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Reimagining Risk and Accountability


Current approaches to risk management in the humanitarian sector are one of the most adverse barriers to supporting locally led humanitarian action. International NGOs find themselves in a ‘risk sandwich’; holding both the risk for their funders and that of their implementing partners. Increasingly, national and local NGOs have reported feeling undermined by accountability and due diligence frameworks that paint them as inherently “riskier” than INGOs, with little to no consideration of their particular strengths.

As a result, Start Network has launched the Risk and Accountability Initiative in partnership with Humentum. Together, we will explore new approaches and tools for assessing and managing risk, that put accountability to crisis-affected communities at the center and remove some of the barriers to funding access that local and national organizations face. We aim to propose ideas that consider various stakeholders’ perspectives and draw from the creativity of peers within and outside the humanitarian sector.

Using design thinking, we will collect ideas that address five key Accountability Challenges, which can be downloaded in English, French, or Spanish. The documents also contain a link to an online form where you can submit your ideas.

We encourage local and national NGOs, INGOs and other interested groups to participate in the design challenges through group discussions. Once ideas are submitted, we will shortlist prototypes and testing contexts and share our findings.

Why get involved?

As a participant in this initiative, you will have an incredible opportunity to:

  • Collaborate with a wide network of organizations, collectives and individuals who are intentional about finding solutions to common risk and due diligence barriers
  • Pave the way for local actors and crisis-affected communities to positively disrupt traditional risk and accountability structures
  • Test prototypes from this process in your organization if interested

Ultimately, the goal of the Risk and Accountability Initiative is to influence traditional humanitarian processes to diversify and contextualize risk and accountability requirements, so that local and national NGOs as well as community-based groups can access funding quicker and respond to the needs of affected or at-risk communities.

Download design challenges

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