Local solutions for local challenges at AidEx Africa

Africa aid European Commission DG ECHOAidEX Africa brought together local players in Kenya to discuss how to deliver aid more efficiently. (Image source: European Commission DG ECHO)If you work in the humanitarian and development aid sector there is no substitute for being present in a location where the community are already at work, putting their know-how and expertise into practice, writes Nicholas Rutherford, event director, AidEx

The second AidEx Africa conference took place in Nairobi from 9-10 September and is part of our commitment to championing local solutions to local challenges. Where possible, communities in developing nations should be telling us what they need to tackle their unique aid and development challenges, not the other way round. With around 60 per cent of all aid donations going to Africa, it is still very much the main focus of the aid community’s attention. And because Nairobi is the de facto hub for East Africa in particular, it’s the natural choice for the home of AidEx in Africa (we also run a parent event in Brussels in November).

The event consisted of a fantastic speaker line-up including Samuel Chakwera from the UNHCR Kenya Office, Lisa Phillips from DFID Kenya, Nigel Tricks from Oxfam GB and Stephen Keya from Standard Chartered as well as many more from UNFPA, AMREF and CRS.

AidEx Africa attendees are at the sharp end of what we do; they’re the operational people and are highly energised because they are in a location where they have to administer aid. But collaboration at a local level is essential – and it constitutes this year’s conference theme. By holding this event in Nairobi we brought together the local players so they could sit down and talk to each other – it’s a rare opportunity to discuss what the issues are with other Kenyan businesses or the Kenyan government.

As Kenya has been going through some difficult times it was also a useful occasion to discuss pressing situations, and look at potential solutions through partnership(s) and cooperation. And that’s what AidEx has always been about: it’s a neutral platform to get people together for a more efficient delivery of aid.

People tell us they love AidEx because it transcends government; it’s about people. A country like Kenya suffers from its geographical location: it’s always got a problem with drought, causing animals to die, and because it’s primarily an agricultural country, when animals die, people go without food and money. How they actually solve these sorts of problems and the lessons that can be applied to other countries are crucial for us all to know.



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