For the first time, Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) partners in the Philippines converged in a national workshop to visualize a common narrative “founded on the aspiration to reclaim the discourse and practice of localisation and local humanitarian leadership, rooting these in the historic-cultural tradition, broadly, and the experience of community-based, rights-based and inclusive humanitarian action, more specifically.”
DEPP projects have uneven timelines, differences in extent of reach, and distinct approaches but a common thread is the purposive intent of the people behind the Philippine projects to coordinate and collaborate. The two-day workshop, CONVERGENCE: Developing a Strategic Agenda Beyond DEPP, held in Tanay, Rizal, Philippines on 4-5 December is a clear manifestation of this intent.
Financial Enablers’ Project Manager Jane Bañez Ockelford noted that the workshop served an avenue to consolidate achieved results of DEPP projects and track that path which can be pursued beyond DEPP as most projects would end by March 2018.
Partners conveyed that DEPP projects have contributed to increased capacity and confidence of national and local NGOs to carry out quality humanitarian actions. Relevant approaches in humanitarian response such as community organizing and rights based lens were piloted and/or mainstreamed by DEPP projects. The use of new technology and piloting of platforms such as Transforming Surge Capacity’s national roster system as well as the ALERT system were recognized as key contributions. DEPP projects have been instrumental in institutionalizing coordination and harnessing representation of national humanitarian actors in vital platforms including the cluster system. DEPP projects carved opportunities for national and international actors to engage in dialogue, coordinate, and collaborate. These efforts expanded humanitarian space for national actors as they leverage on newfound networks in their respective consortium, consequently, developing their resource mobilization muscle for locally-led humanitarian response.
Essentially, DEPP projects have contributed to making the concept of localisation of humanitarian response more felt and more alive in the Philippines. “Localisation is not a new concept in the Philippines as it has existed beforehand,” said Noli Abinales of the Consortium for Humanitarian Action and Protection (CHAP). “DEPP contributed to reinforcing localisation in the country,” he added.
These strides serve as evidence on how START Network thru DEPP has expanded its reach, not only in terms of proximity as DEPP projects have made an impact across the archipelago but also in terms of challenging assumptions and bolstering the space to discussing locally-led humanitarian response.
As projects come to a close, an important next step is strategic advocacy. The time is ripe for DEPP projects to make lasting changes to policies, practices, and intervention capacities towards better locally-led humanitarian response.
DEPP project partners in the Philippines agreed on the importance of a shared national humanitarian agenda which will serve as the advocacy message or which will comprise the ‘asks’ directed towards decision-makers, in particular the national government. They also recognize the significance of a functional body serving as coordination mechanism among national humanitarian NGOs. Potentially, this will serve as a repository of the gains and lessons learned of initiatives and actions such as DEPP.
Indeed, more must be done, even beyond DEPP.
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