20th Start Fund alert results in activation for Chocó, Columbia
The Start Fund was alerted for the 20th time on Wednesday to the worsening conflict in Chocó, Colombia. More than two thirds of the population are now victims of the armed conflict that has been ongoing between the military and armed insurgents. An alert was raised by Christian Aid describing how 6,500 people have been confined to their communities, for fear of being implicated by one of the armed groups or of stepping on land mines that are present in the area.
The Alert note went on to say: “The confinement of the communities means that they have limited access to their fields to cultivate and harvest and to the river to catch fish… A 45 day grant would support the provision of food in response to the immediate needs of the confined population. It could also support some immediate psychosocial and community-based support, especially for children, who have witness violence and experience a shift away from their normal life.
Support to the communities at this time also help messaging to the armed actors that outsiders care about this community, know what is going on and would be in a situation to react should an incident occur. All armed actors carefully weigh the political costs prior to carrying out an operation. And an intervention at this point has a chance to diffuse the worsening situation and support protection issues, as well as provide evidence for further advocacy work beyond the 45 day project period.”
Start Network members completed a survey following the alert, and indicated support for activating the Start Fund below a threshold of £175,000, meaning that they were happy for the Start Team to decide how much to activate the Fund for. The decision was made yesterday to allocate a total envelope of up to £70,000 to the crisis
Christian Aid were the only agency to submit a proposal for the response, and the Start Team were once agin empowered to make the project selction decision, given the small scale of the crisis and workload, which members agreed would be unnecessary to go to the efforts of convening a local committee to handle. The project selection participants felt that overall Christian Aid and its partner could implement effectively, particularly in light of having an established presence in the target communities.
Start Funds have been awarded to Christian Aid for a total of £27,469. They will address protection and food security needs through protection workshops and the establishment of community kitchens, in the hope of reaching 3,600 people.
The process was praised by the implementing agency as one of the quickest Start Fund activations so far, with the time from alert to transferral of funds taking little more than 48 hours. We look forward to building on the lessons learnt from the launch this year when we take the Fund to scale in 2015.