Oxfam Moves to Strengthen Capacity of Local Humanitarian Actors

The project is funded by IKEA Foundation in Netherlands

Oxfam Uganda has launched an innovative project that aims at strengthening the capacity of local and national humanitarian actors to take lead in Uganda’s humanitarian response.

Entitled Empowering Local and National Humanitarian Actors (ELNHA), more about the project is premised on a study titled Fresh analysis of the Uganda humanitarian capacity.

The study highlighted the fact that international actors dominate the humanitarian scene noting that there is need for all stakeholders, both local and international, to draw a plan that will actively involve more local and national actors in humanitarian planning, readiness and preparedness as well as to provide affordable and more sustainable humanitarian response.

The ELNHA project launch also comes at the back drop of an influx of South Sudan refugees to West Nile in the North western part of Uganda as fresh fighting broke out in July this year.

The project will run for three years and targets that by the end of 2018, local and national humanitarian actors will have the capacity to design, deliver and lead in humanitarian preparedness and response in Uganda.

Speaking during the launch, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness And Refugees, Hon Hillary Onek, who represented the Prime Minister highlighted Uganda’s progressive refugee policies to guide disaster preparedness and response such as the “national policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management -2010.

“As government, we appreciate effective humanitarian preparedness and response requires a multi stakeholder approach, which is why as government, we applaud this convening role that Oxfam has adopted,” he said.

He called upon humanitarian actors to emulate this example and dedicate more resources to local humanitarian actors such as NGOs, private sector, national and local government.

Hon Onek noted that while the government recognizes the financial and technical support that UN Agencies and International NGO’s have accorded Uganda during humanitarian crises, local and national humanitarian actors can greatly contribute to bridging the financial and technical humanitarian gap and challenges as it is more efficient, cost effective and sustainable.

“Local and national actors have a deep understanding of the context and the needs of the communities since they work closely with them and are able to link the short-term humanitarian assistance with long-term development towards building resilient communities.”

He however cautioned that transforming the potential of Local and National Actors into reality needs robust and overt steps aimed at building their capacity to include: Financial support, training on the technicalities of emergency interventions and institutionalized and systematic inclusion of local actors.

Peter Kamalingin, Country Director Oxfam in Uganda noted that ‘Over the last 3-4 years, Oxfam in Uganda invested in pilot humanitarian capacity building for 15 local and national organizations across different parts of Uganda.

He observed; “We all now realize that relying on international humanitarian actors alone is not sustainable, especially considering the shrinking basket of funds in the face of increasing frequency and complexity of natural and manmade disasters in different parts of the world. The world is fatigued and overstretched and it is time to invest in and hand the mantle of humanitarian planning, preparedness and response back to the local people,”

Kamalingin added that Oxfam aims to see a shift of power, resources and capabilities towards Local or National Humanitarian Actors such as national or local government and the civil society.


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