10 things Start Network did in its 10th year

2020 was an eventful year, it was also Start Network's 10 year anniversary. Here we look back at 10 things Start Network did in its 10th year.


Time to read: 5 minutes


2020 was an eventful year, it was also Start Network's 10 year anniversary. Here we look back at 10 things Start Network did in its 10th year.


In March we launched the Start Fund Covid-19 to support vulnerable communities in low-income countries

In March of this year, Start Network set up a new COVID-19 fund to anticipate and respond to critical virus-related humanitarian needs in low-income countries. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began to spread across low-income countries, we saw how critical it was to anticipate, prepare for and respond to the human impact of the virus, particularly in those communities already living with weak public health systems and poor public services. To date the fund has disbursed nearly £5M reaching more than 1.7M people.

Read more about the Start Fund COVID-19.


2 - Launch of the Hubs

In January we announced support for five founding Hubs and they went on to carve out a strong voice for change

In January Start Network announced the support of five founding Hubs, in Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, the Pacific region, and Pakistan. Each Hub is led by organisations based in the countries and regions and are made up of a diverse representation of local, national and international organisations. Later in the year, those Hubs launched a bold paper aimed at catalysing a more local response to the immediate needs of COVID-19 and to accelerate a lasting step-change in humanitarian response.

Read more about Start Network Hubs.


3 - New members

This year we brought in 16 new members, many of which were local and national members based in our Hubs locations.

In June 12 members joined, and in December four more joined the network. The new members are: ASECSA, BRAC, Medair, and PIN, Appui aux Femmes Démunies et Enfants Marginalisés (AFEDEM), Association des Femmes pour la Promotion et le Développement Endogène (AFPDE), Bright Star Development Society Balochistan, Caritas Goma, Caritas India, Health & Nutrition Development Society (HANDS), Help Foundation, Initiative for Development and Empowerment Axis (IDEA), Midefehops-Asbl, North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS), Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS), Yuganter.


4 - Training in early action and crisis anticipation

We launched a free 'Crisis Anticipation and Action' online training

In 2020 Start Network launched a free 'Crisis Anticipation and Action' online training for Start Network members. The self-guided, self-paced course takes around 1 hour to complete and aims to build an understanding of crisis anticipation and the elements to consider when raising a crisis anticipation alert to the Start Fund. Launch the training course here.


5 - First alert for gender-based violence

Women and girls in El Salvador's neglected and marginalised communities were already living in vulnerable circumstances...

Posted by Start Network on Wednesday, 25 November 2020

In April the Start Fund received its first alert for gender-based violence, demonstrating that gender-based violence despite its prevalence continues to go under the radar. Read more.



Start Network’s first virtual Assembly meeting took place from Monday 12 to Thursday 15 October 2020

The Assembly afforded the network's members and stakeholders the unique opportunity to come together, take stock of our learning and progress, and propel us forward in our collective vision. It was the first time that our Assembly meeting went fully virtual, which allowed us to reach more people than ever before.

Watch back the recorded sessions and access learning materials.



After more than three years and reaching 175,000 people, the Start Network’s Migration Emergency Response Fund (MERF) has closed.

The Migration Emergency Response Fund was set up to address the unpredictable nature of the mixed migration context across the Mediterranean and rapidly respond to new or emerging needs. It also aimed to improve the effectiveness and understanding of migration responses and trends. Read the interview with Melina Koutsis, Programme’s Manager where she discusses the origins and the accomplishments of the MERF over the years.

Read more about the Migration Emergency Response Fund.



The working differently challenge was launched and three organisations were awarded funding for their innovative projects.

As part of Start Network’s commitments to localisation and collective innovation, we ran the Working Differently Challenge from 14 September to 6 October 2020. During this time, members, hubs, and their partners were invited to submit their innovative solutions that address problems within humanitarian agencies or local communities more widely. After receiving several submissions, which were judged by a panel of experts, three winners from Cadena, Islamic Relief, and Tearfund were announced.

Read more.



Start Fund Bangladesh led the way in a timely response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The first allocation for COVID-19 under Start Fund Bangladesh was made on 27 March, a day after the country went into lockdown and nine days after the country reported its first death from the disease. Soon after, the second allocation was made on 31 March. Disbursing a total amount of around £550k, the fund was able to reach around 4 million people from the most vulnerable communities.

Read more about Start Fund Bangladesh.



Our 10 year anniversary was marked with a celebration of Change Makers and a Decade of Positive Disruption

As part of Start Network’s 10-year anniversary, we celebrated Change Makers, the individuals, teams or organisations that are driving positive change across the humanitarian sector. An to tell each of their stories, we produce a podcast series called "Stories of Change" - listen to them on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify and SoundcloudRead more about the Change Makers.

Our online report, A Decade of Positive Disruption is a celebration of ten years of Start Network’s achievements and impacts on its 10-year anniversary. It is a testament to the network’s diversity and reach, as told through the insights and stories from more than 60 contributors from around the world, who have engaged with Start Network in some way. Read more.

We thank all the individuals and organisations involved in the Start Network for making our 10th year so impactful; our members, our Hubs, our donors, the many local and national organisations that work tirelessly with communities every day, and all of the staff teams and volunteers of all those organisations who are the driving force behind our work.