Special Initiatives & Emergency Response

Start Network will be a catalyst for new humanitarian action

Start Network has officially launched as an independent organisation and is set up to bring change to humanitarian action on a larger scale.

Start Network, which was originally hosted by Save the Children, received funding from the IKEA Foundation to become an independent organisation, and we are very proud of their success. We began supporting Start Network when we were rethinking our emergency relief strategy and deepening our engagement in humanitarian action.

Annemieke Tsike-Sossah, Programme Manager, says: “The international community recognises the need to do better when it comes to preparing for, and reacting to, human suffering caused by natural or manmade crises. We were already supporting partners with emergency relief funding—working to help partners better prepare for crises at one end and supporting people in protracted situations, such as refugees who’ve been in a camp for over 20 years, at the other.”

“We’d funded several grants to support humanitarian action, enabling organisations to work better together, empowering those best-placed to respond and, most importantly, hearing the voices of affected people much earlier and much louder! And we saw how humanitarian financing isn’t structured in the best way. It can take quite some time before emergency relief funding reaches people in need, or for long-term investments to be made into people’s self-reliance.”

To address these issues, the IKEA Foundation started to put in place mechanisms that would allow funding to reach communities in need even faster, so we could respond to an alert within 24 hours, and get funding to the partner within 72 hours. We have been funding our humanitarian partners with multi-year programmes for almost a decade now.

Annemieke says: “We’re happy Start Network has become an independent organisation, not only because that’s what we set out to achieve together, but because they can now move forward with some of the innovations they couldn’t pursue under their old structure. We wish them well and will continue to follow their growth with interest.”

The IKEA Foundation has also progressed in its emergency relief work by providing unrestricted emergency relief to selected partners. We are happy to strengthen this approach with a €5 million contribution to the Start Fund.

The Start Fund is an in-country NGO-led funding mechanism that responds to small and medium crises, spikes during chronic crises, and increasingly in anticipation of crises. It’s the first multi-donor pooled fund managed exclusively by NGOs. Projects are chosen by local committees, made up of staff from Start Network members and their partners, within 72 hours of an alert. With this contribution, we will become the first private sector philanthropic contributor to the Start Fund and we hope many more will follow.

These trusted emergency partners know best when and how to respond to communities in need. Placing the decision-making with them is the most effective way to help ease suffering in crises that go unnoticed.