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.


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.


Blog Post

Can humanitarians really forecast man-made disasters?

The Start Fund responds to humanitarian crises - from conflict and displacement to flooding, cyclones, disease outbreaks. But when the Start Fund began formally and regularly releasing aid in anticipation of crises in 2016, it was a common assumption that our network would only be able to release funding in anticipation of natural hazards. After all, violence, conflict and displacement are too uncertain to forecast and release aid on the basis of those forecasts, right?



Good enough context analysis for rapid response

WHAT DOES GECARR PRODUCE? The output is a short document analysing the country context and needs, key actors, sources of cohesion and division (connectors and dividers) and likely future scenarios. It includes internal and external recommendations that inform organisational strategies, operational and security plans, programme designs and external messaging.


Blog Post

Forecast based early action in flood prone Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, acting before a crisis is not a new idea. In this piece, Md Jafar Iqbal, Programme Manager - Emergency Response at CARE Bangladesh explores some of the barriers and opportunities around scaling early action in the country.


Blog Post

Start Fund Monthly Risk Briefing: April

To enable NGOs to act before a crisis occurs and response early to mitigate the predicted impacts, the Start Fund produces monthly risk briefings which provide risk information on global weather, volcanic, human and health events where members may consider using the Start Fund Anticipation process.



Further Information

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