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Development from the Ground Up
Since 2001, ADB has financed about 80 projects with CDD features within Asia and the Pacific region. Most have involved support for irrigation, rural infrastructure and rural water supply, and a few have targeted urban slum upgrading and education projects.
In recent years, experience has shown that poor people are usually the best judges of how their lives can be improved and how they can ultimately reduce their levels of poverty.
This idea – known as community-driven development or "CDD" - has spread in the aid world since the mid-1990s, and now operates in more than 100 countries.
"Instead of a small elite deciding how local government money should be spent, under CDD, the process is more democratic, and involves the larger community determining how they would be better off - for example with a new water supply system or a better farm-to-market road," explains Yukiko Ito, a Social Development Specialist with ADB.
"This bottom-up approach also means that local governments work more effectively, providing what the poor say they need and want."
In response to the growth of CDD projects throughout the Asia and Pacific region, a range of specialists have today gathered in ADB headquarters in Manila.
"Some countries like Indonesia are way ahead with CDD while others have just started the process," says Ito. "The aim of our conference is to share lessons about what is happening on the ground, and to create a network for practitioners."
Experts will discuss case studies from four countries, which include projects on upgrading urban slum neighborhoods in Indonesia and villagers in the Philippines learning how to implement their own projects.