Topic Three: Pooled funding - how can NGOs engage?

Pooled funds have enabled more timely and flexible funding for responding to sudden humanitarian crises, and have made it possible to operate in otherwise underfunded emergency settings. In the context of the World Humanitarian Summit, the UN Secretary General, recommended that member states and other donors shoudl double the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to $1 billion, with the Grand Bargain calling for an exploration of whether NGOs could directly access CERF. The SG also called to increase the aid funnelled through Country Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) to 15 per cent by 2018. Given the current and growing importance of pooled funding, it is important that humanitarian NGOs understand how these mechansism function and how they can be accessed in order to be part of improving the overall response to humanitarian crises. 

NGOs are also managing a growing number of pooled funding mechanisms. The START fund (established and managed by a consortium of NGOs) is providing a quick alternative avenue for NGOs to access timely humanitarian funding.  The NEAR Network is exploring options for NGO-run pooled funds at the local level.

In the third session of the learning stream on humanitarian funding, participants will be provided with an overview of the different existing pooled funding mechanisms accessible directly to NGOs, including CBPFs, the START fund and the NEAR network's pooled fund mechanism. Guest experts will also address current challenges and opportunities regarding NGO access to pooled funds, followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Awareness of the different existing pooled funds and familiarity with their raison d'être and history

  • Understanding of how NGOs can access the main pooled financing mechanisms, including the CBPFs, and NGO-led pooled funds

  • Awareness of the main challenges and opportunities for NGOs to access pooled funding

  • Knowledge of the different sources of information on humanitarian pooled funding




  • Fernando Hesse, Head, Policy and Partnerships Unit, Funding Coordination Section (FCS), OCHA 
  • Ben Garbutt, Humanitarian Funding Manager, Oxfam 
  • Deepak Sardiwal, Start Fund Officer, Start Network
  • Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director, Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST)


  • Melissa Pitotti, Head of Policy at ICVA
  • Angharad Laing, Executive Director at PHAP


Webinar follow-up Questions and Answers

Click below to acces the unanswered questions from this topic's webinar. 


Expert Interview: Ben Garbutt, Humanitarian Funding Advisor, Oxfam

Click below to read Ben's responses to a series of questions posed on NGO access to pooled funding

Briefing paper

Click on Topic Three's briefng paper to access a synthesis of all information covered in this topic. English below, with French and Arabic also available. 


More Information

Click on the document below to access more information discussed throughout this topic