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A new era of humanitarian action


Start Fund Bangladesh COVID-19 response 2020, Jago Nari

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A new era of humanitarian action

Start Network is made up of more than 50 humanitarian agencies across five continents, ranging from large international organisations to national NGOs. Together, our aim is to transform humanitarian action through innovation, fast funding, early action, and locally led action.

We're tackling what we believe are the biggest systemic problems that the sector faces - problems including slow and reactive funding, centralised decision-making, and an aversion to change, which means that people affected by crises around the world, do not receive the best help fast enough, and needless suffering results.
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Locally-led action

We believe that a more balanced international aid system, which shifts power to those closest to the front-line, will generate more effective and appropriate responses for people affected by crises.

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New froms of financing

New forms of financing

Our pooled funds enable fast and early action to tackle the kind of crises that are often overlooked by other funding mechanisms. Our risk financing pilots are introducing new ways of working that can save even more lives.

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Collective innovation

New ways of working are needed to tackle the challenges we face. By innovating collectively we can share expertise, insights and perspectives to shape a more effective humanitarian system.

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An international network

Today the Start Network extends to more than 50 members and their 7000 partner organisations, employing more than a quarter of a million people across 200 countries and territories.
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In 2019, Start Fund Bangladesh opened up its membership to 26 local and national organisations enabling them to access direct funding and become involved in decision-making around funding and responses. As a direct result, 80% of all Start Fund Bangladesh funding had been awarded directly to local and national organisations in 2020. This directive to shift the power has also been explored in other ways. For example, Start Fund Bangladesh has also been working to encourage INGOs who have local implementing partners to share overhead costs so that these can be used to grow and strengthen local organisations. To understand more about further changes that Start Fund Bangladesh could make, we listened to some of the reflections of Sina Chowdhury and Sirajul Islam who work for two of the local organisations that joined in 2019. The verbatim quotes from the interviews provide a powerful and rich narrative around their experience working with Start Fund Bangladesh and as humanitarians and have led us to formulate three main lessons for the Start Network: BE MORE INCLUSIVE TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE; UPSKILL TO EMPOWER; and CHAMPION FOR CHANGE. This report would be of interest to all those working towards a system change to a more locally led humanitarian system that is more accountable to those affected by crisis.



Primer on Mainstreaming Gender and DRF: Experiences of Marginalized Gender Identities in Disasters in rural/urban communities in the Philippines

The conduct of the missing voices approach in understanding the role of gender in disaster risk financing for the Philippines provided several emerging themes. Themes vary from disaster preparedness activities, early action, as well as barriers and challenges which need to be considered in developing a local DRF system. Start Network recognizes the importance of experiences as a learning mechanism to devise ways to help in improving disaster preparedness, access to information, and early action given the gendered needs of people.



Recovering costs more equitably: An important step in rebalancing power?

Start Fund Bangladesh produced key evidence on the impact of Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR). How can organisations use ICR for their own organisational development and how INGOs can adopt these practices to strengthen partnerships with local organisations.




This framework is set out as a series of intensions and questions across 11 elements where we feel change is needed. The intention outlines the vision of where we want to be or get to as a network. The issues/questions outline questions that SN needs to answer at all levels leadership, management, staff, membership, Hubs, etc. 



The Network

Start Network members