Start Evolves

Our vision and how we aim to get there

The Start Network is on a journey. We do not have all the answers but we propose a structure that we believe will achieve our collective vision. Along the way, we will be learning from experience and from each other, and adapting the design of the network to make it better able to meet the needs of people affected by crises.

Read the Start Network vision paper.

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The vision and the architecture needed

We propose a system in which funding will be dependable and predictable, based on humanitarian need. Responses will be defined by the recipients and early funding will reduce the impact of crises and the cost of response.

Creating a decentralised network of hubs

The Start Network is on a direction of travel that moves the Start Network to a distributed network of networks. 


In this new model, so-called ‘hubs’ will form at the national or regional level. These hubs may choose to design their own humanitarian financing, influencing and innovation options, whilst being connected in a global humanitarian network with strong identity and principles.


To understand the interest for such collectives, we sent out an Expression of Interest in April 2018. With an overwhelming 330 responses, the Start Network now wants to enable interested (groups of) organisations to move further on their journey to organising themselves in a better and transformative way. Ultimately, the Start Network envisions these new collectives to be connected in a global network. We believe that, when the humanitarian ecosystem works together in a more innovative, equitable and transparent way, this will improve the quality of aid that is available for people affected by crises.


In this context, the Start Network called for the creation of a ‘Hubs Advisory Group’, to guide the network on the journey towards a network of networks.


Read the minutes of the first meeting of the group.


Important: the Start Network will be informing respondents of the Expression of Interest on next steps in July 2018. Please bear with us as we’re getting ready for the next phase.

The journey so far

This design journey began in 2013 with a study into the future of NGOs in humanitarian action, which made the case for transformative change. We also commissioned a series of annual case studies into the early thinking and challenges, and then at the end of that year agreed on a Declaration of Intent.


At our Conference in May 2014, we agreed that Start will transform into a global network of networks, and we reformed governance.


In 2015 we began to plan for a new independent organisation, and we began to promote that Start could offer new business models as a way to improve the humanitarian aid system.


We put forward ideas and a vision for a better humanitarian system at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.


Then, later in November last year the Assembly agreed on a Visioning Paper which outlines the context, rationale and assumptions for the future of the Network. Now the Start Team has produced a Theory of Change which organises and explains all the Network activities into a coherent framework.


In 2017 hundreds of stakeholder came together to draw on this knowledge and create the framework for the future of the Start Network.

The Start Evolves process

This process over six months in 2017 co-designed with the various stakeholders to input into Start’s future, culminating in the Assembly and Board meetings in November 2017 to agree on the framework for the future of the Start Network.


For more information on this process, please contact Kat Reichel.


Find out more about Start Network