Start Fund among first responders in Sierra Leone mudslides

A massive landslide in the Regent area of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has lead to hundreds of deaths as sites flood across the capital city. Photo by: John James / UNICEF

ABIDJAN — Within just two days of requesting help to respond to devastating mudslides in Sierra Leone last month, relief organizations secured 355,262 pounds ($472,685) in funding from a unique pooled fund, the Start Fund.

ActionAid, Oxfam, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, and Plan International alerted the fund of the dire need for rapid financial assistance after Aug. 14 mudslides flattened the homes of thousands and left hundreds missing. The Start Fund allocation became active Aug. 18, making it among the first financial mechanisms to support victims.

The Start Fund is hoping to make this rapid turnover the norm in emergency response funding. This multi-donor pooled fund is managed exclusively by a network of more than 40 NGOs. It provides small-scale grants to emergencies faster than most financial mechanisms in the humanitarian space — within 72 hours of notification from local organizations following an emergency or disaster. Depending on the emergency, funds typically support nutrition, protection, shelter, or education.

“We want to address the urgent need to bridge the humanitarian funding gap and further try to mitigate the deterioration of the situation,” Alessandra Gilotta, operations manager of Start Fund, told Devex.

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About the author

  • Christin roby

    Christin Roby

    Christin Roby is the West Africa Correspondent for Devex. Based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, she covers global development trends, health, technology, and policy. Before relocating to West Africa, Christin spent several years working in local newsrooms and earned her Master of Science in videography and global affairs reporting from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her informed insight into the region stems from her diverse coverage of more than a dozen African nations.