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Community finance: the news from Africa and Asia

During the last 15 years, savings based community mobilization and organization has grown to maturity. These activities have grown from small initiatives to major programmes reaching thousands of citizens. This report summarises the discussions that took place in November 2007 at a meeting in Thailand which drew together community participants from 20 countries across Africa and Asia: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Nepal, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Thailand, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Kenya. The approach being promoted by the groups attending this meeting in Thailand represents an important alternative to conventional poverty reduction programmes – an alternative which says that the solution to complexity is not to isolate a few simplistic interventions but rather to invest in groups working at a local level who know their local situation and who are clear about their development priorities. The discussions explore the ways in which community organizations are using savings and loans to create new development options.

Keywords: urban-poverty

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ACHR (2008), 'Community finance: the news from Asia and Africa. Report of a workshop held in November 2007.' Poverty Reduction Working Paper 19, IIED, London.