Local knowledge is crucial to aid and development workers, in order to choose appropriate, targeted interventions.

Such knowledge has many components:

  • Regional knowledge
  • Language skills.
  • Local culture, including a rapport with locals.
  • Knowledge of local resources relevant to the particular work Where do farmers buy fertilizer? What are the best options for affordable medical supplies? How far ahead should something be ordered? How long before that should an inventory be taken, (given the culture of the country and of the workplace)?

How-matters.org argues that rather than being the lowest common denominator of international assistance, indigenous organizations should be regarded as the fundamental unit of effective development aid because of their inherent local knowledge. For more reading on small, community-based organizations, see: Are we overlooking the capacities of local NGOs?.

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