Back to all news and blogs

How the Start Fund Supports Local and National Partner Organisations

Blog Post

Local and national-level organisations, working in partnership with Start Network members, are key to the planning and implementation of Start Fund projects. Through collaboration with these local partners, Start Network members gain the access and community knowledge that are needed for effective interventions. The Start Network’s ongoing 2020 Local Partner Survey has also revealed some key benefits of involvement in Start Fund projects for these local organisations. Three key areas that have emerged from interviews with Start Fund local partners worldwide are: increased capacity, improved credibility, and heightened visibility.

Local partners highlight increased capacity as a key takeaway from Start Fund interventions

Although most Start Fund projects only last 45 days, a number of local partner representatives have spoken about how their work with Start Network members during these short-term projects has strengthened their organisation’s capacity in a way that has supported their subsequent humanitarian programming. One respondent from Nigeria described the longer-term impact of training provided to community-based volunteers as part of their organisation’s work through the Start Fund: “Through the intervention, we now have trained community-based volunteers who are already on the ground and ready to respond to emergencies. Our 300 volunteers are spread over 50 communities in nine local governments. The Start Fund intervention helped to provide field experience for these community volunteers. So, they are better placed to respond to other emergencies that may arise in the future. I feel that the experience has actually boosted the capacity of both community volunteers and our staff.”

Another respondent from Zimbabwe whose organisation had only very limited experience with emergency response prior to their work on a Start Fund project spoke about how their organisation’s involvement affected their capacity to provide a more integrated model of psychosocial support for the communities they work in: “I think we now feel we have a much better continuum of care and graduation of care that we can offer survivors of trauma than what we had before. We were kind of reliant on other organisations to do that in the past and that wasn’t always a seamless relationship and graduation between interventions. Now we can offer that kind of seamless graduation of response.”

Local partners feel their organisation’s credibility improved after working on Start Fund interventions

Local partner representatives have also noted how their work with the Start Fund improved their organisation’s credibility at local and national levels – not only with the communities they support, but also with government actors and other NGOs. One respondent from Myanmar described the positive feedback their organisation received in the form of thank you letters from community members following their involvement in a Start Fund intervention.

Another respondent from Bangladesh said that working on Start Network has helped their organisation “maintain good relationships with our beneficiaries and the local government in the sense that we are able to respond to their emergency needs. So, I guess you could say that the trust they have in [our organisation] to stand by our beneficiaries when they are in need gets reinforced in a way.”

Other respondents highlighted how working with the Start Fund provided the opportunity for the government and other local stakeholders to see the skills and capacity of their organisations. As one respondent from South Sudan detailed, “The effect and outcome of [our] activities were testified by people on the ground and state authorities like the State Minister for Ebola.” The same respondent noted that their work with the Start Fund “added reputational value” to the organisation, in part because it demonstrated their capacity to reach areas of affected regions that were not even accessible to the government.

Local partners noted work with the Start Fund heightened visibility for their organisation

Similarly, a number of local partners spoke about how their work with the Start Network has increased their visibility, opening up opportunities to expand their reach and to be included in national-level discussions. One partner in Zimbabwe described how a psychosocial first aid package they developed as part of their work with a Start Fund project has helped them expand their reach and support networking: “We developed a package for psychosocial first aid, which we rolled out in the communities we’re working in. We’ve then gone on and refined that particular package. And we’ve had a lot of requests actually from people for us to train them in that package. So even one of the partners of the Start Fund project is a nationwide network but only one of their diocese was involved. Now the other dioceses have come to us and asked us to train them in [the psychosocial first aid package].”

Another respondent in Malawi described how the government had appointed their organisation to sit on the National Disaster Preparedness and Relief Technical Committee: “It is a high-level committee for only very few people. We have been invited to sit there because of the status the Start Network has given us. At the country level, we have received massive recognition.” These early findings from the 2020 Local Partner Survey showcase some of the impacts Start Fund projects can have not only on local communities affected by humanitarian emergencies but also on local and national-level organisations working with Start Network members.

Keep reading:

  • by Emily Grant