The ENN was established by Fiona O’Reilly and Jeremy Shoham in 1996 following an interagency meeting hosted by UNHCR in Addis Ababa the previous year. Following the evaluation of the Great Lakes emergency, the agencies present at the meeting identified the urgent need to establish a vehicle for capturing programming experiences and preserving institutional memory in the emergency food and nutrition sector. UNHCR funded Jeremy Shoham to write a proposal for this and following a round of fundraising, he secured sufficient monies to establish the ENN. John Kevany who was a Professor of Public Health at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) supported the idea and allowed the ENN to establish a small office in his department. John Kevany and Fiona O’Reilly were also instrumental in securing 50% of ENN funding from Irish Aid. John Kevany's sudden death in 2003 was a huge loss to the ENN. The ENN was located in TCD between 1996-2004, after which it re-located to Oxford in the UK. Fiona O’Reilly, who together with Jeremy Shoham steered the ENN through it’s first eight years, left the ENN in 2004.