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A new era of humanitarian action


Start Fund: Tropical storm response, Somalia, 2018

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About us

A new era of humanitarian action

Start Network is made up of more than 50 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 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 over 40 members and their 7000 partner organisations, employing more than a quarter of a million people across 200 countries and territories.
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Latest news

Blog Post

Managing uncertainty… opportunities to do things differently

Last week I attended the 33rd Annual meeting of ALNAP (Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action). The subject of this years’ meeting was “Facing the Unknown: Managing Uncertainty in Humanitarian Action” and the virtual events were split across two days with options for two different time zones.


News Article

Start Fund COVID-19 Launches New Call for Alerts with £2.6m

A new call for alerts has now been launched with approximately £2.6 million from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO). The goal for this call for alerts is to support members to act rapidly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in their country; to address neglected/underfunded aspects of the broader COVID-19 crisis with a focus on neglected communities/geographies; and mitigation through community-based responses.


Blog Post

Putting people and culture at the core of the Start Networks organisational agenda

Cat Sneath is Head of People and Culture at the Start Network. She made this mid-career move from the programme position of Head of Funds to an organisational one at the end of last year. Here she talks about her role, the work she is doing and what kindness means to her on World Kindness Day.


News Article

New podcast launches to celebrate Start Network’s Change Makers

As part of Start Network’s 10-year anniversary, we wanted to celebrate those who have made or are making a considerable impact within their community, country, region, organisation or wider system – individuals, teams or organisations that are driving positive change within the humanitarian sector. In order to tell each of their stories, we teamed up with A Good Day in Africa to produce a series of podcasts, which will be released bi-weekly from 4 November.


Latest resources


Migration Emergency Response Fund Research Piece

This research piece attempts to navigate the discussion and explore Start Network members’, donors’ and staff perceptions and experiences of the Start Network’s dedicated Migration Emergency Response Fund (MERF), with a view to making practical recommendations in support of Start Network’s institutional engagement with mixed migration going forward.



Evaluation des flux migratoires et des besoins et risques de protection sur l'axe Sevare-Timbuktu au Mali

Le financement du MERF a été accordé sous la forme d'une subvention pour la Collaborative Information Collection and Analysis (CICA) afin d'évaluer les besoins sur la route émergente entre Sévaré et Tombouctou. L'évaluation a été menée par le Danish Refugee Council (DRC) au Mali et a confirmé le nombre très élevé de migrants utilisant cet itinéraire ainsi que le besoin d'une aide à la protection. 



Evaluation of migration flows and protection needs and risks on the Sevare-Timbuktu route in Mali

Funding from the Migration Emergency Response Fund (MERF) was awarded in the form of a Collaborative Information Collection and Analysis (CICA) grant in order to assess the needs on the emerging route between Sévaré and Timbuktu. 



Labs and Beyond: Opportunities to Transform Innovation Support

Reimagining Systems of Support for Aid Sector Innovators To date, much of the work on innovation lab design has focused on serving individual innovators who develop well-bounded products and services. Other more complex forms of innovation, ideas that engage a diverse range of participants in a wider creative effort, have received less attention and have fewer formal systems of support. This paper explores these untapped innovation strategies and lays out the ecosystems of support they need to succeed. In this "post-lab" world, sponsors of innovation have a unique opportunity to expand their strategies for funding and mentoring impactful creative change.



The Network

Start Network members