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Start Working Differently: Round up of Day Three

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Annual Conference and Future of NGOs public debate

The first Start Network Annual Conference brought together over 100 of the Start Network’s stakeholders and supporters to have a say in the next steps for the consortium. The Endless Possibilities team were there again to capture the conversations visually, and provided a valuable tool for reflection. A film making team also attended to convert the graphic recordings from the week into a film, which they will combine with short interviews they held with members of the delegation throughout the Conference.

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“We can’t learn to swim if we continue standing on the edge of the water"

Key speakers introduced the debates throughout the day. The message from DFID’s George Turkington was that the Start Network is a powerful ally in helping them to deliver their objective of empowering local communities, while speakers from the membership urged the audience to be bold, and to keep sight of the mission statement. Afternoon speakers went further: GHA’s Sophia Swithern revealed the stark reality of how little funding actually goes directly to local partners, while ActionAid’s Bijay Kumar delivered a clear message: we need to bring in Southern voices now if we are to learn how to decentralise.

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A bold commitment to deliver our vision

Delegates used hand held voting terminals to cast their votes on motions presented by members of the Network. There were challenging and sometimes polarising debates where members seized the opportunity to voice their opinions. The live voting system meant that alignment was reached by the end of the day around the following recommendations:

  1. Our long term direction of travel is toward a network of networks
  2. The Start Fund will be a single global funding system
  3. National NGOs should be part of the Network
  4. We must commit to bringing local voices in now
  5. Start Network wants to leverage its collective power within the innovation and learning system

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Harnessing the power of the Network to positively disrupt the sector

In the evening, we opened the doors to a wider audience for the second Start Network Future of NGOs event. A series of ignite presentations from innovative ititiaives like Avaaz, Pimp my Cause, Frontline SMS and the Humanitarian Open Street Map sparked lively debate from the crowd. The key question of the night, posed by Rose Caldwell from Concern, was this: the humanitarian sector is headed for a major disruption, so how will we embrace the change to ensure that we can continue to serve crisis affected populations? The innovative solutions that were presented disintermediate and often democratise the system, inspiring the audience to imagine new ways to use the collective strength of the Network to enable faster and more efficient crisis response.

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