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This paper is part of a series collating literature, resources, and actions that have focused on efforts to create change in the aid sector, developed in support of systems change initiative, theRINGO Project(Reimagining the INGO). This paper considers the topic of ‘funding models and finance’ with the intent to help keep practitioners up to date with the evolving discussions in this area and promote awareness of initiatives among aid and development actors. It seeks to contribute to fostering a collaborative and reflective space, as a useful resource to invite discussion and contemplation, a ‘conversation starter’ as to what is defined as ‘disruptive’ transformational change and how the sector can work to meaningfully achieve this paradigm shift. 

As a part of the Grand Bargain commitments, signatories had agreed to direct 25% of international humanitarian assistance to local and national actors by 2020, which includes, among other commitments, “more un-earmarked money and increased multi-year funding to support greater predictability and continuity in humanitarian response”. Well past the deadline, this target is far from being achieved. Indeed, according to data published in the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2020, “absolute volumes [of humanitarian assistance funding] sent directly to local and national actors also dropped significantly in 2019, down 30% from 2016 when the Grand Bargain target was set”.

Nevertheless, new types of financing and funding models have been established, or are emerging, both inside and outside the sector, which can encourage innovation and new ways of thinking about financing in the humanitarian sector.

‘Transformation in the aid and development sector?’ is proudly presented by Centre for Humanitarian Leadership and Rights CoLab as part of the RINGO project, with the generous support of the IKEA Foundation.
Learn more about the series and read the other papers here.


  • Funding models and finance