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NGO Funding

Humanitarian NGO Funding

We work with non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners, with whom we have a longstanding and proven partnership, so that support can quickly reach those in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Partner NGOs must be must either be Irish-based, or a non-Irish organisation which has received an invitation to apply for funding.

  • Humanitarian Programme Plan (HPP)
  • Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS)
  • The Start Fund

Humanitarian Programme Plan (HPP)

Humanitarian Programme Plan (HPP)

The HPP is Irish Aid's main humanitarian funding mechanisms for NGO partners. It supports humanitarian interventions in situations of protracted, predictable and recurring crises. Irish Aid introduced the Humanitarian Programme Plan (HPP) in 2009 to strengthen the partnership with humanitarian NGOs, and promote humanitarian responses that build resilience and lay the groundwork for sustainable development. For this reason, the HPP incorporates elements of preparedness, disaster risk reduction and early recovery.

Since 2017, the HPP shifted from an annual to a multi-annual funding cycle. Irish Aid promotes coherence between humanitarian and development funding for NGOs to deliver sustainable change. One way we do this is by aligning the project cycles of HPP and Programme Grant. In 2019, seven agencies received support via the HPP scheme: Christian Aid Ireland, Concern Worldwide, Goal, Oxfam Ireland, Plan International Ireland, Trócaire and World Vision Ireland. The 2019 HPP budget was over €15 million.

The objectives of the HPP are:

  • Help achieve Irish Aid's humanitarian outcomes and key result areas as set out in the Ireland's policy for international development: A Better World;
  • Strengthen the partnership-based nature of Irish Aid's humanitarian engagement with NGOs;
  • Support partner organisations' approach to, and capacities for, humanitarian response;
  • Encourage predictable and flexible financing, in line with Good Humanitarian Donorship and World Humanitarian Summit and Grand Bargain commitments.

Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS)

Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS)

The Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS) supports humanitarian response during the initial weeks after the onset of an emergency. Through ERFS, Irish Aid pre-positions funds with participating NGOs at the beginning of the year to enable them to respond quickly and appropriately to humanitarian crises. ERFS was established as part of Ireland's ongoing efforts to put the principles of Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) into practice. ERFS reaffirms our commitments under the GHD to provide flexible and timely funding to provide effective humanitarian assistance in a way that is responsive to local needs and adheres to humanitarian principles.

Irish Aid established the ERFS in 2007. Since then, ERFS has funded more than 200 humanitarian interventions in over 40 countries and provided funding worth over €24m.

In 2019, seven NGOs received support via the ERFS scheme: Christian Aid Ireland, Concern Worldwide, Goal, the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam Ireland, Plan International Ireland, Trócaire and World Vision Ireland. Through our Strategic Partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) we also provide prepositioned ERFS funding to gender based violence prevention and response in emergencies. The total Irish Aid ERFS budget in 2019 was over €3.8 million.

ERFS External Review

In the context of increasing humanitarian needs, evolving humanitarian architecture and a new development policy, Irish Aid commissioned an external review of ERFS in 2019. The review included consultations across Irish Aid and embassies, with NGO partners and with other donors. The review found that ERFS has enabled timely and effective humanitarian responses to sudden onset disasters. Furthermore, through a comparative analysis, it found that ERFS is "as good, and in many regards better" than comparable funding mechanisms of other donors.

A copy of the Review can be found here.

The Start Fund

The Start Fund

The Start Fund is an innovative pooled funding mechanism that enables NGOs to access rapid funding in order to respond to underfunded small to medium scale crises. It is collectively owned and managed by Start Network's members. The Start Fund is designed to fill identified gaps in the emergency funding architecture following a step-change or escalation in humanitarian needs. The Start Fund releases funds within 72 hours of being alerted and projects are implemented within 45 days. These funds are used for:

  • Response to small to medium scale emergencies that often receive little funding, either because they fall between existing financing mechanisms or because they do not attract sufficient media attention.
  • Early response to slow-onset crises to protect at-risk communities. All too often these situations do not receive attention or funding until many lives have already been lost.
  • Fast response to both rapid-onset crises and spikes in chronic humanitarian crises where agencies on the ground need to act quickly.

The Start Fund complements existing humanitarian funding mechanisms but is unique in that it is collectively owned and operated by NGOs comprising the Start Network, on behalf of the wider civil society sector. Ireland provided €1.3m to the Start Fund in 2018.

Calls for Proposals

Occasionally, Irish Aid requests partners to submit funding proposals for specific crises. Calls for proposals are time-bound and crisis specific. The decision to issue a call is based on the particular nature of the crisis, the level of needs, and the availability of resources. Applications for funding can only be submitted in response to a call for proposals or upon invitation. The most recent call for proposals was issued in March 2019 for Ebola outbreak control efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a total budget of €1m.