Community Led Innovation

Local problem definition and development of appropriate local solutions by crisis affected people

Our approach to community-led innovation focuses on facilitating local problem definition and the development of appropriate local solutions by crisis-affected people. Innovations which are tested and piloted locally can then be disseminated across the Network and to our other stakeholders.


Traditional humanitarian programmes often fail to recognise that communities affected by and at risk of crises are best placed to solve their own problems and determine how to deliver programmes even better. The transition to a locally led humanitarian system is imperative and requires a major systems innovation in itself, a system thinking approach, to help us support the change.  Start Network aims to address this by supporting adaptive, locally and community-led innovation initiatives across our hubs, membership. 

This includes embedding community-led innovation design into our programming and testing radically new systems and structures. This transition way of working will lead to a humanitarian system that is locally-led, relevant, flexible, and context-specific in its approaches and behaviours.  




  • We are currently supporting community-led innovation initiatives in our hubs in DRC, India and in Guatemala through the Community-Led Partnership with Elrha and ADRRN. The programmes seek to improve the relevance and effectiveness of humanitarian preparedness, response and resilience interventions through innovation driven by the people affected by humanitarian crises. It will support a process of community centred innovation which will equip, support and resource people in communities that are experiencing or are at risk of humanitarian crisis with the skills, finances, mentorship, and space needed to change humanitarian action.
  • We are running a scaling fund initiative to support some of the innovators who took part in the DEPP Labs in scaling their ideas and generating sustainable impact. 




  • FCDO
  • Dutch MFA