Donor Forum and Information Needs Workshop, 10 June
Day Two of the event saw the completion of the first Start Network Donor Forum, which consisted of a strategy setting dinner and a performance review meeting. The Forum was attended by representatives from current donors DFID and Irish Aid, as well as the Children’s Investment Foundation Fund, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Global Humanitarian Assistance.
Donors, advisors and partners grapple with the strategic questions over dinner
The evening dinner was introduced with a speech from Michael Edwards, distinguished senior fellow at Demos, who urged the Start representatives to ensure consistency between vision and the practice as the Network develops. Though he was painted a sobering picture of the future for large humanitarian agencies, and was honest about the institutional cynicism new initiatives like Start will have to battle, he asserted that collaboration and integrity would be the key to success.
“Don’t build a bureaucracy: the value of the Start Fund is its speed”
When the group reconvened the following morning they were able to immerse themselves in the detail of the Start Fund and its performance and management since the launch. The Team spoke honestly about the challenges the Network faces, and the donors offered strategic advice and support. A key take out was that the Network needs to provide more open and refined communication around the Fund: an issue that the group will address by convening regularly as the mechanism is taken to scale.
Re-thinking our approach to learning and information management
The afternoon provided space for members and the Team to think creatively about reporting and learning for the Network, its stakeholders, its beneficiaries and its donors. The vision is to develop an open source platform to ensure fast, direct and transparent communication between all of these parties, and to increase accountability and shared learning.