Start Working Differently: Round up of Day One

June 10, 2014

General Assembly, 9 June


Start: Working Differently began yesterday with the first Start Network General Assembly. This event enabled Start Network representatives from each of the 19 member agencies to come together to elect the Executive Board and decide the key questions to be debated at the Annual Conference taking place on Wednesday 11 June.

The sessions were expertly facilitated by Luis Morago, Campaigns Manager for Avaaz, and independent humanitarian consultant Emma Jowett, and the conversations were captured by Endless Possibilities, a visual note-taking team who will be recording throughout the week.


The recipe for collaboration

What are the Start Network’s binding principles? The members agreed that collaboration was both a means and an end for the consortium, and that its diversity is an asset that should be valued and encouraged. At the same time, there was also agreement that there will be greater gains for the entire humanitarian sector if the larger players relinquish some of the power that they now have.

A new Executive Board

The Assembly elected Saul Guerrero (Action Against Hunger), Bob Ruxton (Concern Worldwide), Matthew Carter (CAFOD), Aleema Shivji (Handicap International), Nigel Timmins (Oxfam) and Nick Guttmann (Christian Aid) for the new Executive Board. Nick Guttmann will act as Vice Chair.



“We need to debate the questions for which there are no right answers”

There are discrepancies between each members’ vision for the future of the Network. But in order to reach alignment, the members will debate the most pressing of these issues on Wednesday. Taking the key themes of diversity, decentralisation and collaboration, the facilitators invited the Assembly to dream about what the Network could achieve by 2022. The common ideas that emerged from these dreams were then taken to be the burning issues from which a proposition could emerge for the Conference.

A ‘network of networks’ or a single global model?

Membership will be one of the primary issues at the core of the Network’s discussions on Wednesday. As one member put it, “Our success will be defined by our connectedness and our influence.” But what are the next steps for the Network to bring new voices into its decision making? Is there an innovative solution to this and other issues within the sector, and what can the Network do to remove some of the barriers preventing this innovation from emerging? These will be some of the ideas to be debated by a group of over 100 stakeholders at the Conference tomorrow.

There is still time to register to attend the Start Network Future of NGOs event on Wednesday evening from 18:30. Find out more here.