Community meetings in Kufunda
Community meetings in Kufunda © Tree of Life, Zimbabwe

Start Ready

Start Ready is a unique financing mechanism that uses advanced planning so that funding can be rapidly released when needed most.

Start Ready pre-positions funding for crises that happen with regular and predictable patterns of recurrence, like floods, droughts, and heatwaves. Our evidence suggests that around 55% of humanitarian funding goes to crises like these but only 1% of this funding is organised in advance – despite this being a much more effective way of tackling these crises. 

This funding mechanism allows Start Network members to pool funds and risks, meaning we can stretch funding further than ever before – up to three times further than traditional humanitarian response funding.

Start Ready was launched in 2021 and went live in 2022. It complements our existing Start Fund by providing more, and more diverse, funding to humanitarian organisations.

Start Ready Portal

Information on Start Ready activations in specific countries that applied for protection against heatwaves, droughts, floods and cyclones.

Visit here

How it works

Start Ready is based on the principle of national and local institutions and NGOs coming together to collectively analyse and quantify risks in anticipation of expected crises. 

By quantifying risks in this way we are able to pre-position the correct amount of financing needed and to create a balanced portfolio of risks with different “return periods” (probability of occurring within a particular timeframe). These are known as “actuarial advantages” and allow us to make the most efficient use of the funds available.

This disaster risk financing process runs on an annual cycle. You can find detailed information in our information sheet Start Ready – How it works and in the Start Ready handbook.

1. Networks of members work together to design and build a disaster risk financing system, analysing their risks and creating contingency plans. We have developed a Building Blocks framework to guide them through this process. These networks are then eligible to apply for Start Ready coverage. 

2. Donors contribute funds in advance, creating a pool of funds that are managed by the Start Ready Governance Committee. The Committee looks at the applications and structures the funding. It then issues coverage certificates lasting for 12 months to each successful network.

3. The pool of funds is live for 12 months. During this period, risks are monitored during each country’s risk season (such as flooding, drought, heatwave or cyclones). Each disaster risk financing system will have a contingency plan that defines the danger thresholds for these risks. When these thresholds are met, funding is immediately released.


Committee members

Start Ready has its own governance committee. You can see a list of current members on our Governance bodies page.

If you are interested in joining the Start Ready Committee, please contact us on

Our donors

The Start Ready Risk Pool is supported by:

  • UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
  • IKEA Foundation
  • Irish Aid
  • French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
  • Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Swiss Re.

We have also received technical support from the UK Government Actuary’s Department and CDP.

If you are interested in supporting Start Ready, please contact us on

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