End of Year Message 2022
Warmest wishes from all of us at Start Network, Christina Bennett, CEO and Suzanne Lyne, CFOO.
Time to read: 3 minutes
WISHING YOU PEACE, PROSPERITY AND PARTNERSHIP THIS 2023!
What a year to be a Start Network member!
If we thought that our gradual exit from the Covid-19 pandemic would bring with it calmer waters then we were wrong! As we finish 2022, we can look back on a year that has seen major international conflicts divert our capacity, strategic focus and funds; that has brought climate emergencies offering a catastrophic glimpse into a potential future; that has delivered global supply chain disruptions and global inflation, making our jobs harder and more expensive. The communities we are working for and with are requiring more, while the donors are challenging us to deliver more, and all with less and less funding.
A remarkable year
Set within that context, the achievements of our Network are all the more remarkable. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the incredible efforts that have been made and to share with you some of my highlights of 2022:
- We’ve grown to 84 members globally, with 56% being local and national organisations working across six continents.
- We now have 11 hubs in exploration and incubation.
- We’ve had our most active Start Fund year to date disbursing more than £20 million to all of you in 2022, and totalling £107 million across more than 660 alerts assisting 27 million people since the Start Fund began.
- Start Ready, our pre-positioned funding platform, went live with a close to £3 million risk pool covering 8 hazards in 6 countries. It has since triggered 3 times disbursing funds ahead of crises in Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Senegal.
- Across our initiatives, we have disbursed 38% of our funds directly to local organisations, far exceeding any Grand Bargain target.
- We have a new website, including a new Members’ Area where you can more easily find the information relevant to you.
- We had an inspiring meeting of all hubs in Istanbul and an electric Assembly with 85% of our members joining in-person in London. I had the privilege of attending the Pakistan hub’s first assembly of its now 53 international, national and local members.
- Together with you, we’ve taken our demands for local leadership, anticipatory action and systems change to the G7, C7, G20, the UN Economic and Social Council, the Africa and Asia Dialogue Platforms on anticipatory action, the British Parliament, COP27 and countless other humanitarian partnership events.
SOME NEWS FROM FCDO
However, we have also not been immune to the financial pressures that are being placed on our donors. Despite a year of incredible achievement, FCDO informed us last week that they will be cutting our funding in FY2022/2023 with expected additional cuts in 2023/24 as part of wider pressures from the UK economy and the war in Ukraine. While not positive news, FCDO was emphatic that we fared better than most – reflecting the value seen by FCDO in the Start Network and the Start Fund.
In true Start Network style, we have sprung into action, working to reduce costs across our budgets and increase income generation from among our 11 existing donors and many more new prospects. We are also reaching out to allies within the UK government to help them make our case internally.
As we work through the implications of these cuts, we want to stress that we are fully committed to minimising any reductions to the Start Fund pot, Start Ready risk pool and other member-facing services.
Onward to 2023
If 2022 has demonstrated anything, it is that we have a fantastically resilient and adaptable organisation. Moving into the new year, we know we can rely on our courageous and unstoppable team, and on you, our committed members, to figure this out and continue to achieve great things together – for ourselves, for our network and for communities around the world.
Happy holidays to those celebrating. And to all: onward and upward in 2023!
Christina and Suzanne