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 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

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

Resource

G7 Summit 2022 Advocacy and Social Media Pack

Start Network has been working with various key stakeholders and partners to influence greater change in the humanitarian system. Support our G7 calls to action as we forward working closely with local actors for more sustainable humanitarian and anticipatory action.

14Jun22

Resource

MONTHLY RISK BULLETIN ISSUED: JUNE 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.

01Jun22

Resource

HNPW Key Takeaways ICR Session

HNPW Session: Recovering costs sharing: An important step in rebalancing power and creating a more inclusive system This panel session explored indirect recovery costs (ICR) and how they are shared with local and national actors. It is important that these power inequalities are addressed as ICR sharing is a tangible step to have a better share of power and push toward a locally-led humanitarian system

24May22

Resource

HNPW Key Takeaways Due Diligence Session

HNPW Session: Building an inclusive compliance landscape: Modular due diligence and a global digital repository Current due diligence frameworks are resource-heavy undertakings designed with large Western multinational organisations in mind, making it challenging for small local and national actors to meet and maintain the compliance infrastructure required. 

24May22

Resource

Pakistan Drought Model

Since 2017, Start Network members in Pakistan, have been developing Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) Systems that allows civil society actors in-country to pro-actively manage disaster risks (such as droughts, heatwaves, and floods). Reducing the impacts of weather extremes and disasters is a fundamental part of building longer-term climate resilience. By quantifying risks in advance of disasters, pre-positioning funds, and releasing them according to pre-agreed plans, enable earlier action and reduce the costs of disasters considerably ensuring that the right assistance reaches the right people at the right time. This is all done through the scientific modelling of hazards, collaborative development of contingency plans and the establishment of pre-positioned financing to enable earlier, more predictable, and better-coordinated assistance to communities affected by predictable disasters.

11May22

Resource

MONTHLY RISK BULLETIN ISSUED: MAY 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.

03May22

Resource

Start Fund Nepal Pilot Phase Alerts

This provides the quick glimpse of the each Alert, its location, population reached, project period and the support provided in each alert.

19Apr22

Resource

What is Start Fund Nepal?

The Start Fund Nepal Pilot is a £445,784 rapid emergency response fund created by Start Network in 2021 with support from UKAID and hosted by Save the Children.

22Feb22

News, blog and opinion


Blog Post

On World Oceans Day, Take Action to Achieve a Sustainable Planet

World Oceans Day 2022 calls for individuals, civil society, governments, institutions and the international community to collectively work to revitalise our oceans, which are home to most of the world’s biodiversity and are predicted to be a source of employment for 40 million people by 2030.

08Jun22

News Article

The Start Fund Awards Community Led Learning Grants

The Community Led Approaches to MEAL Grant enables people affected by or at-risk of crises to have more of a say in monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning.

03Jun22

Resource

MONTHLY RISK BULLETIN ISSUED: JUNE 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.

01Jun22

News Article

Start Ready goes live and confirms support for six countries

Start Network is delighted to announce that Start Ready has officially gone live, protecting people in six countries against predictable climate shocks.

24May22