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Start Network hubs launch call-to-action to accelerate a lasting step-change towards localisation

  • by Helen James
  • 08 Jun 20

Guatemala sky © Javier de la Rosa


News Article

Today Start Network's five hubs have launched a bold paper aimed at catalysing a more local response to the immediate needs of COVID-19 and to accelerate a lasting step-change in humanitarian response.

Start Network’s Hub makers are building a new enabling culture and infrastructure to help make humanitarian response more local, more responsive, more effective. Register to hear more about our webinars to discuss this paper in the coming months.

The paper reflects on areas that are coming to the fore as the COVID-19 pandemic traverses the globe. Areas including the opportunity for localisation with mobility limited, the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods, food security, social cohesion, conflict, gender-based violence and the millions of non-traditional actors coming forward to help.

The paper then goes on to discuss the leadership qualities needed in our response to COVID-19 and that could fundamentally re-shape humanitarian action of the future. Areas including, but not limited to; navigating the delicate tension between crisis and renewal; a curiosity for discovery and lived experience; crafting new stories to re-shape the future and; the capacity to model and evolve collaborative behaviours.

The paper centres around seven calls-to-action for the Start Network and the wider humanitarian sector. These include

1.           Becoming Radically Open

provide the fastest possible mechanisms for the membership of a much wider diversity of new actors as they join the effort, including sharing the due diligence already undertaken by others.

2.           Hyper-Local Fund 

dramatically reduce the minimum size of grants to $100 dollars, made available through Hubs and their members to a network of trusted local actors – with the lightest possible reporting requirements.

3.           Crisis, Resilience and Renewal

resource local design teams to build a collective strategy and plan for the current and future COVID-19 response. And crucially, for this to involve designing the transitions between phases of response — which typically involve different actors and approaches.

4.           Holding Power to Account

Hold power to account as new behaviours and protocols privileging local action are implemented at speed by: a) a global and transparent index charting the progress of major donors and agencies towards ‘localisation’, and b) creating a supportive unit that provides real-time advice to large actors on efforts to localise their response.

5.           Rapid Innovation Fund

launch a rapid innovation fund and multi-sited global incubator for supporting Covid-19 innovators to access the knowledge, experience, markets, investment and compliance support they deserve.

6.           A Learning Framework

resource and host peer-to-peer and academic reflective spaces, so learning on COVID-19 response can be embedded, and so insights and new behaviours can be codified and shared with global decision-makers to challenge and support the sector’s step-change efforts.

7.           Sharing Models that Work

resource a global search for effective models in response to Covid-19 and a platform to make these models open-source and make insight on their effectiveness available.

Christina Bennett said

“Start Network has committed to supporting the hubs and their leadership as drivers of our vision for a decentralised and distributed network and we look forward to working with them to explore ways to put into practice the changes described in the paper and above.”

During the coming weeks, the Hubs will host webinars to discuss these ideas and the actions needed to realise their ambitions.

This is the Hubs’ 90-day call to action for the humanitarian sector. What do you commit to? Share your commitments with us @StartNetwork #ReshapeAid

Read the paper Crisis at a time for new dreams: A call to action by Start Network Hubs for a localised COVID-19 response.

Read the blog by Hugo Icu Peren, a member of the Guatemala Hub leadership team.

Read the blog by Start Network CEO Christina Bennett.

Read more about the Hubs.

Register interest in Hubs' webinars














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  • by Helen James