Start Fund COVID-19

Start Fund COVID-19 enables Start Network members to anticipate and respond to critical virus-related humanitarian needs in low-income countries.

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About Start Fund COVID-19

The Start Fund COVID-19 was launched in April 2020, when the need for humanitarian support beyond the Start Fund’s remit was communicated by our members. This mechanism sits within the Start Fund and provides rapid funding to address neglected or underfunded aspects of the broader COVID-19 crisis at a local level. This funding is not accessible on an ad hoc basis, but in response to a Call for Alerts being opened by the Start Fund team. The frequency of Calls for Alerts being opened, as well as the number of projects that can be funded through them, depends on levels of funding being made available.

Following an initial call for alerts at the start of April, in response to which 85 alerts from 69 countries were submitted, a prioritisation exercise has delimited the number of countries eligible to access funding in subsequent calls. One of the sources which helped to prioritise these countries (among other criteria) is the INFORM index, and can be accessed here.


Support the Start Fund COVID-19

The fund has received support from the IKEA Foundation, UK Aid, Jersey Overseas Aid, and private donors. However, as the types of crises produced through primary and secondary impacts of COVID-19 continue to diversify, the Start Fund is urgently seeking more donors. To reach affected communities as effectively as possible, it’s vital that NGOs are funded directly, and that donors do not react to funding concerns by reverting to former practice and channelling funds through multilateral mechanisms. The first Call for Alerts generated evidence of a funding gap of over £20M, which is a figure that is likely to have increased. If you are able to support us in any way at this critical time of global need, please get in touch with us at





Guidance for members on accessing the Start Fund COVID-19

The Start Fund COVID-19 is currently not open. Upon further funding being made available, Start Network members will be notified by email and on Skype – the countries eligible for submitting an alert will also be communicated at that time.  

The Start Fund COVID-19 has already funded 35 projects in 22 countries, with mid- and end-term projects providing learning and feedback for future rounds of funding. We appreciate that needs generated from COVID-19 are well beyond those of the funding capacity available. If members have questions about the first or second call for alerts, please contact

List of activated alerts and activated amounts: ​


CV19 003 Libya £250,000
CV19 010 South Sudan £250,000
CV19 011 Myanmar £250,000
CV19 016 OPT £250,000
CV19 027 Burkina Faso £250,000
CV19 029 Sudan £250,000
CV19 034 Chad £250,000
CV19 040 Lebanon £250,000
CV19 046 Haiti £250,000
CV19 057 Syria £250,000
CV19 058 Peru £250,000
CV19 062 BiH £200,000
CV19 067 Benin £134,000
CV19 068 Timor-Leste £194,901
CV19 070 Colombia £192,600
CV19 078 Thailand £180,000
CV19 082 Laos £187,805
CV19 089 Afghanistan £250,000
CV19 090 Yemen £250,000
CV19 091 Somalia £250,000
CV19 092 Central African Republic £250,000
CV19 093 Burundi £250,000

The Start Fund COVID-19 is still seeking further funding. If new funds become available, we will communicate the process to access this funding again. This might differ slightly from the usual Start Fund process in order to adapt to the specific needs of this global pandemic and considering the operational capacity of both the membership and the Start Funds team.



Resources and analysis by Start Network's members and partners


Guidance document

Alert template

Q&A presentation

List of question and answers


NB: For Start Fund COVID-19, anticipation and response have been combined so that there is only one alert template.


Please refer to the above documents for more information. If you cannot find the answer to your question in those, please get in touch with the team via


Further reading

Related news, blogs and resources

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