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Unlocking barriers to enable greater diversity in the humanitarian system

Start Evolves

Blog Post

We have recently embarked on a process called Start Evolves, which aims to design the future of the humanitarian sector and Start Network’s place within it.

Members and wider stakeholders have joined us in lots of ways to help co-design this vision - through conferences, webinars, surveys and through focused specialised task teams.

These task teams were assigned different topics and were asked to assess and interrogate Start Network’s initial proposal, in order to offer a more detailed approach. These task teams discussed;

  • Risk
  • Membership
  • Due diligence
  • Feedback loops
  • Rights & obligations of hubs
  • Governance
  • The business model


Here we look at the results of one of these task teams, the team discussing due diligence. 

A new system to enable greater diversity in the humanitarian system

Due diligence structures are necessary for donors to trust that organisations have the proper governance and financial structures needed to ensure a minimal risk for misappropriation of funds. However, the high transaction costs of vetting thousands of actors and the stringent requirements to enable risk, mean that many smaller organisations cannot pass the onerous vetting systems.

Creating a global due diligence database

To enable a greater diversity of actors to the system, we need to find a solution to the barriers of vetting organisations to receive funding. The task team proposed creating a global due diligence database that can provide:

  • A standard due diligence process that is tiered that can be tailored by context
  • Online verification and validation of organisations
  • Opt-in capacity building and training to enable actors to move up the due diligence tiers

The following people volunteered to join the due diligence task team, to offer their insight and expertise: Richard Corbett (Oxfam), Deqa Saleh (Adeso), Affan Cheema (Islamic Relief), Annette Wulf (Welthungerhilfe), Laura Jump (Humanitarian Leadership Academy), Caroline Burrage (TechSoup), Bhavya Srinivasan and Kat Reichel (Start Network).

Members will have a chance to review the full results of the Start Evolves process and the work of the other task teams in the two months leading up to the meeting of the Start Network Assembly on the 15 and 16 November. The next opportunity to discuss the futute visions for Start is at the town hall webinar on 26 September.

Read more about Start Evolves

Keep reading:

Start Evolves

  • by Helen James