From Community-Driven to Locally Led

Case Study of The Uganda Tsupu Program



By Celine d’Cruz* - Urban Practitioner


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There is currently a growing interest in exploring the effectiveness of Community-Driven Development in urban contexts (CDD). CDD is defined as community control over decision making and allocation of resources. Funds are typically given directly to the community group. Perhaps the question should not be “does CDD work in urban areas?”  but rather how can we change institutions to systematically empower communities?” An example from Uganda TSUPU programme showed that by simply working with municipalities to change the way that procurement could be done (i.e. by including community-based contracting), CDD was institutionalized.

This paper aims to answer some of the following questions: what is the intention of participation? Why should communities be involved? What are the constraints? And how to support local governments to have the capacity to engage with communities and finally how to effectively institutionalize participation in urban contexts?

o   Through LG/community partnerships: how to balance the power relationships between the two?

o   Through institutionalization: how to introduce community development in LG institutions and processes?

o   Through building space and flexibility for community action: how to build out space for communities to demonstrate capability and balance knowledge/time/capability constraints?


About the author: Celine d'Cruz started her career working with migrant families living on the streets of Mumbai, through her NGO Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC). In 1996, she was part of a founding team for Slum Dwellers International (SDI). In 2003 Celine was chosen to the Yale World Fellows Program,Yale University. In 2009-2010 she worked with Cities Alliance. Presently, Celine is a visiting researcher at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and works on the locally-led climate change adaptation and resilience agenda.


* The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Cities Alliance, its members, or those of UNOPS. 

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