INGOs sign southern-led pledge to create a more equitable aid system by 2030

“All of us at CARE Canada are proud and honoured to be participating in this historic moment to sign onto the ‘Pledge for Change’. It’s critical that the non-profit sector continues to change and evolve, and this pledge seeks to advance global conversations and implement new approaches to decolonize and localize international humanitarian and development work. CARE Canada is passionate about putting women’s voices and leadership at the heart of what we do and collaborating with our peer organizations to make our sector more transparent and respectful of the people we are here to serve.”


Some of the world’s biggest aid and development organizations have signed up to a far-reaching set of commitments to create closer partnerships with local and national organizations in a drive to shift more power, decision-making, and money to the places worst affected by crisis and poverty. 

The agencies, which include CARE International, Christian Aid, Plan International, Save the Children International, and Oxfam International, believe being locally led and globally connected will mean bigger, longer-lasting impacts on people’s lives. 

“Only through such partnerships will we remove any dependency on aid and continue to build the strength of the communities we strive to support,” they say.  

The commitment to equitable partnerships forms part of a ‘Pledge for Change’ that follows a two-year-long process assembled by Adeso, a humanitarian and development organization in Somalia. International non-government organization (INGO) leaders in the Global North have heeded challenges from their counterparts based in the Global South as part of the process. 

The Pledge for Change focuses on three key areas: equitable partnerships, authentic storytelling, and influencing wider change. 

“There are times when INGOs should complement local knowledge, expertise, and relationships with our resources and skills, but we need to know when to step away as well,” the pledge says. 

It acknowledges that big international organizations competing for funds, facilities and talent can unintentionally weaken civil society in the countries where they operate: “In the years ahead, we’ll allocate more resources to help local and national organizations take the lead.” 

The Pledge for Change also commits to authentic storytelling that stops reinforcing harmful stereotypes. 

“We will continue to show the harsh realities of poverty, conflict, hunger, and natural disasters because humanitarian crises should not be sanitized,” it says. “But we’ll avoid exploitative imagery that portrays people as helpless victims. We will give credit to partners where it’s due.” 

The Pledge for Change, which was developed in collaboration with sector leaders from the Global South, acknowledges inequalities in the system that date back to the colonial era. It requires large INGOs to ensure a more equitable approach and recognizes the unique role local organizations play in aid delivery.  

The chief executives who have signed the pledge say they will press for implementation across the sector, track progress and report it publicly to show how they are ‘walking the talk’ over the next eight years.  

Find out more about the Pledge for Change here: 


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About CARE Canada:

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization working around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice. CARE puts women and girls at the centre of our work because we know we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls to lift themselves, their families, and communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE works in over 100 countries around the world.

To learn more about CARE Canada, visit

In August, Yulia had to make a decision.

“I had three options. First, I could stay home and send my children to a school where all of the subjects were taught in Russian. I absolutely did not want to do that. Second, if I disagreed with the first option, I would have lost my parental rights and my children would have been sent to a boarding school in Crimea. I chose the third option: Taking a risk and to fleeing West.”

Scheduled evacuations needed to be booked three months in advance, so with the money she had left, Yulia hired a driver and decided to play something that is locally called “Vasylivka’s roulette.”

The town of Vasylivka is a checkpoint in the Zaporizhzhia region where no one can ever be sure that they will be able to pass through. On some days, two hundred cars are let through, on others only four.

Yulia and her children didn’t take a lot of things with them. Only some food and some essential items. To get to Vasylivka, they passed through 50 other checkpoints, and Yulia was terrified every time.

“We were scrutinized at each stop,” Yulia says. “I cleared my phone to default setting, because I was scared that even a picture where we are smiling could provoke them and reduce our chances of success.”

Once they finally reached the Vasylivka checkpoint, they had to wait for four days.