The Asian Coalition for Community Action is challenging the top-down Big Aid funding model by providing small grants to low-income communities for the initiatives of their choosing.
Since 2009, ACCA has developed a working finance system in which urban poor organizations have the power to choose what they will undertake. ACCA has provided small grants to 950 community-initiatives to upgrade "slums" or informal settlements in 165 cities in 19 nations. Up to $3,000 of grant finance is available, and communities use this to, for example, construct or improve their water supply systems or toilets, drains, roads, paths or bridges, community centers, household waste management, playgrounds or parks. Up to $40,000 has been available for larger initiatives at the city scale. (...)
If large, centralized development assistance agencies cannot work directly with urban poor groups and their community organizations, can they learn to work with and through intermediary institutions, which are on the ground financing, working with, and accountable to urban poor groups? (...)