What are the differences between WEIRD vs Local thinking? #localisation
Ummul Choudhury is the CEO/co-founder of Capoeira4Refugees, RealtimeAid and tech start-up Frontline Aid.
ummul choudhury, development consultant, middle east specialist, sports charity consultant, charities consultant, start-up consultant, united nonsense book, Capoeira4Refugees, capoeira charity, Frontline Aid, NGO specialist
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What are the differences between WEIRD vs Local thinking? #localisation

Two parallel conversations run when it comes to donors. The points donors raise time and again and the alternative answers playing out unsaid.  

These conversations do not meet in any middle because of the power discrepancy between donor and local organisation. Donors mainly being white, Western or in other words WEIRD. Local people mainly being experts on their communities and their problems.

These conversations are not new. See https://charitysowhite.org or the Grand Bargain initiatives, or the recent report by the ODI showing that localisation is failing because Western donors with power do not want to give it up.

Below are some tongue in cheek parallel conversations when it comes to the donor/sub contract relationship.  A more honest conversation will help in moving forward the sagging claims to #localisation. Even if uncomfortable.


We want to make it easier for you to manage this project. It’s a great project.  But unfortunately, we have to do this due diligence. We don’t have a choice.

Well you could make it easier by actually paying us to do all this paperwork. Instead of putting us between a war zone and a refugee camp and making us do it for free.

I understand your frustration. But we only have limited funds available and with over 900 applications we had to choose.

So you strengthen your brand with the number of applications. I see you’ve posted the figure right up front and centre on your website. Shame for all those desperate people, rejected.

Locals are difficult to work with. 

Wait. Aren’t you the foreigner here? You think your western passport makes you an expert on poor people, brown people and how to engage our communities. This is crazy, but I can’t laugh because then I might not get any money.

Locals don’t have the right skills sets, they need training.

Training to get a good job or to tick your boxes? I must have missed the bit where you asked what we need.

We will be signing up to a partnership. You will have to provide quarterly reports and funds will be released upon acceptance of the reports, any changes in budget you must request in writing with 30 days notice at least, any change in the project you must inform us immediately, you will…….you must….you will…you must….

I must have the definition of ‘partnership’ wrong. But English is one of my five languages so maybe I just got it all mixed up.

Localisation is a must if we are to create a more equitable world

I’m tired. I’m tired of white people like you telling me how to spend this money. You got it from us anyway.

Have you got any more examples?

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