Empowering the urban poor through changes in aid distribution by Urban Africa

by Alli Appelbaum


Funding small-scale, community-based urban development projects could change the face of cities.

In a recent TEDx talk, Dr David Sattherthwaite – senior fellow in the International Institute for Environment and Development’s Human Settlements Group – discussed how a change in the way aid is assigned could have a large impact on urban poverty. When donors increase their consultation with, and accountability to, poor urban communities and focus on work at a local scale, a small amount of development aid can greatly assist the urban poor.

In a recent press release, the International Institute for Environment and Development reflected on Satterthwaite’s TEDx talk: The Urban Poor Fund International is managed by Slum/Shack Dwellers International, a network of more than 30 national slum/shack dweller federations. It has supported over 200,000 households to build or improve their homes and to get tenure of their house plot and hundreds of other initiatives. The Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) has funded more than 1,000 community initiatives in 168 cities.

Both funds are affecting the way city governments work, empowering low-income communities to raise more funds and work in partnership with authorities to develop their settlements and improve living standards.

Satterthwaite points out that the funds have achieved all of this with just US$35 million, a tiny sum when shared across so many countries, cities and communities.

“Imagine if just one percent of aid — US$1 billion — was spent this way,” he says. “We would truly transform our cities.”

For the full story visit AllAfrica.

Image via flickr user redonion_TEDx

This article originally appeared at Urban Africa on 16 July 2013.