Anticipation & Risk Financing


Start Network supports agencies to analyse the risk of crises, and create a suite of timely, and reliable funding options, to disburse for different types of crises. This will enable NGOs to forecast crises, and access timely funding to reduce the impact of those disasters on communities. 

Sorce and her son Abdallah in the drought-stricken Oromia region of Ethiopia. Credit: UNOCHA/Charlotte Cans

Timely funding for predictable crises

Climate change, inequality, increased urban densities and the nature of today’s conflicts are generating humanitarian crises of increasing complexity and frequency. Despite improvements in our ability to predict the likelihood of disasters, the humanitarian system continues to react as though they are unexpected surprises, responding only after they occur, and then often slowly. 


Anticipation & Risk Financing allows humanitarians to be better prepared in advance of humanitarian events by quantifying risks in advance of crises or disasters, pre-positioning funds, and releasing them according to pre-agreed protocols.


We are developing new funding instruments that enable humanitarians to mobilise collaboratively, predictably, to manage risks rather than react to crises. These mechanisms are based on:


  1. The use of science and data to model and quantify risks in advance in the areas in which we operate;
  2. Working together to pre-plan and pre-cost different crisis response activities needed to support communities;
  3. Pre-positioning funds according to pre-agreed protocols for release, so that when the conditions are met, funding is rapidly released.



How do we work

  • Our anticipatory funding is disbursed through the Start Fund for small to medium crises, based on dynamic decision-making, meaning that NGOs can act early when they see crises coming.
  • We are using financial tools such as insurance to leverage funding for NGOs, allowing them to protect against the risk of large-scale drought. This involves quantifying risks, planning humanitarian operations, and disbursing funding according to pre-agreed triggers, in a timely and predictable manner.
  • We will be using the learning from these early action innovations to scale and layer a suite of disaster risk financing tools for different types of crises, to ensure that funding can quickly and efficiently be channelled to frontline humanitarian actors.


Blog Post

Anticipating Cold Waves in the Terai Region, Nepal

“I filled out a voucher form to indicate what I need to survive low temperatures. I expressed my family's need for blankets, sweaters, thermos, rice, salt, oil, lentils, and sugar. A few days later, I got a call to collect the items that I choose. This paper voucher was easy for me," Rita, a community member from Terai shares her experience during Start Fund Nepal's anticipatory response to the cold wave in January 2022.



Start Fund Anticipatory Alert Note

This note should concisely provide an overview of the crisis, highlight the needs of the affected people, and explain the appropriateness of the Start Fund to respond. The alert note is a means of providing information to the Start Network to enable decision-making. It is important to understand the predicted impact and the kind of anticipation actions that can be taken to mitigate this impact.



Overview: Leveraging Community Level Data for Early Action Programmes: Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Community Livelihoods in Senegal

Start Network implements a range of early action programmes to enable communities to act ahead of potential hazards. One of the challenges involved in delivering impactful early action interventions is ensuring that assistance reaches community members at the right time, i.e., before some community members are forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms such as taking children out of school, cutting down on meals or incurring debts for food provision. Intervention timing can differ within the same country and from one region or community to another. Qualitative data collected from community members provides crucial insights that help us determine the right windows of opportunity for interventions. However, this longitudinal qualitative data requires time to analyse and infer lessons, which can make it difficult for decision makers who have little time to read detailed qualitative accounts. Start Network, through our ARC Replica programme, collected qualitative data about the lived experiences of community members in various parts of Senegal over a six month period. This article explains the visualisations curated via Data Spoiler, and outlines the key findings from the monthly check-ins across 22 sentinel sites. It is intended for data practitioners and decision makers to enable them to: 1) Understand how community voices can inform early action programme design and 2) Explore new ways of using qualitative data to inform decision making around early action



Methodology: Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Community Lives and Livelihoods in Senegal: Replicating the Methodology

This article outlines the method that was used to collect, code and visualise sentinel site data from the ARC Replica drought pay-out in Senegal. It is intended for practitioners and decision makers who are looking to: 1) bring in community member voices to inform early action programme designs and 2) explore new ways of using qualitative data to inform decision making around early action. The methodology outlined can also be replicated by researchers collecting longitudinal data with multiple data points over long periods of time.