Belgian Government announces support of the Start Fund
The Government of Belgium has announced its support to the Start Fund, a global fund that enables NGOs to respond quickly to humanitarian crises.
The Start Fund provides rapid financing to underfunded small to medium scale crises, spikes in chronic humanitarian crises, and to act in anticipation of impending crises, filling a critical gap in humanitarian financing.
The support has been announced as part of the Belgian strategy for humanitarian aid which stresses the importance of innovation in humanitarian actions and the need to work towards improving aid and the humanitarian system itself. This strategy also builds on the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit and in the framework of the Grand Bargain.
With the announced funding of 1 million Euros, provided through the Belgian Development Cooperation, the Belgian Government joins a growing list of supporters of the Start Fund which includes the governments of Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands and the European Commission.
The Start Fund is an initiative of the Start Network, a global network of 42 aid agencies working to deliver more effective aid, harnessing the power and knowledge of the network to make faster and better decisions to help people affected by crises.
The Start Fund is collectively managed by Start Network’s 42 members. Projects are chosen by local committees, made up of staff from Start Network members and their partners, within 72 hours of an alert. This makes the Start Fund truly innovative and the fastest, collectively-owned, early response mechanism in the world.
Since its inception in 2014 it has been alerted to 203 crises and has responded to 137 crises, distributing £32.1m to help nearly 8 million people around the world. Over the past year it has responded to a number of crises including:
- When violent clashes began in Marawi, Philippines in May leaving 360,00 people displaced. Within days the Start Fund was alerted and a local Project Selection Committee in Manila awarded three agencies a total of £257,721 for immediate response. The Start Fund was faster than any other financing mechanism.
- In the summer more than 16 million people were affected by deadly flooding in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. In one week the Start Fund was alerted to flooding in the three countries and within three days had disbursed £1,357,229 to the region.
- In August when mudslides hit Freetown in Sierra Leone, despite the crisis receiving a high level of media attention, international funding and action was slow to arrive. The Start Fund sent money to enable a response to begin with three days.
- Reported cases of Cholera were increasing in Yemen from April, by mid-May aid was not sufficient and authorities announced a state of emergency. Almost immediately, Start Network members raised an alert to the Start Fund and within 53 hours, nearly £300,000 was awarded to three agencies to implement life-saving rapid response programmes.
Sean Lowrie, Director of the Start Network said:
“We are a growing movement advocating for radical change in the aid system so that the world can deal better with the humanitarian challenges of today, and of the future. And we are hugely grateful for the support of the Belgian Government in this cause. The Belgian Government’s forward-thinking attitude to innovation to improve the effectiveness and impact of aid interventions is refreshing. Their support of the Start Fund is testament to the growing need of the aid community to invest in faster and earlier responses, which are decided at the local level.
“The process to create this partnership with the Belgian Government came from a team effort of the Network and Belgian NGOs – in particular Caritas International, Handicap International, Medecins du Monde and Oxfam – to whom we are grateful for their support. It is another example of the Start Network’s ethos for collaboration to put disaster affected communities at the front of our all actions.”