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Start Fund announces launch of the 'Start Fund Learning Grant'

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Start Network marks the launch of the newly branded ‘Start Fund Learning Grant’, formerly known as the ‘one percent learning budget’.

The global Start Fund launched in April 2014 as a multi-donor pooled fund for immediate release of funds for underfunded small- to medium-scale crises, spikes in chronic humanitarian crises and to act in anticipation of crises; with learning incorporated as an organisational priority.

In fulfilling this organisational priority, agencies awarded funding for disaster and crisis response could apply for an additional grant: one percent of the amount they were awarded for their response, for learning initiatives.

This ‘one percent learning budget’ was awarded to over seventy projects such as the International Medical Corps’ response in Yemen in April 2015, which tested and evaluated a remote data collection approach using KoBo Toolbox in remote areas. Other funded initiatives also included workshops, after-action reviews, case studies and learning reports.

In 2016, following a revision of the grant process it was established that one percent of the Start Fund’s annual disbursement would be set aside for learning; funding learning activities that reached beyond project level for members of the Start Network to strengthen humanitarian response. Agencies applied for a greater amount, anything up to £10,000, with a greater freedom of focus.

This revised ‘one per cent learning budget’ funded some twenty learning initiatives and produced far-reaching and impressive results. These included:

Spring 2018, due to a No-Cost Extension, there was no funding available for any additional outputs and funding for learning was paused.

Following this No-Cost Extension, the ‘Start Fund Learning Grant’ marks the re-opening of funding for learning activities, with three clear modifications:

  1. Aiming to improve transparency (by having clearer weighting criteria when selecting proposals)

  2. Dissemination to the network (by working collaboratively with funded agencies)

  3. Ensuring the application and incorporation of learning (by organising follow-ups).

The process aims to ensure that the Start Fund receives quality proposals for learning and that these proposals are judged and selected fairly, based on the approval of a selection committee composed of Start Network member representatives and Start Fund staff. 

The relaunched grant will maintain its key features and will still have a light application process and offer flexibility in terms of budgets, activities, outputs, and timeframes, and agencies will still be able to apply for any amount up to £10,000 GBP.

The next selection round to fund learning initiatives will be on the 4th December 2018. The Start Fund hopes its members will make the most of this renewed opportunity and submit proposals for learning.

For further information on applying for the grant please click here.



Please note the deadline for learning grant applications will be Thursday 29th November 2018.

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  • by Milli Cooper