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Start Fund COVID-19 Launches New Call for Alerts with £2.6m

  • 17 Nov 20

News Article

Start Fund COVID-19 was set up to anticipate and respond to critical virus-related humanitarian needs in low-income countries. Launched in April 2020, we received a record number of alerts (85 alerts from 69 countries) in its first weekend, demonstrating the urgent need for support to stop the spread of coronavirus. To date, it has disbursed more than £5m, funding 43 projects across 25 countries.

A new call for alerts has now been launched with approximately £2.6 million from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO). The goal for this call for alerts is to support members to act rapidly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in their country; to address neglected/underfunded aspects of the broader COVID-19 crisis with a focus on neglected communities/geographies; and mitigation through community-based responses.

Building on the lessons from previous Start Fund COVID-19 alerts, the feedback from last month’s Assembly meeting, and the emerging findings from Development Initiatives’ review of Start Network’s role in the global response to COVID-19, the fund will maintain the country prioritisation approach used in the past calls for alerts. Based on the INFORM index ranking and the amount of funding already received in each country (either through Start Network alert activations or other COVID-19 relevant grants), the eligible countries are Congo (Republic), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda.

As part of Start Network’s commitment to supporting local actors, eight national and local members were also able to access funding for COVID-19 response in the last round. Supported by a private donor and Avaaz, organisations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, and Pakistan were able to access up to £30,000 to undertake a variety of activities to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their communities. Through support from Jersey Overseas Aid, national and local members will again be allowed to access funding in this call for alerts.

Members have until 12:00 midday (UK time) on Tuesday, 24 November to submit their alerts. We encourage members to coordinate with other members in order to create as compelling an alert note as possible, and to raise only one alert per country. 



Start Fund COVID-19 was kickstarted with a donation of €1.5M from the IKEA Foundation, which funded five projects in Burkina Faso, Chad, Haiti, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste. Following a limited top-up from UK Aid, 16 more projects were funded in Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Peru, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, and Yemen. An additional project was funded in Afghanistan with a donation from Jersey Overseas Aid.

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