“Act as locally as possible”

An external evaluation of Integral’s response to the Sulawesi earthquakes and tsunami concluded that there was a high degree of localisation which supported our commitments to a quality response with strong local ownership …

Integral Alliance, The Sulawesi Evaluation Workshop Group, October 2019

On 28 September 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Sulawesi, Indonesia. Multiple earthquakes and aftershocks followed, triggering a tsunami. Eighteen Integral Members opted into a response this disaster, working alongside more than ten national Partners and the Jakomkris network, a national network of churches and Christian organisations.

During the external evaluation Aloysius Canete,Transform Aid International’s International Programme Coordinator for Disaster Management, described the benefits of responding to this disaster in close partnership with local organisations. He says, “Leveraging each other’s strengths made the response stronger. Partners familiarity with the local context and operational environment, complemented by surge support from Integral Members, made the response very robust.”

As an Alliance we recognise that capacity transfer is a two way process – from an Integral Member to their Partners, as well as from Partners to Members. The evaluation looked at how Partners had benefitted from capacity building but also at what Members had learned from local Partners. 

“Leveraging each

other’s strengths

made the response


The majority of our Members said they had learned from working alongside national Partners, and gave examples of learning about approaches to community engagement, construction of earthquake resistant temporary shelters and contextually specific livelihoods initiatives. At the same time, MDS, a national Indonesian organisation described how they strengthened their financial systems by adapting the Food for the Hungry system. A MDS spokesperson said: “The system now is considered better and has increased accountability”.

Anne Murray, Tearfund UK’s Grants and Information Officer for Indonesia, explains why it was particularly important to build up local Partner organisations in this context: “Indonesia is particularly prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions so it is vital that there are strong, well-positioned local organisations who are able to respond”.

The evaluation was jointly carried out by The Circle Indonesia and Research Evaluation Services. They identified a number of areas for us to consider around increasing preparedness and further strengthening relationships with Partners in Indonesia and other disaster prone locations, ahead of future disasters. As an Alliance we welcome the findings of this evaluation and will build this learning into our future work together in disasters. 

Integral is committed to acting as locally as possible and to bringing together the strengths of all of our Members in disaster response in order to best meet the needs of communities affected by disaster. Integral recognises the combination of approaches by its Members as a strength, providing the opportunity for the work of those who implement directly (operational Members) to complement and strengthen the work of partner-led Members (cooperational Members) and their local partners before, during and after a disaster. You can read more about our approach to localisation here.