This report was commissioned by a consortium of UK-based international non-governmental organisations: ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam GB and Tearfund.

Partnerships with national and local actors have long been identified as a source of problems in international humanitarian aid. Major evaluations of numerous high profile humanitarian crises – most notably that of the Indian Ocean tsunami – have identified insufficient investment in, and commitment to, such partnerships as the biggest hinderance to effective performance. The reality is that efforts to work with national and local actors do not play a central role in the majority of international humanitarian work. This amounts to a longstanding systemic issue for the sector as a whole, which has persisted despite the efforts made by individual agencies to invest time and effort in this area.

This study is the first output of a research project commissioned by five UK-based international humanitarian non-governmental organisations (INGOs) – ActionAid, Cafod, Christian Aid, Oxfam GB and Tearfund. The main purpose of the project was to look at the current and future potential of partnerships with national non-governmental organisations (NNGOs) in humanitarian response, based on lessons from across the commissioning agencies in four major emergency settings. The project is part of an ongoing effort to build the future of humanitarian assistance, which has already seen publications in 2011 from Christian Aid and Oxfam GB. The research process involved interviews with INGO and NNGO staff, workshops and meetings with INGO representatives, and a review of relevant documentation.

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