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Consultancy – Localisation in Humanitarian Leadership

International Council of Voluntary Agencies

Terms of Reference

Profiling National NGO Engagement in International Coordination Structures in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia

Localisation in Humanitarian Leadership

Research and Documentation Consultancy

Organization: International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)

Duration: Up to 30 working days in 2024

Starting date: 19 February 2024

Location: Home-based

About ICVA

Established in 1962, the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) comprises a worldwide network of more than 160 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in activities across 160 countries. Operating at global, regional, national, and local tiers, ICVA is dedicated to enhancing the principled and effective nature of humanitarian action. Through collaborative and independent efforts, the organization strives to influence policies and practices, fostering a collective impact on the humanitarian landscape.

The ICVA 2030 Strategy adopted by the ICVA’s General Assembly in 2021 sets the framework for the direction and focus of ICVA’s work from 2022-2030, as we evolve and transform our network. Rooting us more deeply in our mission of principled and effective humanitarian action, this strategy sets our collective values, our ways of working and our aspirational transformations. We work on focus areas (Forced Migration, Humanitarian Coordination and Humanitarian Financing) to best serve our members and the sector as a whole.

ICVA’s distinctive strengths are embedded in our operational methodologies, which encompass analysis and explanation, convening, connecting, influencing and advocating, supporting, and collaborating. With a historical foundation in Geneva, the ICVA Secretariat extends its reach across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions.

Background & Focus

Note: This consultancy follows on from a similar study conducted in 2020 profiling national NGO engagement in international humanitarian coordination structures in the MENA region.

Humanitarian Coordination Teams (HTCs) and other coordination structures are tasked with supporting the engagement of NNGOs as strategic partners in humanitarian coordination. Evidence shows there has been gradual improvement in the numbers of NGOs with representation in coordination structures over recent years, however there is less to demonstrate an increase in meaningful participation of national NGOs compared to the representation and engagement of UN agencies and international NGOs.

Even when local actors do participate in strategic and coordination processes, these structures may not adequately support their effective engagement. Engagement may be undermined by capacity and resource limitations, including connectivity, linguistic barriers or the use of jargon and technical language and limited exposure to the international system and structures under discussion.

This research will analyse the state of localisation within international humanitarian coordination structures focusing on two distinct areas of localisation: first, the level of national NGO representation or participation, and second the quality of meaningful engagement of NNGOs within these structures with a focus on leadership role, and the ability to influence decisions and strategies.

Research activities will include analysis of existing quantitative data and qualitative data collection and analysis of national actors’ participation and engagement in the following coordination mechanisms in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia:

  • Humanitarian Coordination Teams (HCTs)
  • Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG)
  • Selected clusters
  • Country-based Pooled Funds Advisory Groups (CBPF)

This work will enable evidence-driven targeted advocacy to enhance national NGO leadership in humanitarian coordination. It will build on existing data collected by OCHA and other partners, in terms of numbers and other factors impacting access to these structures, their meaningful engagement as well how their engagement translates in influencing policy making and advocacy priorities.

The objective of the consultancy is to map and document the extent of meaningful national NGO engagement in international humanitarian coordination structures in selected countries (max. 10) in the Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, and Asia Pacific regions. This includes:

  1. Assessment of existing quantitative data on national NGO participation.
  2. Qualitative research conducted through a desk review and key informant interviews, resulting in targeted recommendations for enhanced meaningful engagement of national NGOs.
  3. Documentation, through a number of case studies showing replicable positive practice in effective national NGO engagement in the mentioned high-level humanitarian coordination structures.


The detailed methodology will be developed by the consultant and agreed with ICVA.

Engagement with ICVA

The consultant will work closely with the ICVA Regional teams, the Humanitarian Coordination Team and ICVA’s focal point on localisation. The consultant will report to the ICVA Humanitarian Coordination Team.


  • Approved research methodology, including selected countries of focus (in consultation with ICVA regional teams).
  • A report profiling qualitative and quantitative National NGO Engagement in humanitarian coordination structures and presenting targeted recommendations of max 30 pages.
  • An additional 1-page summary per country (max. 10) detailing overall National NGO engagement and presenting key recommendations targeted at specific stakeholders.
  • A PowerPoint presentation (based on ICVA template) of process and key recommendations.

Consultant Requirements

  • At least 10 years of progressive experience in the humanitarian sector, including in senior advisory roles.

Relevant academic qualification in a related field.

  • Knowledge of current humanitarian policy issues including localisation, and demonstrated understanding of the global humanitarian coordination architecture and its structures at national and subnational levels.
  • Experience and expertise in at least one of the concerned regions, and preferably across a range of country contexts. Experience engaging with national level coordination structures as a member, observer or in a consultancy capacity would be an asset.
  • Excellent writing and communication skills with the ability to analyse complex information and transmit synthesised messages to various audiences.
  • Excellent communication skills in English. French and/or Spanish would be an asset.
  • Proven ability to work autonomously and be flexible, including ability to cope with deadlines, multiple tasks, and competing and changing demands.
  • Understanding of ICVA’s mission and NGO contribution to the humanitarian sector.

Note: Throughout the work, the consultant must be registered in accordance with the legal requirements at their base and must be able to submit documentation that proves that she/ he is meeting all legal obligations for the consultancy, including full compliance with ICVA regulations including the safeguarding policy.

How to apply

If you have the required expertise and skills, please apply by sending your CV, two examples of recent similar published work, and a short proposal (approx. 2-3 pages), including how you meet the criteria for the consultancy, proposed methodology, requested day rate to [email protected]

Please mention ‘Localisation in Humanitarian Leadership’ in the subject line.

  • The final deadline for application is Friday 2nd February 2024.
  • Applicants from all countries are encouraged to apply.
  • Consultants must be legally registered to be employed on a freelance contract in their country of residence.

deadline: 2-Feb-24

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