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Pooled funds

Last edited: July 03, 2013

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  • Too often in humanitarian contexts, intervention strategies are driven by the availability of funding.  Ideally, VAWG actors should identify the needs of the population first, and then, when necessary, educate the donors about those needs in order to obtain sufficient support for programmes. In particular, every available opportunity should be identified to work with donors in order to open doors to more sustainable funding opportunities. It is often useful for VAWG actors to address donors with one voice through the VAWG coordination mechanism so that donors understand how they may support individual and joint projects to meet the broad goals and objectives identified in national and local VAWG action plans.
  • As a starting point to accessing donors and obtaining funding, VAWG actors should be familiar with basic humanitarian funding mechanisms.  Humanitarian funding can be obtained through different mechanisms, appropriate to the specific context, whether rapid‐onset emergencies or chronic, conflict affected counties. Interagency technical guidance on UN system funding procedures (Humanitarian Financing, CERF and CAP described below) can be found and downloaded at the OneResponse website.
  • As shown in the diagram below, the majority of humanitarian funding streams can be divided into two basic categories: “pooled funds” and  “appeals”.

Source: UNFPA. 2011. Curriculum Guide for Coordination of Multi-Sectoral Response to Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Settings, pg. 178

1.      The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), established as part of the 2005 humanitarian reform effort, seeks to improve and guarantee predictable humanitarian financing. Governments and other donors contribute to the CERF for timely funding of emergency response. The CERF is an important international multilateral funding instrument that provides rapid initial funding for life‐saving assistance at the onset of humanitarian crises and critical support for poorly‐funded, essential humanitarian response operations. The CERF’s three objectives are:

  • Promote early and coordinated action and response to save lives;
  • Enhance response to time‐crucial requirements based on demonstrable needs;
  • Strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in under‐funded crisis.

2.      Emergency Response Funds (ERFs) (also called Humanitarian Response Funds) has been providing rapid and flexible funding to address gaps in humanitarian needs since 1997. It is usually established to meet unforeseen needs that are not included in the CAP or similar coordination mechanisms but in line with CHAP objectives and identified priorities. It increases opportunities for local actors including NGOs to respond to needs in areas where INGOs face challenges to access due to security or political constraints.

3.      Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs) provide early and predictable funding to the most critical humanitarian needs as identified and formulated in a CAP . CHFs will however also maintain an emergency reserve (typically max 10% of total funding) for responding to unplanned emergency needs outside the CAP. All humanitarian partners participating in the CAP process are eligible to receive funding from a CHF. Given that the objective of a CHF to provide core funding towards the CAP these funds are often much larger than ERFs and will involve cluster/sector leads and other humanitarian partners in an elaborate prioritization and allocation process.

4.      Bilateral donor funding directly to UN and INGOs from donor governments and foundations is also available. The GBV coordination mechanism  can provide a  useful  platform  for  participants  to  develop collaborative proposals for their traditional bilateral donors: USAID (BPRM, OFDA), ECHO, DFID, CIDA, SIDA, Irish Aid, NorAid; private foundations (Novo, Avon, Johnson&Johnson); and UN agencies (UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA, UNIFEM). Many donors encourage collective or consortia bids, particularly bids that demonstrate partnerships with local organizations (Ward, 2010, pg. 57).