Locally led action

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


We believe that a more balanced international aid system, which shifts power to those closest to the front-line, will generate more effective and appropriate responses for people affected by crises.

Our programmes enable local decision-making, support the growth of local innovation and develop local capacity of individuals, organisations and institutions.

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

Start Network & Localisation


Global initiatives

Localisation is not a new concept in the humanitarian sector, but it has recently been pushed to the forefront, a result of both external trends and of global initiatives.

 

These initiatives include the UN-facilitated World Humanitarian Summit Grand Bargain, Charter4Change, NEAR (the Network for Empowered Aid Response), Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, and workstreams of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), to name a few.

 

Many of these efforts have inter-related agendas and the Start Network creates practical ways to put these efforts into practice and to learn and improve as we go. Read about how Start Network contributes to the Grand Bargain commitments.

Our approach

 

At the Start Network, we see our progress in localisation as being a journey. We have been ‘learning by doing’ through our programmes to ensure we can improve collectively across our network.

 

For us, rather than replicating any formal initiative, we aim to build on what exists, critically reflect on our progress and adapt our methods. We aim for our efforts to be appropriate to our programming and partnerships on the ground and ensure they meet the vision we have for a more balanced international aid system.

 

We know we cannot go alone. We work to ensure that we can share our progress, and collaborate and learn from others as we go, to contribute to ongoing efforts around the world in the localisation agenda.

Localisation in action

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

 

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.

 

The Start Network aims to build a decentralised network of regional and national hubs, each providing their own locally-led solutions to humanitarian crises. To work towards this, we are opening up membership to smaller nationally based aid agencies and have created a Hub Advisory Group to support the first hubs to develop.

A framework for localisation

Localisation in action


Resource

Programa Piloto de Localizacion de Start Fund

Start Network ha desarrollado un marco de diligencia debida por niveles para permitir que la red incorpore más organizaciones locales como miembros, sin dejar de cumplir con los donantes y garantizando la confianza en toda la red. En marzo de 2020, se estableció un proyecto piloto para evaluar el impacto de la financiación directa de los miembros que habían cumplido con un nivel particular en el marco de diligencia debida escalonada. A través del piloto, estos miembros tuvieron acceso a un máximo de 30.000 libras esterlinas a través del Start Fund.

27Apr21

Resource

Projet Pilote De Localisation Start Fund

Start Network a développé un cadre de diligence raisonnable à plusieurs niveaux pour permettre au réseau d'accueillir davantage d'organisations locales en tant que membres, tout en respectant la conformité des donateurs et en assurant la confiance au sein du réseau. En mars 2020, un projet pilote a été mis en place pour évaluer l'impact du financement direct des membres qui avaient atteint un niveau particulier dans le cadre de diligence raisonnable. Dans le cadre de ce projet pilote, ces membres ont eu accès à un montant maximal de 30 000 £ via le Start Fund.

27Apr21

Resource

Start Fund Localisation Pilot

Start Network has developed a tiered due diligence framework to enable the network to bring in more local organisations as members, while still meeting donor compliance and ensuring trust across the network. In March 2020, a pilot was established to evaluate the impact of directly funding members that had met a particular tier in the tiered due diligence framework. Through the pilot these members were given access to up to £30,000 via the Start Fund.

27Apr21

Resource

Using Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) for Humanitarian Responses During a Pandemic

Start Fund Bangladesh developed standing operating procedures (SOP) after taking stock of current happenings and in-depth discussion with donors and humanitarian leaders. The SOP targeted safety measures at multiple levels to ensure the ultimate prevention of transmission at the community level. Some of these included: Tracking physical health of staff and volunteers throughout the project period; In addition, all personnel involved in the project needed access to personal protective gear (masks and sanitizers) Adopting new practices at the organisational level: providing accommodation facilities to staff and volunteers if needed; giving compensatory allowances to those working in direct response; increasing organisational cleanliness as per WHO standards Following strict guidelines during response and: distributing relief items through door-to-door delivery and drawing distant circles.

27May20

Resource

Disasters & Emergency Preparedness: A Practical Resource Guide

This new guide brings together knowledge and resources from across the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) to provide agencies with practical resources on how to deliver preparedness effectively in ten areas.

08Jun18

Resource

Increasing the voice and the influence of local and national NGOs

Shifting the Power (StP) is a three-year project that aims to strengthen the capacity and influence of local and national humanitarian actors, and to contribute to the development of a more balanced humanitarian system. StP is part of the three-year Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) and is being implemented by a consortium of six INGOs: ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Concern, Oxfam and Tearfund. The consortium is working alongside 55 local and national NGO (L/NNGO) partners in Bangladesh, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya and Pakistan. The project is comprised of five ‘outputs’, relating to capacity strengthening, supporting representation and voice of local partners, consortium member INGOs ‘walking the talk’, collaboration with other DEPP projects, and learning and evidence sharing.

26Feb18

Resource

How has Shifting the Power influenced local and national partner's response to emergencies?

Shifting the Power (StP) is a three-year project that aims to strengthen the capacity and influence of local and national humanitarian actors, and to contribute to the development of a more balanced humanitarian system. StP is part of the three-year Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) and is being implemented by a consortium of six INGOs: ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Concern, Oxfam and Tearfund. The consortium is working alongside 55 local and national NGO (L/NNGO) partners in Bangladesh, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya and Pakistan. The project is comprised of five ‘outputs’, relating to capacity strengthening, supporting representation and voice of local partners, consortium member INGOs ‘walking the talk’, collaboration with other DEPP projects, and learning and evidence sharing. This learning review took place between July and September 2017 (towards the end of the project). It examines how the project has influenced local and national partner’s response to emergencies, and which capacity strengthening activities have been most successful. The data on which the review is based was collected from StP staff, L/NNGO partners, and INGO consortium members through a variety of means including: qualitative surveys, field visits, Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), Skype calls and extensive document reviews. The programme has seen some immediate results and benefits. There are numerous examples from all StP countries of L/NNGO progress in being prepared for and able to respond to emergencies. Positively, reports of the progress achieved as a result of being part of StP was not limited to one or two L/NNGOs, nor were they limited to one area of progress per L/NNGO.  

26Feb18

Resource

Start Network's vision for the future of humanitarian action

To prepare for the change needed in the future, the Start Network’s 42 members came together over the last six months, to co-create a vision for the network, based on experience gained over our first eight years. This proposal was unanimously endorsed by our membership in November 2017.

13Dec17

Resource

Localisation of Aid: Are INGOs Walking The Talk?

A new publication from the Shifting the Power project looks at whether and how INGOs following their own rhetoric of localising humanitarian aid.

09Nov17

Resource

The Future of Humanitarian Action in Pakistan

More than 130 participants from national and international civil society organisations, donors, UN agencies and government officials attended the conference to explore what an ideal future for humanitarian action in Pakistan might look like and how we might reorient ourselves to get there.

19Sep17

Resource

Going the extra mile: Bangladesh Localisation Review

In order to establish a baseline on the state of localisation in the Start Fund and humanitarian sector in Bangladesh more generally, the Start Fund Bangladesh commissioned this external review.

19Aug17

Resource

The Start Fund, Start Network and Localisation

Localisation is a foundational and non-negotiable principle within the Start Network. This report presents a ‘baseline assessment’ of where the Start Fund and three DEPP projects currently sits with the‘localisation agenda’.

02Aug17

News, blog and opinion


Blog Post

Opportunities to change the way we evaluate humanitarian responses

In 2020, Start Network undertook a number of consultations with communities that were supported by its funding. This included a large household survey in Senegal evaluating the quality and impact of assistance in anticipation of drought through ARC Replica, as well as the perceptions of people assited in Pakistan, India and DRC as part of our due diligence pilot. Central to the planning of these evaluations was an intention to be as inclusive as possible by amplifying marginalised voices, and to ensure that the people interviewed were able to express themselves in their local language by hiring local consultants to conduct interviews.

23Jun21

Blog Post

Three benefits of due diligence from the perspective of new members

We wanted to understand the value that Start Network membership has brought to new members, including the value of our due diligence process. Based on interviews conducted between November and December 2020, here are the three main ways that due diligence has benefitted our new members from their perspectives.

26Apr21

Blog Post

Sharing of Indirect Cost Recovery as a commitment to localisation

Start Fund Bangladesh, since its inception in 2017, has been advocating to change the deep-rooted partnership practices that hinder localisation commitments, one of which is the equal sharing of ICR. Although changes were not reflected initially, in 2019 a few Start Fund Bangladesh INGO members started negotiating with their head offices and became successful in ensuring a share of ICR went to their local partners. 

15Dec20

News Article

Eight national and local members funded for COVID-19 response

As part of Start Network’s commitment to supporting local actors, eight national and local members have so far been selected to participate in a fund for COVID-19 response. This fund will allow these organisations to access funding of up to £30,000 to respond to COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India and Pakistan.

04Aug20