Gatekeeper series: Local organization Profiles

Article, 01 April 2010

This page provides a list of Gatekeeper Series publications from 2008 - 2009 that profile local organizations. Find out more about the Gatekeeper series

GK137: Understanding and Supporting the Role of Local Organizations in Sustainable Development

David Satterthwaite and Gabriela Sauter, August 2008

All poverty reduction is “local” in that it has to improve conditions on the ground for those living in a particular locality — for instance, providing or improving schools, water and sanitation, or support for livelihoods. Both poverty reduction and good environmental management depend on organizations that operate at the local level. Donor agencies are only as effective as the (mostly local) organizations their funding supports. Although donor agencies may acknowledge the effectiveness of many local organizations, their funding architectures allow very little of their development assistance to support them. This paper considers the lessons that emerge from the profiles of local organizations on how donors could better support their capacities.
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GK137a: Association ANDES: Conserving Indigenous Biocultural Heritage in Peru
Alejandro Argumedo and Tammy Stenner, August 2008

The Association for Nature and Sustainable Development (ANDES) is an indigenous NGO established in 1995 to defend indigenous rights to genetic resources, traditional knowledge and landscape character in Peru. It started with volunteer staff and no funding, and has grown considerably over the years. Although its work is rooted within “the local”, it also influences national policy and pushes new policy on protected areas, biodiversity registers, food security corridors, traditional knowledge and agro-eco-tourism.
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GK137b: The Evolution of Casa Pueblo, Puerto Rico: From Mining Opposition to Community Revolution
Alexis Massol-González, Avril Andromache Johnnidis and Arturo Massol-Deyá, August 2008

Casa Pueblo began in 1980 as a grassroots citizens’ group opposed to the Puerto Rican government’s plan for large-scale open-pit mining by international corporations in the central region. Its aims have since evolved to promoting community-based self-reliance and self-management, while conserving cultural heritage and local and national ecological integrity. It also promotes sustainable forestry and helped change national mining and forestry policy. Casa Pueblo’s philosophy is based on a “social transformation model” through the development of community culture, information-gathering, sound science and research and self-sufficiency.
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GK137c: IIED-América Latina: Neighbourhood Credit Funds in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Florencia Almansi and Andrea Tammarazio, August 2008

This describes the development of a credit fund in informal settlements in Buenos Aires between 1993 and 2007. It focuses on the creation, implementation and sustainability of credit funds for housing improvement and how these changed in response to external factors and programme dynamics. Credit fund initiatives based on modest financial resources have the potential not only to catalyse housing improvements but also strengthen community capacity by delegating project management to the grassroots.
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GK137d: The Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP), Zimbabwe: Self-reliance for Sustainability
Dumisani Nyoni, August 2008

ORAP was established in 1980 and works in one of Zimbabwe’s least developed regions. Its aim is development and poverty reduction through empowerment, participation and self-reliance and it seeks to achieve this through programmes on micro-finance, education, food security, community grant-making and water resource management. Its continued presence and work programme, despite the country’s economic crisis and the withdrawal of many international NGOs and other organizations, demonstrate the sustainability of organizations that are locally driven and rooted in the community.
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GK137e: The Pastoral Women’s Council: Empowerment for Tanzania’s Maasai
Maanda Ngoitiko, August 2008

The Pastoral Women’s Council is a community-based organization established in 1997. It was founded to promote the development of Maasai pastoralist women and children by facilitating their access to education, health care, social services and economic empowerment. It addresses women’s marginalisation in patriarchal Maasai culture, as well as the poverty that has long been underpinned by land access restrictions for pastoralists, hunters and gatherers.
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GK137f: The Urban Resource Centre, Karachi
Arif Hasan, August 2008

This Karachi-based NGO was set up in recognition to Karachi’s anti-poor and environmentally destructive planning process. It created an information base about Karachi’s development that informs a network of professionals and activists from civil society and government agencies. This includes research and analysis of government plans (and their implications for Karachi’s citizens), as well as advocacy, mobilisation of communities and drawing key government staff into discussions. Its work has helped challenge successfully many government plans that are ineffective, overly expensive and anti-poor, and has promoted alternatives.
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GK137g: The Urban Poor Development Fund in Cambodia: Supporting Local and City-wide Development
Somsak Phonphakdee, Sok Visal and Gabriela Sauter, August 2009

Rural-to-urban migration following the fall of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia in 1979 resulted in very large numbers of low-income people in cities with no real sense of community, no government support and no programmes to provide them with services, finance or housing. In 1998, the Urban Poor Development Fund was established to consolidate a coalition of community leaders and concerned organizations, who were working together on an urban community movement that includes savings groups to finance housing and neighbourhood improvements and placing the poor at the core of their own development processes.
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GK137h: Renovation, Not Relocation: The Work of the Paguyuban Warga Strenkali (PWS) in Indonesia
Wawan Some, Wardah Hafidz and Gabriela Sauter, August 2009

A riverside redevelopment programme in the city of Surabaya was threatening the homes and livelihoods of the low-income communities and street vendors who lived and worked there. This describes how the residents shifted the official policy from relocation to redevelopment by organising the riverside communities and by developing their own proposals to show how flooding could be avoided and city development promoted through upgrading.
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GK137i: Reconstructing Life after the Tsunami: The Work of Uplink Banda Aceh in Indonesia
Ade Syukrizal, Wardah Hafidz and Gabriela Sauter, August 2009

The global response to the 2004 tsunami that devastated coastal Asia was both rapid and generous. But it also meant that the province of Banda Aceh was hit by two tsunamis, the second being the surge of unplanned, unregulated and uncoordinated international aid that disregarded existing social structures and community priorities. This profile describes the work of the NGO Uplink Banda Aceh, which began with post-disaster emergency relief but quickly moved into promoting and supporting community organizations in a network of 23 villages, as they tried to rebuild their lives according to their own needs and priorities.
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GK137j: Uplink Porong: Supporting Community-driven Responses to the Mud Volcano Disaster in Sidoarjo, Indonesia
Mujtaba Hamdi, Wardah Hafidz and Gabriela Sauter, August 2009

A small local NGO, Uplink Porong, was established in response to the displacement of tens of thousands of people by the eruption of a mud volcano in May 2006. Neither the government nor the corporation whose drilling was probably responsible for the mud volcano were prepared to address the needs of those who had lost their homes, villages and livelihoods. This NGO is supporting the many affected households and different village organizations to work together in order to build their capacities to develop, implement and lobby for their own solutions.
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GK137k: The How, When and Why of Community Organizational Support: Uplink Yogyakarta in Indonesia
Awali Saeful Thohir, Wardah Hafidz and Gabriela Sauter, August 2009

This describes the work of Uplink Yogyakarta in providing emergency aid and support in the reconstruction process after an earthquake struck the outskirts of the city of Yogyakarta. It supports poor communities’ processes in the long term, rather than imposing its own projects or programmes. Working with a very small budget, it suggests that beyond providing money, an effective role for donors could include linking local organizations together and providing appropriate technical support so that they can learn from and support each other.
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