Supporting Community Leaders and Advocating for Locally-Led Solutions

Tracy with her daughter speaking to a KMET Nurturing Care Centre staffer in Kisumu, Kenya.

Local Issues Require Local Leadership

Local communities best understand the challenges they face, and the solutions needed to address them. Many local organizations are already leading innovative and important work, often despite scarce resources. 

Locally-led development includes resourcing communities to take ownership of their own development initiatives. This approach fosters sustainable and context-specific solutions through direct grantmaking. It builds trusted relationships that value local perspectives and viewpoints as programs developed by local organizations are often more equitable and effective. 

We can achieve more equitable and sustained outcomes in direct partnership with local communities and civil society. 

Joyce, Communications Director of Learning and Adult Basic Education (LABE), greets a colleague at LABE headquarters in Kampala, Uganda.

The humanitarian sector has been discussing the importance of direct local funding for over a decade. The Grand Bargain launched in 2016 along with the USAID Donor Statement accelerated momentum towards locally-led development.  

However, recent data from bilateral donors suggests that private funders are falling short of the 25% goal that is being more broadly adopted globally. Although philanthropy increasingly recognizes the value of supporting locally-led development, foundations made just 13% of global grants directly to local entities between 2016 and 2019. This represents only a single percentage point increase compared to the 2011-2015 period. 

Increase Funding and Resources to Organizations Located in Impacted Communities

The Hilton Foundation is committed to giving at least 25% of our international grant making to local organizations. As part of this commitment, we are shifting the ways we work, how we fund, and how we prioritize equitable partnerships and outcomes.

Complex social problems need long-term, sustainable solutions that work for communities most impacted. Systemic barriers that lead to inequality and unjust outcomes need to be addressed.

Our Approach:

  • We work to center the voice of local partners through partnership, advocacy, and research and development:
    • As a partner to both global south leaders and bilateral agencies, we support more localized development funding, priorities and approaches.
    • We advocate for an increase in philanthropic commitment to locally-led development.
    • Through our research and development, we generate and disseminate evidence to show that outcomes are more impactful and sustained through local resourcing.
  • With guidance from local experts, we develop strategies for program initiatives grounded in local context.

Solutions and Programming that Reflect the Needs of Local Communities

Increasing direct funding to local organizations is a shared responsibility and we are collaborating with our philanthropic peers and other partners to support locally-led development philanthropy. 

Philanthropy has an important role to play in supporting a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive approach to global development given its ability to fund flexibly and with a view of long-term outcomes.