The Cities Alliance has issued a new Call for Proposals for its Catalytic Fund (CATF) focused on the theme “Know Your City: Information for Transformation.” CATF grants support policies that catalyse city transformation and activities to enhance innovation and learning.


[Brussels, 6 May 2014] -- The Cities Alliance has issued a new Call for Proposals for its Catalytic Fund (CATF) focused on the theme “Know Your City: Information for Transformation.” 

Cities of all sizes are growing and transforming; in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia alone, the urban populations are expected to double over the next 20 years. Much of this growth is in the informal sector, where the majority of residents live and work. 

Despite major advances in information technology, accurate data on growing cities is scarce. This is especially true for low income areas, where the shortage of useful information often reflects and reinforces the social and economic marginalisation of the poor. Without the relevant information, it is very difficult for city mayors and managers to make informed policy choices for the whole city, and all citizens. 

This contributes to the exclusion of the urban poor from the formal governance and planning process – and effectively locks them out of the city’s economic growth. It has a particularly detrimental impact on the women residents in some of the world’s poorest neighbourhoods and cities.

“Too many mayors and city managers we talk to do not have accurate information about who is in their city, where they came from, or how they survive. Nor do they have a good understanding of their needs, and their aspirations.  Many cities are effectively driving blind, which greatly impacts on their ability to plan for the future of the city and all of its citizens,” Cities Alliance Director William Cobbett noted.

“I am delighted that, by focusing our 2014 Catalytic Fund on the theme of Know Your City, we can help address this critical gap and show how even relatively small funds can lead to significant innovation.”

The choice of the theme reflects the Cities Alliance’s strong conviction that a better knowledge of cities, and innovative and collaborative ways to generate such information, will help bridge the engagement, information and accountability gaps between city governments and their citizens. It will also help support future good governance and planning processes.  


How to Apply:

One of the partnership’s three main business lines, CATF grants support policies that catalyse city transformation and activities to enhance innovation and learning. Proposed projects must meet these objectives and fall within the scope of the Cities Alliance Charter

Proposed projects must also:

  --  Be implemented in countries on the OECD DAC List of Aid Recipients

  --  Limit grant size requests to US $50,000 – US $200,000.

  --  Be sponsored by at least one Cities Alliance member. Multiple sponsors are strongly encouraged. 


Proposals are requested along any one of five focus areas of the Know Your City theme. In addition, all proposals will need to demonstrate how gender will be mainstreamed through the planned activities. The five focus areas are:

1.  Know your city finances and assets. Proposals to increase citizens’ involvement in municipal finance systems and understanding of the link between revenue and service delivery, economic data, transparency and trust.

2.  Know your citizens. Proposals to develop public engagement mechanisms to enhance city governance accountability, and use data and technology to fill knowledge and accountability gaps between the city and its citizens.

3.  Know ALL of your city and its constituencies. Proposals to produce innovative tools, methodologies and processes that define, map and quantify slums as well as specific slum constituencies with particular needs. 

4.  Know the future potential of your city. Proposals to identify information needed to effectively manage cities, and develop and test interdisciplinary methodologies to capture citywide information, integrate data and generate practical solutions. 

5.  Know the emerging issues. Proposals to innovate data collection, tools and processes on any issue with future pivotal significance for cities. Must feature strong participatory processes and strengthen transparency, accountability and trust among constituencies. 

All proposals must be submitted by 30 June 2014, midnight Central European Time. Applicants must use the Cities Alliance Concept Note template, which is available in English, French and Spanish. Proposals can be submitted via e-mail to the Cities Alliance Secretariat at

For more about the application process, eligibility requirements, and this year’s thematic focus see


About the Cities Alliance

The Cities Alliance is a global partnership for urban poverty reduction and the promotion of the role of cities in sustainable development. Two Cities Alliance members, Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLGA), are leading a global “Know Your City” campaign, which promotes grassroots data collection and partnerships between communities and local governments.

In early 2013, the Cities Alliance Consultative Group selected the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as the trustee and Secretariat of the Cities Alliance.The 2014 Call for Proposals for the CATF is the first issued under the UNOPS platform.


Federico Silva, Cities Alliance Senior Programme Specialist 
Tel: +32 2 234 63 62 



All proposals to the Catalytic Fund must demonstrate how gender will be mainstreamed through the planned activities. 

Proposals must be submitted by midnight, 30 June 2014, Central European Time.


Related Items

More about the Catalytic Fund and how to apply

The 2014 Call for Proposals

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