On the 6th of October the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) organized a meeting with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and local NGOs from NCCI’s network. The meeting took place at NCCI’s Erbil office.
SDC wanted to meet local organizations directly to better understand the humanitarian situation in Iraq as well as to get an idea of the perspective of local NGOs.
First the meeting participants discussed issues related to the humanitarian response in general and the planning for Mosul in particular. They stressed that shelter, food, water and healthcare provision are critical elements of the Mosul response and stressed the importance of local NGOs for peace building efforts and reconciliation.
The attending NGOs then mentioned a number of issues hampering the effectiveness of their response and their capability to obtain international funding independently. Proper HR management and internal procedures are major issues for many local organizations, and their staff often lacks proposal writing and reporting skills. This makes it difficult for them to pass due diligence requirements and submit project proposals. The attendees also noted they found the procedure to submit proposals for the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund (IHPF) lengthy and complex.
Regarding partnership and cooperation with international NGOs and UN agencies the attendees mentioned that international NGOs and UN agencies prefer to partner with the same trusted local organizations over and over again, thereby excluding other NGOs.
Finally as local NGOs do not realize the benefit and necessity of coordination they are not very engaged in the cluster system. The language barrier is another obstacle for local NGO participation in the clusters.
SDC is an office of the Federal Administration of Switzerland – Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and is responsible for international development. SDC is one of the most active donors of humanitarian relief efforts worldwide and also funds NCCI.