representative of Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, Dr. Feleke Tadele, said humanitarian response requires local resource mobilization. He further said that localization of aid is needed because heavily depending on International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) could make disasters to get out of hand and cause more destruction. He underscored the need for CSOs to work constructively with the government.
Helen Asnake from Christian Aid in her presentation noted that over the years major actors in global humanitarian system including UN agencies, USAID, INGOS had contributed 30 billion dollars to humanitarian needs; and, she added, only 2% of the 30 billion birr went to local actors. She stressed the need for localization of aid for local actors are in the country (close to their people) and can quickly respond during critical hours. “We need to bring forth local actors,” Helen said.
Daniel Gebremedhin from CAFOD, SCIAF, TROCAIR (CST), also underlined the need to shift the power to local actors as they are close to the problem. He said CST has a project aimed at shifting the power to local actors and is working with local partners.
During their discussion the participants of the meeting agreed that the establishment of the Humanitarian Forum by CCRDA was important and timely. They underlined that the forum would broaden its members’ engagement with the UN, the government, INGOs, the private sector as well as Community Based Organizations (CBOs).
Yibrah from relief Society of Tigray (REST) said that it was high time to establish the forum as the world is being affected by climate change more than ever and humanitarian crisis is rampant as a result. He said REST had already built its capacity in providing humanitarian support because it is close to the community and because it has strong ties with government bodies. Governments in some countries like India give NGOs the responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance and monitor them, he added. He further noted that the relationship between INGOs and local NGOs should also be strengthened.
While concluding the meeting Dr. Meshesha Shewarega said through the Humanitarian Forum CCRDA plans to build the capacity of local NGOs, avoid duplication of efforts, constructively engage with the government regarding localization of aid, work with local NGOs for local resilience building, and create a better space for local resource mobilization as dependency on international support is not a sustainable way of addressing humanitarian issues.
The participants finally selected the steering committee members of the CCRDA Humanitarian Forum.