New decision making groups in Myanmar and Pakistan
Last week, the Start Network set up the third and fourth Start Fund decision making groups in Myanmar and Pakistan. Kat Reichel tells us about how these new decision making groups are developing.
It is fascinating sitting with people that are relatively new to the concept of the Start Network – and seeing their reaction. Some people embrace it quite quickly, with nods of understanding or affirmation – or comments to aid in making the point.
For instance, in Myanmar, you could see people seeing the need for the Start Fund – and indeed the Network in-country: “Why hasn’t anything like this existed before? But perhaps this is like anything else truly innovative – you don’t know you need it until it’s here” or “We need to have pre-existing relationships, and build these together, so that we can reap the benefits of collaboration” or “Are you sure you are ready for this? There will be least 25 alerts from Myanmar by the end of the summer”. Comments like these, you can see the light bulbs turning on and wheels turning to utilise the Network in-country.
On the flip side, there is also confusion – sometimes the Network is seen as yet another thing that they need to participate in. Comments such as “So – how does this all work? There is a Start Fund decision making group but also a DEPP (Disasters and Emeregencies Preparedness Programme) steering committee in country? Isn’t it all just Start Network?”
Where we see our interconnectedness and reach as our ultimate strength, others may see it as our weakness or that it must be bureaucratic. Those misconceptions can take some time to untangle – but my experience is – once they see the Network in action (i.e. if a crisis does hits and the Start Fund is activated) – they can see the strength of the Network in full force. And of course, we don’t want to silo the work of the Network – but hope that in-country synergies can be found.
Asfar Muhammad from Mercy Corps Pakistan
For one colleague who works on a DEPP project and is on the decision making group – he is already thinking of new ways that the Start Fund can bring in community influence using ideas generated in Transforming Surge.
Overall, the ideas of Network were well received – especially in Pakistan where there is already a large Network footprint from the DEPP. Both countries were curious of how to create Start Network infrastructure in country which encompasses Start Fund, Start Engage and Start Labs. For now, we will see what comes organically of their new found Network. Both already have pre-alert conversations for potential crises to alert to the Fund.
Katie Tiller from Relief International Myanmar
New group leads, Katie Tiller from Relief International Myanmar and Asfar Muhammad from Mercy Corps Pakistan, will certainly have their hands full as champions of the Start Fund in-country.
Next up for these decisions making groups is that we have three new facilitators from the Membership on board to conduct workshops in French and Spanish speaking countries. More to come soon.