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Start Network influencing the ways of working for its member organisations

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In early 2019, the Start Network undertook a member survey which probed for examples of how the Start Network is influencing their operations. Thirty-nine of our forty-two member assembly representatives replied to the survey, and 85 percent reported that Start Network had changed their organisational practices to some degree. 

Members reported that the Start Network is changing how they work with other agencies and organisations. They spoke of being more intentional about establishing partnerships within the sector and collaborating with other agencies within the Start Network, and the benefits these have afforded them in being more effective in how they operate.

We think carefully and frequently about the role of NGOs and Start Network members in response to small and medium scale crises. We see our efforts as collaborative rather than self-interested. 

By interacting with the Start Network, we have made more partnerships that have allowed us to respond faster to crisis.

More likely to reach out directly to other agencies … both in the event of an emergency and also when searching for new and better ways of operating.

There is greater collaboration between our country office colleagues and with other Start members at country level due to the Start Network especially in places like Bangladesh and the Philippines where the network is strong. 

Members reported that the Start Network is responsible for changes to their internal processes to align with international standards and new ways of working. They referred to changes that enabled them to respond faster to crises, including establishing better communication channels between headquarters and the field; and changes which made them more accountable and aligned with best practices in safeguarding and data protection.

I think being a member of the Start Network has encouraged us to give greater attention to what can be done in the critical immediate phase of a response … Start forces us to see how nimble our responses can be, and what can be done in the limited 45-day window.

We have adopted specific internal standard operating procedures to respond to Start Network alerts and to raise them equally. This has increased cohesion and communication between our head office and field offices and has most importantly helped us improve in terms of reactivity and fast response. 

We would not be in a position to do the work we do in terms of timing without the Start Network. So we changed the way our field colleagues look at emergencies to make sure they have in mind that a 72 hours intervention is feasible.

New policies recommended by the Start Network become a learning experience, for example, safe-guarding and data protection. 

Members reported that the Start Network is influencing their use of new technologies for more effective and timely interventions. They spoke specifically about new financing options including early action and forecasting, and participation in groups such as FOREWARN (Forecast-based Warning, Analysis and Response Network) and alert/country sub-groups of the Start Fund.

The Start Fund has helped foster early preparedness and rapid response action within our country teams and our local partners.

Different systems of Anticipation, EWEA [Early Warning Early Action], Disaster Risk Financing of Forecast-based-Financing have a great influence on my work (and the paradigm shift of my organisation in general) - Start is a valuable partner in all of those topics.

These changes point to more transparent and effective ways of working. Most of these have been the result of interacting with the Start Fund, the Start Networks flagship product.

Hub development, and our commitments and services under Localisation, New Financing and Collective Innovation will all bring new opportunities for our members to engage with best practice, new technologies and improved ways of working.

See which organisations are members of Start Network 

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  • by Helen Guyatt