ARC Replica

ARC Replica is run in partnership between Start Network, African Risk Capacity (ARC), African Union Member States, including the Government of Senegal and Zimbabwe, and the World Food Programme. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Development Bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the UK's Foreign, Development and Commonwealth Office.

Credit: Atmospheric Research CSIRO |


African Risk Capacity (ARC) is an organisation mandated by the African Union to help African nations proactively manage climate-related humanitarian risks through macro-insurance. The ARC Replica programme allows non-governmental organisations like Start Network to work side-by-side with governments to manage these risks.



How it works

African Risk Capacity's (ARC) member states can purchase 'parametric' insurance policies from ARC Ltd, which means that payouts are automatically made for pre-approved contingency plans when pre-agreed scientific triggers are met. Non-governmental partners like Start Network can then purchase a replica insurance policy to complement this approach to disaster risk management. 


Start Network and the World Food Programme were the first designated partners of the ARC Replica initiative in 2018. Start Network purchased its first ARC Replica policy to protect against drought in Senegal in 2019, alongside the Senegalese government.





Droughts are slow onset disasters. Yet, while it is possible to predict drought months in advance, the response is always reactive rather than proactive. Humanitarian assistance comes too late, often because funding hasn’t been put in place.



In July 2019, Start Network and the government of Senegal each purchased an insurance policy against drought. If rainfall levels dropped below a pre-defined threshold, Start Network members and the government of Senegal would receive payouts to implement timely and coordinated actions to protect communities at risk.


When the pre-agreed triggers were met in November 2019, a payout of US $12.5m was made to the Government of Senegal and another US $10.6m was paid to Start Network. The payout to Start Network remains the largest-ever funding allocation to civil society for early humanitarian action.


Throughout 2020, six Start Network members – Action Against Hunger, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision – worked alongside the government of Senegal to deliver assistance to Senegalese families ahead of a severe large-scale drought. The agencies distributed enriched flour and made cash transfers to more than 335,000 people across seven regions. This enabled families to protect livestock and other valuable assets and avoid resorting to ‘negative coping strategies’, such as skipping meals or sending children to work instead of school. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated needs and agencies took the opportunity to broadcast hygiene and sanitation messaging to help mitigate the spread of the virus.




Start Network undertook a comprehensive evaluation to review the impact of the payout on the members who received funding and the communities reached. A mixed method approach was taken, including data collection from implementing agencies, government stakeholders, and three rounds of randomised, representative telephone-based surveys with communities.




Thanks to further funding provided by BMZ through KFW, Start Network is now working to purchase a policy in Senegal in 2021, and to expand the programme to other African country such as Zimbabwe.




Blog Post

Defeating drought: Crisis Averted in Senegal

Although drought can be predicted months in advance, humanitarian assistance is often delayed – because it takes time to raise funds after the crisis has happened.


Blog Post

EARTH DAY 2021: Adapting to climate change by building community resilience

As part of the evaluation of ARC Replica, in-depth interviews were held with households to better understand the timing and impact of the assistance. These interviews suggested that the start of lean season is not homogenous across Senegal. 


Blog Post

Senegal: Regional differences in the timing of the lean season and the implications for food security programme delivery

As part of the ARC Replica evaluation, in-depth interviews were held with households to better understand the timing and impact of the assistance. The assistance of cash and fortified flour distributions were timed to align with an assumed lean season of June-August. However, interviews with households suggested that the start of lean season is not homogenous across Senegal. These differences are supported by hydrogeological differences across the country and suggest that a staggered rather than uniform distribution may be more appropriate in order to support households in a timely manner.


News Article

Innovative Approach to Insurance Enables Humanitarian Agencies To Proactively Manage Climate-Related Risks At Scale

A new report published today demonstrates how insurance can help governments and organisations to predict and proactively manage climate-related humanitarian risks at scale. The report, published by Start Network, a global collaboration of humanitarian NGOs, is based on a comprehensive evaluation of its programme in Senegal, which utilised a ‘parametric insurance’ policy to pay out before the worst effects of a drought were felt.


News Article

Une Approche Innovante de L'assurance Permet aux Organisations Humanitaires de Gerer les Risques Climatiques de Maniere Proactive a Grande Echelle

Un nouveau rapport publié aujourd'hui montre de quelle façon les assurances peuvent aider les gouvernements et les organisations à prévoir et à gérer de manière proactive et à grande échelle, les risques humanitaires liés aux changements climatiques. Ce rapport publié par le Start Network, un réseau mondial d'ONG humanitaires, se base sur une évaluation exhaustive du programme mené par le réseau au Sénégal, qui a utilisé une police d'« assurance paramétrique » pour verser une indemnité avant que les pires effets d'une sécheresse ne se fassent ressentir.


News Article

In Senegal, the village of Ndouff rises from its own ashes

In November 2019, the Government of Senegal and the ARC Replica partner, Start Network, qualified for an ARC insurance payout following the drought conditions that prevailed during the agricultural season. In October 2020, ARC and Start Network travelled to the village of Ndouff, located at 70km from Dakar, the Senegalese capital, to interact with the community on the benefits and impacts of the payout in their lives.


Blog Post

Strengths and challenges of coordinated humanitarian response

Coordination is one of the areas where the design of the Start Network’s ARC Replica pay-out in Senegal has been most ambitious.


Blog Post

ARC Replica Pay-out Senegal 2020

The Start Network’s $10.6m ARC Replica pay-out in Senegal is being used to support the food security and livelihoods of more than 27,000 households across seven regions of Senegal.