Digging in: A consideration of ‘grassroots’ in localisation discourse


  • Janaka Mcgeary




grassroots, localisation, humanitarian action


Humanitarian localisation seeks to make aid more equitable and effective by empowering local actors. However, ambiguity surrounding the definition of 'local actors' hinders progress in this direction. Despite growing discussions on localisation, there remains a significant gap in understanding the role and consideration of grassroots actors within humanitarian discourse. This article aims to critically review some of the discourse on humanitarian localisation, particularly focusing on the consideration given to grassroots actors, to address this gap and foster a deeper understanding of their significance. Using a scoping review, the article analyses three key articles published between 2020-22, examining their consideration of grassroots actors and concepts within the context of humanitarian localisation. While specific explorations of the idea of 'grassroots' are limited, the reviewed articles reveal critical engagement with related concepts, such as the emergent transnational, transcultural and translocal dynamics that are challenging traditional notions of local action. Expanding the understanding of grassroots beyond traditional boundaries is essential for promoting local empowerment and more effective and inclusive localisation efforts in humanitarian responses. Acknowledging grassroots actors as distinct stakeholders is crucial for advancing equitable and impactful humanitarian practices.


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Author Biography

  • Janaka Mcgeary

    Janaka recently completed a Master’s of Humanitarian Assistance at Deakin University and currently works as a Manager in Program Design and Coordination in disability services.


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How to Cite

“Digging in: A consideration of ‘grassroots’ in localisation discourse” (2024) The Humanitarian Leader, 6(1), p. Working paper 045, May, 2024. doi:10.21153/thl2024art1984.