Going local 2.0: How to reform development agencies to make localized aid more than talk

Ang, Y. Y.
Publication language
Date published
08 Oct 2018
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Development & humanitarian aid

More and more global aid agencies believe they should replace one-size-fits-all best practices with locally tailored solutions, but they must shift from just agreeing to “go local” to preparing development experts for the task by taking on three major problems with their internal practices.

In the last decade, luminaries in global development like Dani Rodrik, Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock, Francis Fukuyama, Ha-Joon Chang, Peter Evans, and Merillee Grindle have rejected one-size-fits-all policy prescriptions. Instead, in response to the persistence of failed interventions in places ranging from Bali to Afghanistan, they stress the merits of tailoring solutions to each local community's situation.

“Going local” means to account for the specific needs and particularities of a community, whether national or subnational. It also entails using local resources and knowledge in a manner that goes beyond just setting up local offices and hiring local staff.