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Essential support to under-the-radar crises in Bangladesh

Start Fund Bangladesh

  • by Helen Guyatt
  • 31 Jan 20

Fisherman lining up to receive cash support in Borguna, an anticipatory response to fishing ban. Photo credit: Jago Nari.

Blog Post

The Start Fund Bangladesh is a national fund established in 2017 that deals with local crises by connecting with local organisations and communities. Here we share some stories on the unique space that this fund holds in providing essential support to under-the-radar crises.

The Start Fund Bangladesh is very often the first and only responder to crises that do not make the headlines. Affected communities have told us how important the timeliness of these responses has been in providing essential assistance.

“My youngest child fell in the floodwater. I was able to give him medical treatment using the money that I received from Start Fund Bangladesh. I was also able to buy some shelter materials for the time being, as well as essential food... Start Fund were the fastest and only ones to respond to our needs.”

Kakoli Begum, Chilmari Union, Chilmari Upazila, Kurigram District; Alert B0-13: Funding allocated for the flood response in North Bangladesh with implementing partners Gono Unnayon Kendra (GUK), Christian Aid, Mahidep Jubo Shomaj Kollan Shomity (MJSKS) and Islamic Relief Bangladesh.

“This year, the devastating flood submerged almost all the areas of Kazipur and many families were affected. A good number of the flood-affected, vulnerable families have benefited from the timely decision of the Start Fund and NDP in the fastest possible time … creating an example of humanity by distributing the cash and supplies before Eid-ul-Azha.”

Md. Jahid Hasan Siddiquee, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), Kazipur, Sirajganj; UNO is the chief executive at sub-district level. Alert B0-15: Funding allocated for the flood response in Bogura and Sirajganj with implementing partner Manab Mukti Sangstha (MMS) and National Development Programme (NDP). 

As well as responding to traditional crises such as flooding, the Start Fund Bangladesh also supports responses to more unusual crises often overlooked by most humanitarian aid organisations and funders, and this has also changed how our member organisations operate.

“The Start Fund Bangladesh have changed our organisational practices so that we address small scale and unusual disaster events such as river-bank erosion and fires.”

Start Network Member, Start Fund Bangladesh Member Survey, 2019

The two videos shared here were created by two of the Start Fund Bangladesh members.

The first was developed by Christian Aid as a result of receiving £297,197 in September 2018 to assist river erosion in Naria Upazila of Shariatpur district. Christian Aid is one of the 20 Start Network members that operate in Bangladesh. They were awarded the first project in Bangladesh through the Start Fund in 2014 (Alert 012) and have continued to be an active member of the Start Fund Bangladesh over the years.

The second video was produced by SEEP (Social and Economic Enhancement Programme) when they were the local implementing partner for Concern Worldwide who had been awarded funding from Start Fund Bangladesh in March 2019 to respond to a sudden fire spreading in Bhashantek slum. This fire affected around 527 households.

SEEP has been a local partner for two alerts now, both in response to fire incidents in urban Dhaka. SEEP is now able to access funds directly from Start fund Bangladesh along with another 25 newly affiliated local organisations. The first award made to one of these new local organisations was for the anticipated livelihood insecurity as a result of a fishing ban. This very localised disaster would not have normally been picked up by those providing humanitarian assistance in the region, but through the Start Fund Bangladesh award, 900 fishing households were protected through contingency planning support for a next ban and cash assistance of £42.

At Start Network, we look to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance. By having local members and local implementing partners as part of the alert raising and decision-making process, the Start Fund Bangladesh has been able to assist in those local disaster events that would normally be overlooked.

Read more about Start Fund Bangladesh.

Keep reading:

Locally led action Start Fund Bangladesh

  • by Helen Guyatt