Since the rise of the International Development and Aid sector throughout the 1970s and 80s, projects and assistance has often been implemented through a top-down flow of knowledge and power, from the North to South. This type of development negates local cultures, traditions and values, resulting in oppression that fuels resistance and prevents an inclusive, equitable democracy that can be sustained over the long-term.
While countless organizations have established their homebase in London for obvious reasons, this bolsters the gap between those implementing projects from the North and those receiving assistance in the South. However, Brexit has challenged this status-quo and is beginning to show signs of inspiring a significant decentralization of power and resources.
More specifically, the complex issues that have arose from Brexit have led to a reduction of organizational staff in London. Organizations, like Oxfam and Amnesty have begun setting the trend and are choosing to form smaller offices in a more diverse range of regions throughout the Global South, increasing transparency, accountability and inclusivity.
Not only does this dispersion of power eliminate the obstacles imposed for organizations by Brexit, but it facilitates greater levels of community collaboration and participation in development plans and humanitarian aid. In turn, this fosters the intertwining of modern methods with traditional values and local cultures ensuring a holistic definition of development and democracy that values diversity and is accepted by civil society.
Could this ignite a new trend in the development field? What other benefits do you see from spreading offices and staff around the globe? What challenges do you see?
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave them in the comments below!
For a deeper look into how NGOs are responding to Brexit, check out Rob Preston at Civil Society International