Start Network and the Hubs

Putting power in the hands of organisations that are closer to crises and communities

Start Network aims to support a locally-led humanitarian system, and has begun putting that into practice by enabling the formation of locally-led hubs. Hubs are collectives of local, national and international changemakers operating in the same country or region. They will control their own resources and define their own responses to crises affecting their communities, united by a shared purpose and common standards, and supported by a global Start Network platform.

The five Hubs

Decentralising and localising the Network

About Start Network Hubs

Decentralising and localising the Network

Organisations and communities based in the countries where crises occur are better able to determine the need on the ground and the solutions to the problems they face.


That is why Start Network is supporting a distributed network of national and regional hubs, that will shift power, decisions, resources, and collective action closer to crises.


This model was determined following a visioning exercise in 2017 by hundreds of contributors from across the network and beyond, Start Network imagined a bold new future called Start Evolves. Start Network Hubs were the backbone of this vision. Read more about our vision for the future of Start Network or watch the video in English, Spanish, French.


Five hubs were selected in 2019 – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, India, the Pacific region, and Pakistan – to be in the first cohort of founding hubs, to grow and learn together about what it takes to deliver the vision, and scale it across the network.


Each Hub itself has been founded by collectives of organisations in those countries and together all hubs are working with the Start Network to build a distributed and connected network. Learn more about the visions and goals of each of the hubs.


Through an initial ‘proof-of-concept’ phase, Start Network and Hubs are learning the best way to build a decentralised network and will share learning as they go. Start Network and the hubs identified six collective outcomes critical for their change vision. 


Learn more about these six outcomes.


Hub membership

How to get involved

Start Network membership will transition over time from global membership to hub-based membership. During the proof of concept phase, we are supporting the first five hubs to take in members. This process will be guided by some collective membership principles, and ensures the hubs have a minimum 50% local members at any one time. Country offices of existing global Start Network members may apply to join the hubs in countries where this is relevant.


The hubs in Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and India have already participated in a pilot that enabled them to take in four local organisations per hub. Other organisations interested in becoming a member of a hub can register interest here.


Becoming a Hub in future

It is our intention to support a second cohort of hubs from August 2021. The design of the next hub intake is based on learning from the current proof of concept.


Learning & Resources

‘Crisis is a time for new dreams - leadership at times of COVID-19’

Hub support tools (governance, due diligence, brand)



More about our hubs

Blog Post

Le HUB RDC balise la voie vers une nouvelle ère de l’action humanitaire Le HUB RDC balise la voie vers une nouvelle ère de l’action humanitaire


Blog Post

DRC Hub Paves the Way for a New Era of Humanitarian Action

The General Assembly of the Start Network Hub in the Democratic Republic of the Congo took place from 09 to 12 November 2021 and was attended by 40 delegates from the provincial governments of North and South Kivu, the central government, international, national and local NGOs, research institutions and universities, as well as members of Start Network’s team.



The Five Founding Hubs: What has happened and what comes next?

In April 2020, five locally led groups of changemakers came together to explore what it takes to launch local hubs as part of Start Network, as envisioned within ‘Start Evolves’. This phase was called a ‘Proof of Concept’ and has resulted in the emergence of Hubs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, the Pacific Region and Pakistan. 



National Workshop for the Constitution of the DRC Hub

The General Assembly of the DRC Hub will take place in Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province, from 9 to 12 November 2021.




En el año 2020, cinco grupos de actores humanitarios se asociaron en un viaje con Start Network en cinco localidades. Este viaje se hizo para crear redes dirigidas a nivel local de agentes de cambio humanitario para presentar una alternativa poderosa al actual sistema humanitario internacional. Todos juntos forman un colectivo de hubs que ayudarían a Start Network a convertirse en una red más dirigida y distribuida a nivel local, con el poder y la toma de decisiones en manos de organizaciones más cercanas a las crisis. Estos cinco hubs ubicados en la República Democrática del Congo , Guatemala, India, Pacífico y Pakistán fueron fundados por colectivos de organizaciones en esos lugares y, juntos, están trabajando entre ellos y con Start Network para encontrar la mejor forma de construir esta red descentralizada de redes. Durante el último año, Start Network habló con varias partes interesadas para entender los puntos de vista sobre el valor y los desafíos potenciales de los hubs. Los resultados permitieron comprender dónde nuestras partes interesadas ven el valor en un modelo de red de redes dirigida a un nivel local, así como también los desafíos que esperan que enfrenten los hubs al alcanzar esta visión. Este documento se publicará como parte de los objetivos de Start Network para crear un sistema más equilibrado que acerque lo más posible el poder y la toma de decisiones a la primera línea.




En 2020, cinq groupes d’acteurs humanitaires dans cinq endroits se sont associés pour un voyage avec Start Network. Ce voyage avait pour but de créer des réseaux de faiseurs de changement humanitaire dirigés localement afin de présenter une alternative puissante au système humanitaire international actuel. Ensemble, ils formeraient un collectif de hubs qui permettraient à Start Network de devenir un réseau plus dirigé et distribué localement, le pouvoir et la prise de décision étant entre les mains des organisations les plus proches des crises. Ces cinq hubs en république démocratique du congo, au guatemala, en inde, dans le pacifique et au pakistan ont été fondés par des collectifs d’organisations dans ces endroits et ensemble, tous les hubs travaillent les uns avec les autres et avec start network pour apprendre la meilleure façon de construire ce réseau décentralisé de réseaux. Au cours de l’année dernière, start network s’est entretenu avec une série de parties prenantes pour comprendre les points de vue sur la valeur et les défis potentiels des hubs. Les résultats ont permis de mieux comprendre où nos parties prenantes voient la valeur d’un modèle de réseau de réseaux dirigé localement, ainsi que les défis auxquels ils s’attendent à ce que les hubs soient confrontés à la réalisation de cette vision. Ce document est publié dans le cadre des objectifs de start network visant à créer un système plus équilibré qui transfère le pouvoir et la prise de décision aux personnes les plus proches de la ligne de front.




In 2020, five groups of humanitarian actors in five locations partnered on a journey with Start Network. This journey was to create locally led networks of humanitarian changemakers to present a powerful alternative to the current international humanitarian system. Together, they would form a collective of hubs that would move Start Network to becoming a more locally led and distributed network, with power and decision making in the hands of organisations closest to crises. These five hubs in DRC, Guatemala, India, Pacific, and Pakistan have been founded by collectives of organisations in those locations and together all hubs are working with each other and Start Network to learn the best way to build this decentralised network of networks. Over the last year, Start Network spoke to a range of stakeholders to understand the views on the potential value and challenges of hubs. The findings provided insight into where our stakeholders see value in a locally led network of networks model, as well as the challenges they expect hubs will face in achieving this vision.


Blog Post

How local leaders are challenging the status quo — and Start Network

As part of our move toward becoming a locally led network of networks, we've incubated and supported five Start Network hubs. Bhavya Srinivasan, Interim Head of Network Development, shares what she's learned in the two years she's worked to support them.



Hub Connect: our journey towards localisation

This event, taking place from 25 May to 3 June. will bring Start Network hubs together to establish a renewed direction for the collective, peer-hub learning, set shared commitments for the wider Start Network and the hubs, all with a focus of driving towards greater localisation.


News Article

UK Aid provides £12m to support the Start Fund

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced today that it would provide a further £12m to support the Start Fund. The funding will enable frontline actors across Start Network’s members and partners to continue to respond rapidly to and in anticipation of under-the-radar humanitarian crises. The FCDO also agreed to work with Start Network in its transition to a global network of ‘hubs’, which will facilitate locally-led responses and improve NGO access to more innovative financing that will mitigate humanitarian impacts, both protecting and assisting people affected by crises.



LEARN about Start Network Hubs

Start Network’s first virtual Assembly meeting took take place from Monday 12 to Thursday 15 October 2020, alongside our 10-year anniversary celebrations. At the Assembly, the leadership teams of Start Network Hubs from India, DRC, Pakistan, Guatemala and the Pacific answered questions and discussed their individual journeys so far in realising their vision for change.



Hub Proof of Concept - Six Lessons in Six Months

This paper is not an evaluation. It is an exploration of the constraints, challenges, and opportunities that have emerged during the first phase of the proof of concept.



Crisis is a time for new dreams

How do we re-imagine a world that is better equipped to deal with global crises? Founding members of five humanitarian hubs in India, Pakistan, DRC, Guatemala and Pacific will invite you into a discussion on how COVID-19 requires us to rethink the role of local leadership.


News Article

Twelve local and national organisations become members of Start Network

Start Network is pleased to announce that 12 new local and national aid agencies, based in India, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have joined the network. The new members have joined as part of Start Network’s plans to build a more balanced network made up of more local and national actors.


Blog Post

Créer et Construire le Carrefour RDC à partir de la base

Gang Karume est natif de la République Démocratique du Congo (RDC) et a travaillé pendant plus de 12 ans, entre 1998 et 2009, comme Coordinateur des opérations dans l’équipe globale d’urgence d’International Rescue Committee (IRC). Ici, nous parlons avec Gang sur comment il s’est engagé avec Start network et sa vision de l’action humanitaire en RDC.


Blog Post

Building and creating the DRC hub from the ground up

Gang Karume Augustin is a DRC national and worked for 12 years as the Global Emergency Coordinator for IRC from 1998-2010. Here we speak with Gang about how he got involved with the Start Network and where he sees the future of humanitarian action in DRC.



Find out more about Start Network