Integral has just hosted the first of their Partner Listening Forums in Nepal. The overall aim of this initiative is to hear from local organisations working with Integral Members about their perspectives on locally-led humanitarian action. This is with a view to developing a common Integral approach to localisation. Future Forums will take place in Ethiopia, Haiti, The Philippines and Iraq. Here we hear from a participant from the forum that took place this month …
What is your name, who you work for and job title?
My name is Suresh Bhattarai. I am the Thematic Lead – Resilient Livelihoods at the United Mission to Nepal. Prior to this, I was team leader of Sustainable Livelihoods program for 8 years.
In my current role, I have three specific responsibilities – building staff technical capacity, ensuring the quality of our work and lastly following and reporting on global trends relevant to our sector.
What was the purpose of the listening forum?
The purpose was to have issue-based discussions in order to better acquaint ourselves with the practical aspects of the localisation agenda. We also shared our experiences, challenges and brainstormed solutions.
In what ways did you find it helpful?
I have had some past experience of localisation arranged by CASA India for the RIAP members (a network of four agencies in south Asia), but this Integral forum was a more comprehensive approach. I really appreciated the space provided for us to share critical and constructive discussions.
What has been your experience of Integral prior to the forum?
A total of five Integral Members support the work of UMN and partner with us.
What was your forum highlight?
Rather than one particular thing, my highlight was the focus of making future interventions more efficient, effective and accountable. But at the same time there was still room for us to input local and indigenous knowledge. The way that this process was designed, implemented and evaluated was particularly praiseworthy.
What is your hope for the future?
The global initiative for localisation is very relevant for Nepal, being recently embraced at three levels of government. The local unit of government, the rural municipality, has never had such level of authority to formulate plans. Suddenly there is ample room to contextualise plans to fit local aspirations, with the primary beneficiaries also being the primary decision makers. So I am quite hopeful, if localisation is handled with great care and sensitivity, that there is the possibility to unleash the unrealised potential of people living a life of poverty and isolation.
Is there anything else that you would like to say?
I have been continuously re-optimising tools and approaches aimed at encouraging local people to take the lead on local issues. I have seen multiple benefits of this on the local level – for example, value for money and increased dignity and creativity.
Finally, should there be future Integral forums to continue to engage in discussions about operationalising localisation, I would be very interested in contributing!
Photo: Integral 2019 – A selction of participants from the Integral Partner Listening Forum in Nepal