Where are the Women? Gender, Localisation and the Grand Bargain

  • Date: 17/08/2017
  • Author: Jo-Ann Ward

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul in 2016 clearly confirmed that gender equality, the fulfilment of women’s and girls’ human rights and their empowerment in political, humanitarian, and development spheres is a universal responsibility and pivotal to sustaining conflict prevention and resolution, peacebuilding and building resilient communities. Since then, progress towards implementation of effective protection, empowerment and gender equality programming is mixed.

ActionAid Ireland is convening a high level seminar on Tuesday  26th September to assess progress and learning on following through on commitments made by donors, UN and civil society agencies to this responsibility and vision at WHS in 2016. The aim of the seminar is to provoke further thinking on ‘Gender and the Grand Bargain’, and bring different perspectives and experiences to the debate on localisation.

This Seminar will be of interest to leaders in civil society organisations, INGOs, policy makers, academics and students. You can book a free ticket here.


  • Adriano Campolina, Secretary General, ActionAid International: Promoting Localised Women-led Approaches to Humanitarian Responses.
  • Réiseal Ni Chéilleachair, Humanitarian Policy Advisor, Trócaire: Localisation in Practice: An Analysis from Myanmar & DRC.
  • Emer O’Brien, Humanitarian Unit, Irish Aid: A Donor Perspective.
  • An academic analysis, TBC.

What is Localisation?

Governments and NGOs in developing countries are calling for humanitarian responses to be more local or national in nature, and less international. The current international humanitarian system, despite attempted past reforms, concentrates power and funding in the hands of a small group of humanitarian actors who are largely located in richer, northern countries. This marginalises the skills, knowledge and capacities of thousands of local and national NGOs, local authorities and civil society working on the frontline in times of emergency.

This shift must have women and women’s organisations at its forefront, bringing their invaluable contextual knowledge, skills, resources and experiences to emergency preparedness, response and resilience building.

About the contributors

Adriano Campolina, Secretary General of ActionAid International, works from ActionAid’s international headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. Campolina has led the ActionAid federation since 2014, co-ordinating the work of members in 45 countries around the world. Prior to this he worked for ActionAid in his native Brazil for 14 years as well as in the Americas and Africa. Having started his working life as a farmer, Campolina became an agronomist and throughout his career he has campaigned for land and food rights in Brazil and internationally. Between 2004 and 2011 Campolina was international director for ActionAid in the Americas during which time he oversaw ActionAid´s response to the Haiti earthquak.

Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair is Humanitarian Policy & Advocacy Adviser with Trócaire since 2012. Her current portfolio includes policy and advocacy support to Trócaire on humanitarian issues. With a background in community development, she has worked as a technical advisor and researcher on child protection with Save the Children UK and University College Cork in Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo; as Assistant County Director for Concern in Kenya; and has extensive experience in complex emergencies having worked with child soldiers and separated children in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and reunification programmes in Rwanda, South Sudan and Sierra Leone. Reiseal worked with Concern Somalia as Advocacy Adviser, and served as the Senior Representative of the Somalia NGO Consortium before returning to Ireland in 2012.

Picture caption: Nadège Pierre, 33, is director of a Kindergarten Cap-Haitien, Haiti and also the secretary general of an organisation of women’s solidarity in the north of Haiti. Photo by ActionAid

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