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What could you not have done without the Start Fund?

Timeliness and Gap-filling: Two critical aspects of the Start Fund

  • by Michaela Larson
  • 14 Aug 19

Credit: Alert 260, Myanmar floods, NRC


Blog Post

What could you not have done without the Start Fund? 

Every Start Network member that receives funds through the Start Fund answers this question in the reporting template. The feedback is used to gauge the impact of the Start Fund. In 2018, half of the responses to this question mentioned either the timeliness of the Start Fund or its ability to fill a gap in an ongoing response effort.

One of Start Fund’s niche areas is speed. Start Fund’s 72-hour decision making mechanism and 45-day project cycle position the Start Network in a unique position within the humanitarian funding sector. Many Start Network members state that the speed of the Start Fund is unparalleled by other funding mechanisms.

“We could not have provided the scale and speed of assistance to the affected population and would not have been able to provide essential needs such as food (rice), cash for complementary food and hygiene promotion.” CAFOD; Alert 260 – Myanmar (Flooding)

Start Funds can also raise the profile of an otherwise underfunded or under the radar crisis. This is in part due to the speed of the mechanism, but also because of its aim to reach these “non-CNN” crises.

“Without the Start Fund, such intervention wouldn't have been possible, first of all because Solidarités International did not have access to any funding as part of its ongoing programmes (one was already finished). Moreover, flooding is not [taken] into account in the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) and such intervention would not have been possible within this framework.” Solidarités International; Alert 259 – Mali (Flooding)

“Everything that was implemented [could not have happened without Start Fund] since no other organization came to the support of these populations; the government made promises but to date people are still waiting and living at home in 60% deteriorated that in case of a new event is sure to collapse.” Pro-Vida; Alert 232 – El Salvador (Earthquake)

Gap filling, or disbursing funds immediately with the aim that agencies will utilise these funds and programming to demonstrate to larger donors they have capacity to respond longer term, is another key position of Start Fund projects.

“It would not have been possible to respond in a timely manner and respond to the needs of the Congolese refugees without Start funds. Despite the high needs, Burundi is not a priority country for many donors. Thus, the funding received through Start Fund has supported to meet emerging needs of the refugees as the humanitarian agencies continue to preposition for additional funding to meet the needs of the refugees living in the four camps in Burundi.” World Vision; Alert 214 – Burundi (Displacement)

Start Fund hears what our members have to say and are developing tools to continue to support their programming through assistance in leveraging funding and earmarking 1% of the funding pot for learning activities, known as the Start Fund Learning Grant. Guidance on what would qualify for a learning grant can be found here and the application here.

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  • by Michaela Larson