Crises today demand a humanitarian response that involves many more people and organisations. We need to do things differently, and work together in new ways. The Start Response mechanism was developed to utilise the collective knowledge and capacities of Start Network members and increase the efficiency of humanitarian responses through leveraging local knowledge, increasing the speed of decision making and reducing administrative costs.
Benefits of Start Response
A Start Response would only be pursued if it was identified as adding value to the quality of a response in a particular context. The mechanism is best placed in situations where individual agencies are unable to gain traction with donors on their own, and so the ability to fund many leading humanitarian agencies under a single contract could be more appealing.
Start Response is also valuable in complex contexts where a high level coordination and collaboration between many agencies would improve coverage and strengthen the quality of a response.
Decision making under Start Response is member led. Using the principles of peer review, the Start Response mechanism allows needs to be identified and validated collaboratively amongst members and funding decisions are made in country, by those closest to the crisis. This ensures that the agencies that are best placed to respond to the most critical needs are selected.
A single contract for donors
In the current context of escalating humanitarian needs, donors need to achieve scale and impact in their resource allocation. At present they must work across a myriad of competing NGOs, or use intermediaries such as the UN or private sector. This can introduce bureaucracy and conditionality on aid money that reduces the ability of front-line organisations to respond to humanitarian needs as they perceive them.
A Start Response can offer an alternative option through:
- Reduced transaction costs: Funding several NGOs with one single contract
- Localised decision making: Responses are designed at field level by experienced practitioners using contextual and technical expertise
- Improved coordination: Joint programming guarantees less duplication and more appropriate investments as well as further geographical coverage