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

The Five Founding Hubs: What has happened and what comes next?

In April 2020, five locally led groups of changemakers came together to explore what it takes to launch local hubs as part of Start Network, as envisioned within ‘Start Evolves’. This phase was called a ‘Proof of Concept’ and has resulted in the emergence of Hubs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, the Pacific Region and Pakistan. 

15Nov21

Resource

AN ITERATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR A LOCALLY LED START NETWORK

This framework is set out as a series of intensions and questions across 11 elements where we feel change is needed. The intention outlines the vision of where we want to be or get to as a network. The issues/questions outline questions that SN needs to answer at all levels leadership, management, staff, membership, Hubs, etc. 

16Nov21

Resource

Indicadores de exito desde la perspectiva de la comunidad

Esta infografía resume los resultados de dos estudios en los que la Red Start habló directamente con los miembros de la comunidad sobre lo que significa para ellos el éxito de las respuestas de acción temprana.

15Nov21

Resource

Les indicateurs de reussite du point de vue de la communaute

Cette infographie d'une page résume les résultats de deux études dans le cadre desquelles Start Network a interrogé directement les membres de la communauté sur ce que signifient pour eux des mesures d'action précoce réussies.

15Nov21

Resource

Indicators of success from a community-perspective

This infographic summarises findings from two studies where Start Network spoke directly to community members about what success in early action responses means to them. We followed two quite different types of assistance- the first being a cooling facility and behaviour messaging programme to help during the heatwave in Pakistan, and the second being the provision of non-food items for those displaced following a volcanic eruption in DRC.

10Nov21

Resource

Las Organizaciones Locales Reflexionan Sobre sus Asociaciones con Start Network

En 2020, Start Network llevó a cabo una encuesta entre 98 organizaciones locales y nacionales (75 hombres y 23 mujeres de 32 países) que se habían asociado previamente con Start Network o con un miembro de Start Network. El objetivo de la encuesta era comprender mejor el funcionamiento de las asociaciones. La encuesta pretendía identificar los retos y las oportunidades de las asociaciones de colaboración e igualdad entre los miembros de Start Network y los socios locales. El 94 % de los socios locales consideró que la interacción fue “muy positiva” o “positiva”, sin embargo, la mayoría (86 %) también consideró que había más cosas que Start Network o los miembros de Start Network deberían hacer para construir una relación más fuerte. Lea el resumen ejecutivo en bangla, francés, indonesio, inglés y urdu

14Oct21

Resource

Local Organisations’ Reflections on Partnerships with Start Network

In 2020, Start Network conducted a survey of 98 local and national organisations (75 men and 23 women from 32 countries) that had previously partnered with Start Network or a Start Network member. The objective of the survey was to better understand the ways in which the partnerships were working. The survey aimed to identify the challenges and opportunities for collaborative and equal partnerships between Start Network and Start Network members with local partners. This research and its recommendations will be beneficial to people and organisations working with or developing partnerships with local organisations in the humanitarian sector. It also highlights specific areas of learning for Start Network to work on internally. Ninety-four percent of local partners felt the interaction was either ‘very positive’ or ‘positive’, however, the majority (86%) also felt there was more Start Network or Start Network members should be doing to build a stronger relationship. Read the Executive Summary in Bangla, French, Indonesian, Spanish, and Urdu

15Oct21

Resource

Les Organisations Locales Reflechissent a Leurs Partenariats Avec Start Network

En 2020, Start Network a mené une enquête auprès de 98 organisations locales et nationales (75 hommes et 23 femmes de 32 pays) qui avaient déjà établi un partenariat avec Start Network ou un membre de Start Network. L’objectif de l’enquête était de mieux comprendre les modes de fonctionnement des partenariats. L’enquête visait à identifier les défis et les opportunités de partenariats collaboratifs et égalitaires entre Start Network et les membres de Start Network avec des partenaires locaux. Quatre-vingt-quatorze pour cent des partenaires locaux ont estimé que l’interaction était « très positive » ou « positive », cependant, la majorité (86 %) a également estimé que Start Network ou les membres de Start Network devraient en faire plus pour construire une relation plus forte.  Lire le résumé en anglais, bangla, indonésien, espagnol et urdu.

29Oct21

Resource

EL VALOR DE UNA RED DIRIGIDA A NIVEL LOCAL Y LOS DESAFIOS DE CONSTRUIRLA

En el año 2020, cinco grupos de actores humanitarios se asociaron en un viaje con Start Network en cinco localidades. Este viaje se hizo para crear redes dirigidas a nivel local de agentes de cambio humanitario para presentar una alternativa poderosa al actual sistema humanitario internacional. Todos juntos forman un colectivo de hubs que ayudarían a Start Network a convertirse en una red más dirigida y distribuida a nivel local, con el poder y la toma de decisiones en manos de organizaciones más cercanas a las crisis. Estos cinco hubs ubicados en la República Democrática del Congo , Guatemala, India, Pacífico y Pakistán fueron fundados por colectivos de organizaciones en esos lugares y, juntos, están trabajando entre ellos y con Start Network para encontrar la mejor forma de construir esta red descentralizada de redes. Durante el último año, Start Network habló con varias partes interesadas para entender los puntos de vista sobre el valor y los desafíos potenciales de los hubs. Los resultados permitieron comprender dónde nuestras partes interesadas ven el valor en un modelo de red de redes dirigida a un nivel local, así como también los desafíos que esperan que enfrenten los hubs al alcanzar esta visión. Este documento se publicará como parte de los objetivos de Start Network para crear un sistema más equilibrado que acerque lo más posible el poder y la toma de decisiones a la primera línea.

21Sep21

Resource

THE VALUE OF A LOCALLY LED NETWORK AND THE CHALLENGES OF BUILDING ONE

In 2020, five groups of humanitarian actors in five locations partnered on a journey with Start Network. This journey was to create locally led networks of humanitarian changemakers to present a powerful alternative to the current international humanitarian system. Together, they would form a collective of hubs that would move Start Network to becoming a more locally led and distributed network, with power and decision making in the hands of organisations closest to crises. These five hubs in DRC, Guatemala, India, Pacific, and Pakistan have been founded by collectives of organisations in those locations and together all hubs are working with each other and Start Network to learn the best way to build this decentralised network of networks. Over the last year, Start Network spoke to a range of stakeholders to understand the views on the potential value and challenges of hubs. The findings provided insight into where our stakeholders see value in a locally led network of networks model, as well as the challenges they expect hubs will face in achieving this vision.

21Sep21

Resource

LA VALEUR D’UN RESEAU DIRIGE LOCALEMENT ET LES DEFIS POUR SA CREATION

En 2020, cinq groupes d’acteurs humanitaires dans cinq endroits se sont associés pour un voyage avec Start Network. Ce voyage avait pour but de créer des réseaux de faiseurs de changement humanitaire dirigés localement afin de présenter une alternative puissante au système humanitaire international actuel. Ensemble, ils formeraient un collectif de hubs qui permettraient à Start Network de devenir un réseau plus dirigé et distribué localement, le pouvoir et la prise de décision étant entre les mains des organisations les plus proches des crises. Ces cinq hubs en république démocratique du congo, au guatemala, en inde, dans le pacifique et au pakistan ont été fondés par des collectifs d’organisations dans ces endroits et ensemble, tous les hubs travaillent les uns avec les autres et avec start network pour apprendre la meilleure façon de construire ce réseau décentralisé de réseaux. Au cours de l’année dernière, start network s’est entretenu avec une série de parties prenantes pour comprendre les points de vue sur la valeur et les défis potentiels des hubs. Les résultats ont permis de mieux comprendre où nos parties prenantes voient la valeur d’un modèle de réseau de réseaux dirigé localement, ainsi que les défis auxquels ils s’attendent à ce que les hubs soient confrontés à la réalisation de cette vision. Ce document est publié dans le cadre des objectifs de start network visant à créer un système plus équilibré qui transfère le pouvoir et la prise de décision aux personnes les plus proches de la ligne de front.

21Sep21

Resource

Start Network Strategy 2021 to 2023

The events of the past 18 months have thrown down an important gauntlet for Start Network to deepen our commitment to local humanitarian action and the power shifts that this requires, to demonstrate that acting collectively, early and ahead of a crisis can minimise death and suffering, and to galvanise our diverse, growing global network around a critical examination of our ethics and our mindsets and around accelerating systems change. 

03Aug21

News, blog and opinion


Blog Post

Le HUB RDC balise la voie vers une nouvelle ère de l’action humanitaire Le HUB RDC balise la voie vers une nouvelle ère de l’action humanitaire

25Nov21

Resource

AN ITERATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR A LOCALLY LED START NETWORK

This framework is set out as a series of intensions and questions across 11 elements where we feel change is needed. The intention outlines the vision of where we want to be or get to as a network. The issues/questions outline questions that SN needs to answer at all levels leadership, management, staff, membership, Hubs, etc. 

16Nov21

Resource

The Five Founding Hubs: What has happened and what comes next?

In April 2020, five locally led groups of changemakers came together to explore what it takes to launch local hubs as part of Start Network, as envisioned within ‘Start Evolves’. This phase was called a ‘Proof of Concept’ and has resulted in the emergence of Hubs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, the Pacific Region and Pakistan. 

15Nov21

Resource

Indicadores de exito desde la perspectiva de la comunidad

Esta infografía resume los resultados de dos estudios en los que la Red Start habló directamente con los miembros de la comunidad sobre lo que significa para ellos el éxito de las respuestas de acción temprana.

15Nov21