The power to lead


  • Katharina Ahrens



localisation, humanitarian, Grand Bargain, community, triple nexus, youth


The staff in local organisations are taking on the largest proportion of risk in a humanitarian response by being on the frontlines and endangering their physical and mental well-being. This paper reflects on how local organisations are taking leadership over the responses within their countries despite the challenges of bringing the localisation agenda and commitments into reality. Further, it recommends how international actors can reflect on their localisation efforts to reach a more tangible change that aligns with the Grand Bargain commitments. In addition to advocating for more access to direct funding, the paper also provides examples of how to shift leadership to a more community-driven response aligned with the concept of the triple nexus, and shares firsthand experience from the work of a local organisation that is active in the Syria response and driven by the commitment to create youth-led change.


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Author Biography

  • Katharina Ahrens

    With a Master’s in Humanitarian Action, Katharina has worked with local and international organisations in the Middle East and North Africa region, focusing on locally led humanitarian assistance and quality programming. She is currently the Programs Quality Director for the Violet Organisation for Relief and Development.


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Salam*, 10, and Rami*, 13 are siblings from Easter Ghouta in Syria. They fled to Idlib in. North West Syria when shelling hit their community in April 2018.   The children and their mother have been reading a lot about the coronavirus and say the camp is not equipped to deal with an outbreak.







How to Cite

“The power to lead” (2021) The Humanitarian Leader, p. Working Paper 021, Dec 2021. doi:10.21153/thl2021art1509.