Our WHS Commitments: Bringing new innovations to humanitarian financing

Start Network's Commitment

Start Labs commits to continue exploring the benefits of alternative funding mechanisms, such as social impact investing, and their applications to humanitarianism.

Meeting our commitment

Start Labs continues to provide a protected space for high risk experimentation and innovation in new business models that enable systemic change in humanitarian response.

The Start Network’s vision is much wider than the current core programmes and envisages catalysing a new humanitarian economy. The experiments being undertaken by Labs offer stepping stones to achieving this vision of a new humanitarian economy in the following ways:

Resources mobilised in response to shifts in risk, not events: A central focus of Start Labs has been developing new financial products that build on the success of the Start Fund. These include new risk management approaches and financing instruments (such as insurance and credit) that will offer a layered menu of financial products to NGOs and donors to respond to different kinds of crisis events.

Supporting humanitarian action to be shaped by locally led innovation and responsive to client needs: In late 2016 the DFID-funded DEPP Innovation Labs was launched to enable field-driven innovations in disaster emergency preparedness. This offers the network a new experiment in facilitating locally-driven innovations that are driven by client needs.

A digital backbone for the new humanitarian economy: In 2016 the Start Network secured funding from the Estonian government to test how blockchain technology can contribute to a more innovative, flexible and responsive humanitarian system. This technology could enable decentralised and transparent transfer of resources, thereby de-risking the transfer of resources and enabling direct support to national structures. 

Keep reading about how we are meeting our other WHS Commitments