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The Start Fund: Value and Uniqueness in a Shifting Humanitarian Funding Environment

Date added

09 August 2021


The Start Fund is the first multi-donor pooled humanitarian funding mechanism, managed exclusively by international and national non-governmental organisations (INGOs/NNGOs). As its membership has expanded, the frequency of alerts has risen, tools and systems have improved, governance has been restructured, and evidence and learning pro-cesses have been strengthened. In its sixth year of operation, by August 2020 the Start Fund had awarded over £71m and demand was seen to be at an all-time high. Past independent evaluations of the Start Fund and its performance have concluded that it is a successful and unique funding mechanism that has added significant value to, and has great potential to reform, the humanitarian financing system.

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In late 2020, the Start Fund commissioned an evaluation to provide:

  • A broad overview of global humanitarian funding mechanisms and landscapes with a focus on six countries; the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), El Salvador, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Sudan, and Yemen.
  • Insights into the value and uniqueness of the Start Fund itself in order to assess how these attributes can be further optimised for the future.

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