Locally based Start Fund committee release £265,201 for Somalia drought

June 20, 2014

The Start Network successfully completed its first test for decentralising decision making yesterday when a Start Fund project selection committee based in Nairobi met for the first time. The committee responded to an alert raised on Monday for drought and food insecurity in East Africa, and decided to allocate £265,201 for Muslim Aid and International Rescue Committee projects in Somalia.

The first six months since its launch on April 1st are a design phase for Start Fund, where the necessary structures for fast and effective decision making will be put in place. At the heart of the Start Network’s vision is the belief that decisions should be made as locally as possible, to ensure that humanitarian response aligns with the needs of crisis affected communities. This first test enabled a committee in East Africa to make informed decisions about the most appropriate use of the Start Fund for the disaster in the region.

Because this was the first test during the design phase, a parallel project selection committee took place in London to discuss the same proposals. This committee acted as a control group to test the hypothesis that more informed and effective decision making can take place locally.

This test was completed within our standard 72-hour time frame. The Allocation Committee decided to activate the fund for an envelope of £500,000 within 24 hours of the alert. The project selection committee in Nairobi was then convened in time to meet at 12:30pm UK time yesterday. The committee was composed of representatives from Islamic Relief, World Vision, ActionAid, Christian Aid and Relief International who are based in Nairobi.

They reviewed four proposals which came from Muslim Aid, IRC, Islamic Relief and Save the Children, using the same methodology and criteria trialled in previous Start Fund Project Selection meetings. After the decision to fund Muslim Aid and IRC, the group fed back on the process and suggested improvements to be built into future meetings.

The successful agencies received funding yesterday and are able to begin implementing the projects, which aim to reach 20,300 people in 45 days. The Muslim Aid project will aim to provide vulnerable people in hard-to-reach parts of Puntland with food packages and drinking water. The IRC project will rehabilitate bore-holes and wells and provide cash transfers in Mudug Region, which will benefit the local pastoralist community.


Photo: Muslim Aid, Somalia