European Response Fund
European Refugee Responsee

European Refugee Response

Start Network co-ordinated a two phase response to the European Refugee Crisis through ERR1 and ERR2. These responses focussed on meeting urgent and unmet needs by bridging the gap while other funds became available.


There has been movement of refugees and migrants to Europe for many years. However the number of people traveling to Europe reached unprecedented numbers in 2015. By September of that year more than 640,000 people had travelled to Europe by land or sea, often experiencing extreme suffering en route and in destination countries. The refugees and migrants are seeking protection, fleeing war, violence and persecution in their countries of origin. The majority of refugees arrived from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The response varied across Europe and was largely inadequate and not well coordinated. Agencies worked with local partners, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), local authorities and governments, to conduct assessments, provide immediate assistance to needs, reinforce local services, enhance capacities of responders and promote protection of refugees.

Start Network's response

Between 26 October 2015 and 30 April 2016, Start Network coordinated ERR1 which was a £16 million response involving a consortium of 17 Start Network members and non-members to respond to this crisis in Greece, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia.

This was a collaborative and scaled up response, which enabled different stakeholders to work at different levels to make a coordinated contribution to the crisis. Start Network provided a brokering role for agencies and the donor.

The projects provided winter assistance across many sectors. As well as direct assistance the programme included monitoring, evaluation, learning (MEL), research and advocacy for long term strategy. MEL services were provided by ACF and research was undertaken in collaboration with Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network.

In April 2016, DFID allocated a further £5 million to Start Network to continue to manage and coordinate a second phase ‘bridging funds’ collaborative response to the European Refugee Crisis through Start Network and non-Start Network agencies. This ran from April 1 until August 31 2016.

This programme focussed on meeting urgent and unmet needs over the summer months in the aftermath of the EU-Turkey Agreement and responded in Greece, Macedonia and Serbia and involved 9 Start Network members and partner agencies. 

Agencies involved

European Refugee Response 1: ACAPS MapAction, Action Aid, CARE, Christian Aid. Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Doctors of the World, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), International Medical Corps (IMC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Mercy Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Oxfam, Samaritan's Purse, Internews, Save the Children, Translator’s Without Borders (TWB) and World Vision.

European Refugee Response 2: ActionAid, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), International Medical Corps (IMC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Oxfam, Samaritan's Purse, Internews, and Translator’s Without Borders (TWB)

Funding was provided by UK Aid of £21 million.

Posts from the agencies involved

'This is one of the many thousands of families fleeing conflict in Syria and seeking refuge in Europe...'

Facebook post by Samaritan's Purse UK on Tuesday, 9 February 2016


Read the final evaluation of the project.

To find out more about this programme contact