Back to all news and blogs

Looking back at the DEPP two years on

Blog Post

The Disaster and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) was a £40 million programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) that aimed to strengthen skills and capacity and improve the quality and speed of humanitarian response in countries that are at risk of natural disasters or emergencies. This three-year programme involved 14 different humanitarian capacity strengthening projects across 10 countries with nearly half of the Start Network membership and a myriad of other stakeholders including academia, the UN, and the Red Cross.

The DEPP closed two years ago this month. Many articles were published on its achievements and the independent evaluation by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative drew attention to these as well as some of the challenges including its sustainability. As part of our 10-year celebrations, the Evidence and Learning team of the Start Network have been finding out “what happened next” following the close of the DEPP by speaking to some of member organisations and other stakeholders who were involved in the programme.


Still going strong

There were a number of initiatives that were started under the DEPP Programme that are still going strong. Shongjog, which means “linkage” in Bangla, is a multi-stakeholder platform established in Bangladesh to build humanitarian communications with communities. It comprises 10 Start Network members as well as agencies such as UNICEF and BBC Media Action. They produce regular outputs, the most recent being a set of communication tools around COVID-19 for both the Rohingya and host community in Cox’s Bazar. The DEPP programme in Bangladesh was also responsible for the development of NAHAB, the National Alliance of Humanitarian Actors Bangladesh, a national humanitarian network of 49 local NGOs including many that now access Start Fund Bangladesh such as Jago Nari. In neighbouring Pakistan, the Local Surge Rosters developed under the Transforming Surge Capacity project not only remains active but under the National Humanitarian Network (NHN) continues to grow and act as a model for a regional surge platform. Further afield in Kenya and Ethiopia, the early warning systems developed under Improved Early Warning Early Actions (EWEA) were noted to still be active and utilised by agencies and governments alike.


Many agencies and even the government are still using the same approaches learnt from DEPP to prepare communities through early warning.
- Patrick Katelo Issako, PACIDA, Kenya


The automatic weather stations [AWS] are still very active and are part and parcel of the National Metrology Agency information system.
- Yitna Tekaligne, Christian Aid, Ethiopia


New initiatives building on the DEPP work

Many agencies have used their experience with the DEPP programme to develop new programmes. In the Philippines, SAFER (Shared Aid Fund for Emergency Response) was developed as DEPP was closing down in 2018. It is supported by Caucus of Development Non-Government Organization (CODE-NGO), People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDDRN), and National Secretariat for Social Action Center (NASSA) and is a key local fundraising mechanism. Most recently it raised PhP 500,000 (US$10,000) to help 1,400 informal family settlers in Navotas City North bay Boulevard in Metro Manila affected by enhanced community quarantine during COVID-19. Building on the DEPP work under the Financial Enablers, Transforming Surge Capacity and Shifting the Power, ECHO is funding the same consortium (Christian Aid, CARE, Tearfund, ActionAid, CAFOD and Oxfam) through a project entitled Accelerating Localisation Through Partnerships (ALTP). This programme aims to foster the power of strong partnerships between national and local NGOs and INGOs to strengthen local leadership of humanitarian response in Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria and South Sudan. The DEPP programme has also motivated individual agencies to expand the DEPP work.  For example, based on the results of the Start Network’s Shifting the Power project, Tearfund is now phasing in the Disaster Management Capacity Assessment tool across all disaster vulnerable countries, and Christian Aid are working their sister agencies in Denmark and Sweden, Danish Church Aid and Church of Sweden on a Survivor Led Response approach that developed from the Linking Preparedness Response and Resilience (LPRR) project.


Good foundations for the future

Finally, the DEPP work has laid important foundations for a future humanitarian system that invests resources in capacity building, shares learnings and builds on the localisation work through our hub vision.

Les mêmes organisations qui étaient dans les projets DEPP en DRC sont également devenues membres du Hub. Il s'agit donc d'une continuation. (The same organisations that were in the DEPP projects in DRC also became members of the Hub. So it is a continuation).
- Bernard Balibuno, CAFOD, DRC


Read more about the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme.

Keep reading:


  • by Helen Guyatt