Annual Report 2021

In 2021 Start Network reached 5 million people with emergency humanitarian assistance. The Start Network Annual Report and Accounts 2021, tells the story of how we made progress using five keys to systems change:
Purpose - We refreshed our strategy and reoriented our vision, mission, and theory of change around locally led humanitarian action to enable communities affected by and at risk of crises to feel and demonstrate their agency and power.
Power - We created spaces and systems for decision-making, ways of working, and resource allocation to be increasingly determined by local and national organisations.
Practice - We embedded a locally led focus into our activities, re-centring our programmes, actions, and learning around community leadership, solutions, and accountability.
Resources - We made resources more easily accessible and available to local organisations. Funds flowed to and were managed by local and national organisations to respond to and increasingly act ahead of predictable crises
Relationships - We enabled stronger relationships to grow between different players by ensuring collaborations and partnerships were equitable and sustainable, in support of community priorities.
In Arabic
In Bengali
In French
In Spanish

The report also details key impacts and achievements:

  • We reached 5 million people
  • We disbursed £14.5 million in funds for emergency humanitarian assistance, of which: £2.2 million was for crisis anticipation and £2.9 million went to local and national organisations for emergency humanitarian assistance
  • We began working with six new prospective hubs
  • We grew our family of funds by launching Start Ready—our new and unique financial service that will help expand our work in disaster risk financing. • We also strengthened the network’s culture of innovation and learning by supporting community-led innovation and a lab for participants to experience and cultivate new ways of working.
  • Additionally, we worked towards organisational transformation through analysing and testing how we can decolonise our methods and diversify our team in the Global South.


“World events and crises [in 2021] made it increasingly clear that the humanitarian system’s ways of working are ineffective against overwhelming risks and needs. In addition, the humanitarian system’s traditional methods are inefficient in the face of uncertain funding flows and ignorant of the glaring inequities in the world today.”

Christina Bennett, Chief Executive Office, Suzanne Lyne, Chief Finance and Operations Officer

With the support and commitment shown by our growing and diverse membership and hubs, our Board of Trustees, our unstoppable Start Network team, and our loyal funders and partners, Start Network has supported people affected by and at risk of crises around the world and has moved the needle on our systems change ambitions.
Start Network works closely with Save the Children UK, which is the grant signatory and acts as a grant custodian for a number of Start Network programmes, including the Start Funds and disaster risk financing mechanisms. The programmes and financials discussed in the report relate to those of Start Network as shown in the statutory financial statement as well as those managed by Save the Children UK.

The Annual Report and Accounts has been released in English with the Trustees Report and Financial Statements, it has also been released as a shorter scrolling digital report and in abridged PDFs in Arabic, Bengali, French, and Spanish.
Learn more about our progress on systems change in the Annual Report 2021: