SEEDS, a leading humanitarian organisation that has worked extensively on every major disaster in the Indian Sub-continent, announced joining of the Start Network, today. A group of over fifty aid agencies, Start Network is spread across five continents, ranging from large international organisations to national NGOs. 

SEEDS has been constantly driving discussions for pooling of resources and expertise at national level in India for improved disaster response, and this partnership is a contributing step towards making this vision a reality. At the same time, SEEDS strongly advocates for making the platform a democratic space where there is equal participation and benefits that are felt by local members. 

Christina Bennett, CEO, Start Network said, “I am delighted to welcome SEEDS into the Start Network. This growing movement of NGOs recognises the importance of creating a new era of humanitarian action. Start Network seeks to catalyse change within the humanitarian sector and NGOs are at the heart of shaping the change that is needed.  Together we’re working drive and catalyse the change that is urgently needed in the global aid system”.

Dr Manu Gupta, Co-founder, SEEDS said, “We believe, it is important to de-centralise decision-making power within the humanitarian sector at all the front lines – particularly from national to sub-national level (at the grassroots). We look up to Start Network and its members for guidance in this regard”.  
Within the sector, transfer of power is still in its beginning stage as localisation is still a regional or international level issue and hasn’t really percolated down. 

While the collaboration is set to contribute towards the establishment of a national humanitarian hub in the times to come, it will be the members who decide how the hub will shape itself.  Though it is difficult to predict its evolution over the next few years given the country’s democratic setup, it will have its own unique characteristics. There are resources available within the country from government agencies, corporations and individuals for supporting humanitarian causes, and the initiative aims to tap into these, and to do so in a way that improves speed of disaster response, reduces associated costs, and enhances appropriateness to local contexts.

Dr. Gupta further added, “The founding objectives of the Start Network very much align with our thinking about localization of humanitarian response, new financing mechanisms including pooled funding, and humanitarian innovations as a ways for driving positive change in the humanitarian sector. We particularly look forward to the additional value that Start Network can provide towards bridging the gap between rising needs and shrinking resources for humanitarian work.”

SEEDS looks at the collaboration as a healthy start towards being able to empower and equip leadership at the local level. The front-line members at the grassroot level can be individuals, organisations or the local government. However, this can be achieved only through consistent efforts over next few years.

As a disaster preparedness and risk reduction organisation based out of Delhi, SEEDS is acknowledged for its consistency in reaching out to the worst affected populations in every significant disaster, and an attitude for always wanting to learn and improve disaster management theories and practice with new innovations. It works to serve those directly or indirectly affected by the disasters and the climate crisis, with an underlying approach of community based resilience building.