Locally led action

We're aiming to build a more balanced international aid system


Start Network’s vision is for a locally-led humanitarian system that is accountable to people affected by and at-risk of crises.

We aim to achieve this vision by making systemic-level shifts in the way humanitarian aid is approached and delivered by shifting power and decentralising decision making to locally-led networks and organisations;

POWEO Director, Leah Psiya. Photo credit: Jeremy Riggall/ Start Network

Start Network & locally led action


A network of networks

Start Network will catalyse a locally-led humanitarian system by enabling a diverse ‘network of networks’ that ensures equity in power and decision-making, access to resources and voice and visibility for its local members.

 

We will achieve this by catalysing and incubating locally-led, self-governing, national and regional hubs that are supported to bring on their own national and local members.

 

The problem

 

The humanitarian system’s current concentration of power, influence and resources within the global North has led to the exclusion and disempowerment of local and national actors, organisations that are deeply rooted in the communities that they support and which are responsible for the vast majority of humanitarian responses.

 

This imbalance of power is maintained through a highly risk-averse and compliance-heavy operating culture that prevents local organisations from taking leading roles and accessing direct funding. 

 

Tackling this problem requires moving towards a system that is accountable to affected and at-risk communities through the leadership of local organisations and through a change in mindset by traditional power holders that allows them to cede power and control.

 

It requires a radical shift away from the current centralised, compliance-focused approach to one that pools and shares risk between larger and smaller actors, and reflects the value that different organisations bring.

 

Our approach

 

By transforming into a diverse and locally-led network of networks, Start Network can demonstrate a powerful and positive alternative to the current system.

 

In doing so, we can demonstrate the positive impact on communities at risk of or facing crises, and model a different approach that can ultimately drive wider reform.

 

In 2021-2023, Start Network will:

  • incubate and support a network of locally-led, self-governing, national and regional hubs and achieve a diverse and majority-local membership, by supporting hubs to bring on local and national members;
  • decentralise and distribute governance and decision making to hubs, with a view to ensuring accountability to communities and to transitioning the Start Network team to a secretariat and service provider role; and
  • support local actors to exercise power within the humanitarian ecosystem and drive their vision for reform, working with others to address structural, political and operational challenges.

 

Examples of locally led action

Many of the Start Network programmes have actively sought to learn how we can improve localisation.

 

Start Network Hubs have been created to move the network to a more balanced and distributed network, with power and decision making in the hands of organisations on the front line of crises. Hubs are collectives of local, national and international organisations operating in the same country or region. They will control their own resources and define their own responses to crises affecting their communities, united by a shared purpose and common standards, and supported by a global Start Network platform.

 

The Disasters & Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP), worked alongside local, national and international actors to strengthen capacity and better prepare for disasters. It also provided flexible funding for national NGOs, helped them to access international coordination platforms, and also helped partners join existing or establish their own new national networks.

 

The DEPP Innovation Labs has built on this to create national innovation labs, which are identifying and supporting local innovators and their solutions to humanitarian challenges.

 

The Start Fund uses local decision making to select projects based on contextual knowledge. While the Start Fund Bangladesh is working to actively include local organizations as part of the management of the fund.

 

The Start Fund Localisation Review (August 2017) suggested ‘Seven Dimensions of Localisation’ which are helping us improve and embed localisation further. The DEPP Localisation Action Research (in progress) where several DEPP projects have a wider scope of learning on localisation.

 

Start Network has also developed a tiered due diligence framework to enable the network to bring in more local organisations as members.  Members gain access to varying portfolios of Start Network products and services depending on their tier. This enables Start Network to bring in new members across a diverse spectrum of humanitarian actors while appropriately managing our risk.  

 

A framework for locally led action

Locally led action


Resource

Start Fund Impact Report 2022

Over the last decade, the humanitarian sector has been heavily impacted by more frequent and severe climate-related crises. We need a more proactive, faster and locally led humanitarian system where communities are supported to analyse risks, create plans and have access to pre-arranged financing to prevent loss of life and livelihoods.

24Nov22

Resource

Start Fund Bangladesh Response Summary - Flash Flood B043

Bangladesh has faced one of the worst flash floods in history in 2022, where northeastern region of the country was devastated by consecutive flash floods during the months of May to June. The affect of the flooding led to more than 7.2 million people directly affected and more than 50% of the affected population in need of humanitarian assistance.

07Nov22

Resource

MONTHLY RISK BULLETIN ISSUED: OCTOBER 2022

The monthly risk briefing reports on new, emerging or deteriorating situations; therefore, ongoing events that are considered to be unchanged are not featured and risks that are beyond the scope and scale of the Start Fund are also not featured.

10Oct22

Resource

CERF Anticipatory Action Pre-Crisis Report

This report is the first of its kind on anticipatory action and collates voices of communities, shares their experiences and needs, prior to predictable risks. Some of our findings include; people demand the right to have access to timely, appropriate and accurate information to help keep themselves and their families safe, prior to crises. They also have the right to give feedback about humanitarian assistance.

23Sep22

Resource

Annual Report and Accounts 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.   DOWNLOAD THE REPORT   In Arabic In Bengali In French In Spanish      

10Aug22

Resource

MONTHLY RISK BULLETIN ISSUED: AUGUST 2022

The monthly risk briefing reports on new, emerging or deteriorating situations; therefore, ongoing events that are considered to be unchanged are not featured and risks that are beyond the scope and scale of the Start Fund are also not featured.

08Aug22

Resource

Sharing Knowledge and Ideas under Local Leadership

The Sharing Knowledge and Ideas under Local Leadership Grant provides local members with an opportunity to lead their own peer learning projects. The grant was designed to be locally led, with as few application and reporting procedures as possible, and with flexibility in design and implementation. Eight local members (that have completed tiered due diligence with Start Network) have been utilising the grant since the end of 2021. The grant is currently in the pilot phase.   Download in French

04Jul22

Resource

Start Fund Bangladesh Response Summary - Flash Flood

The northeastern part of Bangladesh has been devastated by a torrential flash flooding due to heavy rainfall in the upper streams of Surma, Kushiyara and other rivers of the Brahmanputra basin that linked to the northeastern part of the country.

04Jul22

Resource

SKILL Grant Emerging Learning

La subvention de partage des connaissances et des idées sous leadership local (SKILL) offre aux membres locaux l’occasion de diriger leurs propres projets d’apprentissage par les pairs. La subvention a été conçue pour être dirigée localement, avec le moins de procédures de demande et de rapports possible, et avec une flexibilité dans la conception et la mise en œuvre. Huit membres locaux (qui ont terminé tiered Due Diligence avec Start Network) utilisent des subventions SKILL depuis la fin de 2021. La subvention est actuellement en phase pilote.   Download in English

04Jul22

Resource

Methodology: Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Community Lives and Livelihoods in Senegal: Replicating the Methodology

This article outlines the method that was used to collect, code and visualise sentinel site data from the ARC Replica drought pay-out in Senegal. It is intended for practitioners and decision makers who are looking to: 1) bring in community member voices to inform early action programme designs and 2) explore new ways of using qualitative data to inform decision making around early action. The methodology outlined can also be replicated by researchers collecting longitudinal data with multiple data points over long periods of time.

21Jun22

Resource

Overview: Leveraging Community Level Data for Early Action Programmes: Temporal and Spatial Mapping of Community Livelihoods in Senegal

Start Network implements a range of early action programmes to enable communities to act ahead of potential hazards. One of the challenges involved in delivering impactful early action interventions is ensuring that assistance reaches community members at the right time, i.e., before some community members are forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms such as taking children out of school, cutting down on meals or incurring debts for food provision. Intervention timing can differ within the same country and from one region or community to another. Qualitative data collected from community members provides crucial insights that help us determine the right windows of opportunity for interventions. However, this longitudinal qualitative data requires time to analyse and infer lessons, which can make it difficult for decision makers who have little time to read detailed qualitative accounts. Start Network, through our ARC Replica programme, collected qualitative data about the lived experiences of community members in various parts of Senegal over a six month period. This article explains the visualisations curated via Data Spoiler, and outlines the key findings from the monthly check-ins across 22 sentinel sites. It is intended for data practitioners and decision makers to enable them to: 1) Understand how community voices can inform early action programme design and 2) Explore new ways of using qualitative data to inform decision making around early action

21Jun22

Resource

Anti-Racist and Decolonial Framework

This framework has been developed to help Start Network, our members and teams understand and address the many ways in which racism and colonialism can affect our work. Download the Framework     In Arabic In Bengali In English In French In Spanish      

14Jun22

News, blog and opinion


News Article

AS FLOODS IN PAKISTAN SUBSIDE, LOCALLY LED ACTION SUBVERTS TRADITIONAL AID MYTHS

As the world contends with the destruction that Pakistan’s monsoon floods have left in their wake, as well as the cascading impact of an emerging health crisis, some truths regarding the role of local organisations within the sector begin to become more visible, debunking myths long held by the traditional aid sector.

11Nov22

Blog Post

Transitioning to a locally led model

23Sep22

Resource

SKILL Grant Emerging Learning

La subvention de partage des connaissances et des idées sous leadership local (SKILL) offre aux membres locaux l’occasion de diriger leurs propres projets d’apprentissage par les pairs. La subvention a été conçue pour être dirigée localement, avec le moins de procédures de demande et de rapports possible, et avec une flexibilité dans la conception et la mise en œuvre. Huit membres locaux (qui ont terminé tiered Due Diligence avec Start Network) utilisent des subventions SKILL depuis la fin de 2021. La subvention est actuellement en phase pilote.   Download in English

04Jul22

Resource

Sharing Knowledge and Ideas under Local Leadership

The Sharing Knowledge and Ideas under Local Leadership Grant provides local members with an opportunity to lead their own peer learning projects. The grant was designed to be locally led, with as few application and reporting procedures as possible, and with flexibility in design and implementation. Eight local members (that have completed tiered due diligence with Start Network) have been utilising the grant since the end of 2021. The grant is currently in the pilot phase.   Download in French

04Jul22