Oxfam Uganda has highlighted the need by government and other humanitarian players to support local and national humanitarian actors who are the first responders during crises
The call was made by Francis Shanty Odokorach, the Country Director at Oxfam in Uganda during the closure of the five year Empowering Local and National Humanitarian Actors (ELNHA) project.
Odokorach said that the project focused on strengthening and equipping the capacity of local actors to participate in humanitarian response in the regions of West Nile, Acholi and Karamoja, and became a global flagship project promoting localization and humanitarian sector change.
Odokorach said that through the ELNHA project, Oxfam demonstrated commitment to relinquish control of the humanitarian decision-making and funding by repositioning local and national actors to lead the humanitarian responses.
“The frequency and seriousness of the humanitarian crises have led us to emphasize building the resilience of the affected communities and increasing national and local response capacity and ownership,” Odokorach said.
He added that Uganda hosts one of the largest numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the world and has faced frequent and multiple humanitarian crises, including refugee influxes, disease outbreaks and climate-induced disasters like floods.
During the event, the Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Musa Echweru appreciated Oxfam for spearheading the humanitarian cause in the country as well as holding capacity of local and National actors.
Echweru said that government has put in place good open door policies to enable localization of the humanitarian response by being an invaluable ally partnering with Oxfam pushing the localization agenda in Uganda.
Echweru commended the work done by local and National humanitarian actors through the ELNHA project which has just ended.
“We cannot manage to lose this huge force of actors that have gained experience through the ELNHA project, I will lobby government and other development partners to come up with new projects that will occupy these actors,” Ecweru said.
He however called for more transparency among civil society actors so as to attract more support from donors, government as well as funders.
The project supported over 60 local and national humanitarian actors including Government institutions, Civil Society Organizations, media and private sector to; design, deliver and lead in humanitarian preparedness and response in Uganda, to influence the humanitarian agenda in Uganda, and push large international humanitarian donors and international NGOs, including Oxfam, to tailor their policies, strategies and systems in support of local/national humanitarian actors’ leadership.