Review of Start Network's role in the current global response to COVID-19

Start Fund COVID-19, a funding mechanism created by Start Network, aims to provide anticipatory and rapid funding for local-level responses to the COVID-19 pandemic before larger funding instruments are available. Anticipation and early action to localised COVID-19 emergencies is critical to minimise the occurrence and impact of outbreaks in communities who are living in vulnerable contexts. By taking pre-emptive action and reducing the response time for emerging needs, the spread of the pandemic can be slowed, and its impact reduced – particularly in the poorest and most vulnerable places.

The efficacy of Start Fund COVID-19 relies on timeliness, predictability, and efficiency in responding to crises which are not already addressed by other measures. This review provides an overview of the existing global funding landscape for the COVID-19 pandemic and the position of Start Fund COVID-19 within it. Based on key informant interviews, it also details the experiences and opinions of Start Network members on the effectiveness and utility of Start Fund COVID-19, and their expectations for the future positioning of the fund.