Start Network


Leading for change in humanitarian aid


© John Wessels / ALIMA, Start Fund alert 160, DRC, outbreak of Ebola – May 2017

Start Network has launched a new charity, which is aiming to catalyse a new era of humanitarian aid because its members believe that the global humanitarian system needs urgent reform to meet the challenges posed by today’s crises. Until now Start Network has been a consortium hosted by Save the Children UK, since it first was established in 2010. In that time, it has developed impactful programmes with a sophisticated and proven approach, and a compelling vision for the future of humanitarian response.

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About us

A new era of humanitarian action

Start Network is made up of more than 40 aid 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 localisation.
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, 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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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 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 example of risk layering: the ARC Replica Initiative

This paper uses a simple case study to illustrate the types of questions that humanitarian stakeholders need to ask as they weigh up the risks and benefits of investing in and combining different financing instruments. The article focuses on two financing mechanisms, contingency funds and insurance and is focused on drought in Senegal.


Blog Post

A Start Fund rapid response to flooding in Myanmar

Torrential rains during Myanmar’s monsoon season caused the Laymyo River banks to burst and overflow causing widespread damage to homes and infrastructure. The Start Fund was activated, awarding funding to three agencies for a rapid response.


Blog Post

How much insurance should a humanitarian agency buy?

In this blog we talk about how insurance can offer potential in improving the predictability and timeliness of humanitarian financing, but that it is best used alongside other instruments like contingency funds. We discuss some of the lessons learnt in trying to put this into practice.


Blog Post

Start Fund awarded responses: July

July saw 7 alerts activated, with over £1,000,000 being disbursed for rapids reponses to crises in the month. 


Our vision

The future of humanitarian action

Start Network is working to create a system in which; responses to crises will be defined by those closest to them and based on humanitarian need; early and predictable funding will reduce the impact of crises and the cost of responses; a diverse group of organisations work together to adapt to the needs of people affected by crises. We believe this is only possible through a collective effort to change the system.
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An international network

Today the Start Network extends to 42 members and their 7000 partner organisations, employing more than a quarter million people across 200 countries and territories.
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The Network

Start Network members