This newsletter is a special issue on trying to bridge the gap between donors' resources and their effective use in targeting the poor, through the use of community development funds. Community development funds function like banks, but can work more flexibly and at different levels. Several case studies are presented from countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and southern Africa, and a number of tips and advantages in setting up a community development fund are outlined. Some of these are that they: " Set new standards of transparency and accountability; " Make multiple, small-scale investments in many community-initiated urban development projects; " Support tangible outputs of value to the urban poor, in different sectors and areas; " Help establish and strengthen long-term partnerships between community organisations, municipal authorities and the private sector, while stimulating new working practices; " Provide poor communities and their organisations with opportunities to learn by doing.
Can PRA methods be used to collect economic data? A non-timber forest product case study from Zimbabwe
This article uses a case study of the Mabalauta Workshop in Zimbabwe to examine whether PRA can produce comparable and/or better quantitative economic data than traditional economic methods and whether PRA methods are more cost effective than the traditional techniques. Both methodologies were found to have their particular strengths and weaknesses, but could be combined to create a 'portfolio' of choices that complement each other.