Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Filling the Funding Gap for Community Protection

Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Filling the Funding Gap for Community Protection

Article excerpt

One of the main obstacles to communities organising to protect themselves is a lack of funding. Often they have a better understanding than outsiders of what the challenges may be, and have innovative ideas for overcoming them, but they lack the finance to put these ideas into action.

Research by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) has identified three main reasons why local communities cannot raise money. First, they lack appropriate networks. They are not sufficiently aware of or within easy reach of funding opportunities - for example, through national governments, small grants programmes of donor agencies, or international or national non-governmental organisations. Second, even where there is awareness of the opportunities, local communities are often either not eligible or not able to apply for funding. They may not be registered; they may not be able to complete the requisite log frames and budget proposals; and they may not be able to conduct the monitoring and evaluation that are usually required. Third, there may be a lack of trust between local communities and prospective funders, whether the national government, bilateral donors or NGOs.

The GCERF funding model attempts to overcome these challenges in three main ways. It is a blended fund, meaning that it pools contributions from governments and other donors, and issues grants under the GCERF banner. This in effect makes the funding neutral, and is one way to overcome the trust deficit between local communities and certain bilateral donors. In addition, GCERF funds consortia of local initiatives centred on a principal recipient, often a local NGO, and one of the main criteria for their selection is their outreach to local communities. While these principal recipients need to have some experience of managing funds, it is not a prerequisite that the sub-recipients in their consortia have previously received funding. Furthermore, the intent is to overcome the funding gap in a sustainable way, by providing successive three-year rounds of investment, and at the same time supporting capacity development on fundraising skills.

As important as supporting selected vulnerable local communities is to try more systematically to address the funding gap. One way GCERF does this is by engaging a range of stakeholders - national governments, civil society, the private sector and local donor representatives - in the funding mechanism. …

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