Regionalisation approach: the MEAL perspective(s)
The global humanitarian context is rapidly changing due to the nature, scale and complexity of crises, and as such most organisations are re-thinking their operational models and adapting to the context. Action Against Hunger initiated a process of decentralisation to empower country offices in terms of autonomy and decision-making. The creation of two regional office, the West Africa Regional Office and Middle East Regional Office, in 2009 and 2013 respectively aspired to make technical expertise more accessible to country offices, and to make interactions with regional stakeholders such as donors, UN coordination bodies, regional organisations and local civil society more efficient.
The Middle East Regional Office was established jointly by eight offices in the middle-east and in consultation with the respective Action Against Hunger members (France and Spain). Several technical experts were appointed to provide continuous and timely support to the countries where our projects are implemented, under the leadership of a regional representative who focuses on liaising with regional stakeholders, especially donors.
The regionalisation approach had positive effects in mainstreaming MEAL and integrating MEAL into programmes, particularly in the Middle East Region. Besides that, it promoted collaboration, coordination, and exchange of support at regional level, as well as willingness for harmonisation and standardisation of MEAL systems. Below are some practical learnings and experience that illustrate some progress and benefits of this approach.