Start Network becomes independent of Save the Children

07 May 2019 News

A Save the Children run consortium has become independent “to create innovative ways of working”, it has been revealed.

Start Network, a global network of humanitarian charities has announced its launch as an independent charity, yesterday. A spokesperson for the charity said that it was becoming independent “to create innovative ways of working” and to “fundraise flexibly”.

They added: “Being part of a large global organisation, while benefiting from the infrastructure, also restricted our approach at times. This has mainly been to a difference in our mandates, Start Network’s mandate is to change the humanitarian sector, which is different to the mandate of Save the Children’s, which is to build a better future for children.”

Start Network was launched in 2010 as the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies (CBHA), a network of 15 charities. It was renamed as Start Network in 2012, and since then has increased its membership to 40 national and international aid agencies, including Action Against Hunger, Action Aid, Care International and World Jewish Relief.

The charity hopes that the move to independence will solve issues such as “slow and reactive funding, centralised decision making” and “aversion to change”. It plans to allow its members to access funding earlier. It will act as an umbrella body to the network, delivering functions such as membership, fundraising and communications. The 40 member network will work with further decentralised ‘hubs’, based worldwide. In April 2018, the charity asked hubs to express their interest in the scheme. It received 330 responses.

Save the Children will continue hosting some of its programmes such as a Migration Emergency Response Fund.

Rachel O’Brien, Save the Children’s director of global humanitarian capacity & capability said:“It was always the plan for them to become independent, to give them the autonomy they need to work on behalf of all their members even more effectively. Save the Children will continue to be a member and to manage grants on behalf of the network. However they are now able to look for grants and projects that will be managed by other members, giving them more freedom, agility and flexibility.”

Christof Gabriel Maetze, chair of the Start Network Board, said: “Nine years of construction of the Start Network are now culminating in our independence. This is an important time, a necessary time and now we are getting ready for the next phase of the Start Network.”

The charity will be overseen by a board of 12 trustees. The change has caused the charity to change its office location in November 2018. The spokesperson confirmed that there had been no redundancies but that there will be upcoming changes to the board.

Sean Lowrie, who has announced he will resign in the middle of the year, is the current chief executive. He said: “This is a proud moment for everyone involved in the Start Network. It is also an opportunity for radical, bold and decisive action by NGOs. Start Network’s independence means that the time has come for a new era of humanitarian aid, with new business models and new alliances. The sector must adapt to this new world.”

The charity is funded by the UK, Irish, Dutch, Jersey and German governments, as well as the World Bank and IKEA. The charity said that IKEA was supporting it with a £2.5m grant to launch independently.


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