CSO Sustainability: Aid Localization conversation at the Forefront of CSO Sector • Plan for the Future: CSOs Encouraged to Prioritize building financial resilience

Panelists for “Aid Dynamics and Development in East Africa: A Vision for the Future” gather for a group photo at the Delta by Marriott during the aid localization conversation. Pictured are Allais Morindat, Member, Foundation for Civil Society; Rose Marandu, Executive Director, Women Fund Tanzania; Lilian Tamale, CivFund Associate, CivSource-Africa; Kelvin Bwire, Programs Coordinator, Kenya Community Development Foundation, along with the session moderator Justice Rutenge, Advisor, FCS.

In a bid to align their goals with anticipated aid funding and ensure effective utilization, civil society organizations (CSOs) must turn to innovative approaches to foster sustainability, especially in times of disaster. Discussions around the dynamics of aid localization and decolonization are at the forefront of these strategic conversations.


Allais Morindat, a member of FCSTZ, emphasized the complexities surrounding international aid, noting ongoing debates on colonial legacies and entrenched power dynamics within the aid and development industry.


‘‘ It’s crucial to strategize your goals for the year in alignment with the anticipated receipt of aid funds, ensuring their effective utilization, especially in times of disasters. This necessitates the cultivation of innovative approaches to foster sustainability,’’ Morindat observed.


Recently, KCDF, FCS, and CivFund engaged in a dialogue exploring the nuances of aid localization and development in East Africa. The conversation, titled “A Conversation on Aid Localization,” co-organized by Civisource, KCDF, and FCS, aimed to foster resilience and impact among civil society actors.

FCS Executive Director Francis Kiwanga delivers his opening remarks during the Aid Localization conversation with diverse development actors in the civil society sector, emphasizing the significance of such conversations. #EAFinancialResilienceResourceHub

Francis Kiwanga, FCS Executive Director, highlighted the importance of open conversation and reflection in the development space. “We are testing assumptions about development aid and asking ourselves important questions,” Kiwanga stated, emphasizing the need to examine approaches, challenges, and decision-making processes in aid localization.


Dr. Charles Sokile of Oxford Policy Management Tanzania discussed the concept of aid localization, which involves adopting policies and programs to promote locally-led development. Dr. Sokile underscored the complexity of aid dynamics in East Africa and the importance of critical reflection and action in navigating these challenges.


Justice Rutenge, FCS Advisor, emphasized the necessity for civil society actors to engage in the global conversation on localization, highlighting its significance in shaping the future of development.


Lilian Tamale, the Manager of CivFund, emphasized the significance of supporting women’s initiatives and acknowledged the hurdles many women encounter in remote work environments, which can impede women’s economic development. In an effort to decolonize aid , Ms. Tamale disclosed that CivFund facilitates civil society actors to respond to funding calls in their local languages. Additionally, CivFund accepts video pitches from CSAs, enhancing accessibility and inclusivity in the funding process.


Rose Marandu, Executive Director of Tanzania Women Fund, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need to empower women through targeted funding and support.

She said there is need for aid decolonization as the same is being managed and utilised by people sitting in offices without effetely addressing problems facing communities on the ground.


The term “localization” has gained prominence among humanitarians, signifying the shift towards empowering local responders and communities. Projects led by local actors are believed to have a more significant impact and be more sustainable due to their deep understanding of local contexts and long-term engagement with communities.


As CSOs continue to navigate the complexities of aid funding and localization, innovative approaches and collaborative efforts remain essential in fostering sustainability and resilience within the sector.