​Localisation has recently emerged as one of the most prevalent global norms shaping humanitarian reform towards more locally-led response as a corrective to power imbalances in the humanitarian system. The concept of localisation however remains subject to much debate and the practical complexities of localised humanitarian response have not yet been fully unpacked. This paper explores the meaning of – and challenges to – localisation of humanitarian action through a case-study of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in war-torn Yemen. Drawing on empirical fieldwork including interviews with international and local NGOs, it analyses the practical, logistical, and political obstacles to the application of localisation and explores the conceptualisations of locally-embedded actors. The paper finds that whilst some progress has been made in terms of technical-operational localisation despite highly challenging conditions, genuine localisation viewed as empowerment that disrupts hierarchical aid relationships has not been actualized. Finally, the paper explores the policy and practice implications of the findings and suggests areas for further research.

Read the full article at International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction