A new global and local-focused network of NGOs, the Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR) that includes Interaid Uganda will be launched on May 22, ahead of World Humanitarian Summit to be held at the Hilton Bosphorus in Istanbul.
According to a release, is a network of local and national NGOs who have come together in an attempt to restructure the global response to economic, human and environmental threats.
So far, 30 African organizations, 21 from Asia and five from the Middle East have committed to join NEAR and they will focus on four main areas of work: advocacy, financing, organizational development and research, the release adds.
‘It’s clear that local people and organizations are often the fastest to react in a crisis – their local knowledge and ingenuity can save lives in an emergency, or find effective solutions to longer-term challenges. But local voices are often not given the attention they deserve in these situations –large international organizations often take priority over smaller local groups,’ the release states in part. .
Degan Ali, Executive Director of Nairobi-based NGO Adeso and also a member of the NEAR Leadership Council, which has been working on the creation of NEAR since 2014, says: “After many months of consultations with local organizations and regional networks across the world, we are excited to finally launch. We hope NEAR will provide the much-needed platform to strengthen the collective voice of those working directly with local communities.”
Other members of the NEAR Leadership Council include Scholastica Nasinyama of Interaid Uganda; Sema Genel (Support to Life); Rezaul Karim Chowdhury – COAST (Bangladesh); Manu Gupta – SEEDS (India); Amjad Mohamed-Saleem –Independent (Sri Lanka) and Filbert Leone – HDC (South Sudan).
According to the release, there’s been an increase in resources for humanitarian and development aid and the need is growing too because the number of affected populations has doubled in the past decade.
‘Crucially, the amount of resources actually reaching people in need is going down.
NEAR aims to close this widening gap by putting people at the centre of delivery, and strengthening local organizations and communities – making sure the system works for the people in whose name money is raised’ the release further states.
NEAR’s Executive Director Smruti Patel said the response to challenges is dependent on how resilient the community is, and how well prepared the government and local organizations are.
Hari Darshan Shrestha, Executive Director of Centre of Resilient Development from Nepal—a member of NEAR, noted that a lot of the organisations especially from Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America share similar challenges.
“We can work together on these issues, share our experiences, lessons, and with combined efforts, find some solutions to these challenges,” Shrestha says.