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Global Coalitions for Voices of the Poor: Web Guide

Disclaimer: The World Bank Group does not endorse or guarantee the reliability of any information or organization listed or linked to here. This list is by no means complete, please send suggestions for relevant web sites to

Connecting the Local to the Global Level

Three key factors make it possible to consider closing the gap between the local and global levels to support poor people's global voice and representation. The first is the emergence of cross-national networks of poor people's organizations, or globalization from below. The second is the presence of social entrepreneurs, women and men of vision who apply private sector skills and approaches to improve poor people's access to assets. And the third is the rapid spread and falling cost of information and communication technology that make its possible to connect the poor and nonpoor across great distances.

People's Movements and Networks

IndiaSelf-Employed Women's Association (SEWA)The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) organizes, trains, and serves poor self-employed women in India to become empowered and self-sufficient. It uses modern information and communication technology to reach many more communities of women through distance classroom training.
WorldInternational Network of Housebased Workers (HomeNet)HomeNet is an international membership association that has lobbied internationally for policies on street vendors, global trade and investment policies, social protection, and organization of women in the informal economy and their representation in policymaking. HomeNET has members in over 25 countries and publishes a newsletter that reaches organizations in over 130 countries.
WorldInternational Alliance of Street Vendors (StreetNet)StreetNet is an international network of homeworkers' and street vendor's organizations that includes organizations or support groups in 11 countries. It was founded in 1995 and adopted the same year as the "Declaration of Bellagio" on the rights of street vendors.
WorldWomen in Informal Employment, Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)WIEGO is a worldwide coalition of institutions and individuals concerned with improving statistics, research, programs, and policies in support of women in the informal sector of the economy.
WorldGrassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood (GROOTS)GROOTS is an international movement giving voice and power to grassroots women's initiatives for eradication of poverty, through policy change and development partnerships. GROOTS shares resources, information, and experiences to inject a grassroots women’s perspective in national and international policy arenas.

Associations of Slum Dwellers

IndiaSociety for the Promotion of Area Resources Centers (SPARC)SPARC is an Indian NGO that creates new and innovative partnerships with poor communities and professionals who want to work with them on issues of social justice and equity. It is inspired many poor people to demand shelter, credit, and other services.
AsiaAsian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR)ACHR is a regional coalition of professionals and activists promoting horizontal exchange and learning opportunities for national federations of poor communities on housing and livelihood issues. Formed in 1988, ACHA is now the main regional network that United Nations agencies contact on human settlement and urban issues.
WorldSlumdwellers' International (SDI)SDI is a people's process for strengthening grassroots savings and credit schemes as a critical tool for the urban poor in their struggle against poverty and socioeconomic injustice. Called Shackdwellers' International in Africa and Slumdwellers' International in Asia, this is a people's network for local-level collective organizing, problem solving, and solution sharing that empowers the urban poor.
Asia, Africa and Latin AmericaHomeless InternationalHomeless International is an international NGO coalition that supports community-led housing and infrastructure development in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Peasant Federations and Networks

Central AmericaAssociation of Central American Peasant Organizations (ASOCODE)ASOCODE is a regional network of peasants, indigenous people, and organizations in Central America advocating for the rights of small farmers and peasants, both nationally and globally.
EcuadorFederación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indígenas y Negras (FENOCIN)FENOCIN is a network of more than 1,200 grassroots indigenous organizations in Ecuador working together to fight poverty and get poor people's voices heard in global policy dialogues.
Oaxaca, MexicoOaxacan State Coffee Producers Network (CEPCO)CEPCO includes 45 regional organizations throughout the state of Oaxaca, Mexico that practice fair trade with coffee producers by buying directly from farmers who are CEPCO members.
WorldVia CampesinaVia Campesina is an international peasant movement based in Honduras and coordinates more than 50 peasant organizations from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. It seeks to build solidarity among small farmers organizations so that they can collectively fight for social and economic justice and improve their livelihoods.

Social Entrepreneurship

WorldAshokaAshoka is a global nonprofit social venture capital organization that identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs who apply creativity and determination to solving social problems on a large scale. Ashoka searches for new ideas championed by capable, innovative social entrepreneurs, whom it selects as Ashoka Fellows to receive stipends to enable them to work on their ideas.
WorldSocial Entrepreneurs Alliance for Change (SeaChange)SeaChange is an on-line learning community and marketplace that provides members access to colleagues, collaboration, and capital.
WorldSocial Venture NetworkSocial Virtual Network is a community of leading business and social entrepreneurs engaged in building a socially just and environmentally sustainable economy through their enterprises., an initiative of Ashoka - Innovators for the Public, provides resources, inspiring ideas and opportunities for social entrepreneurs and those interested in learning more about innovative social change.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) 

NigeriaYouth for Technology FoundationYouth for Technology Foundation (YTF) is an international non-profit organization that seeks to bridge the digital canyon among underserved rural Nigerian youth by providing them with the resources that they need to achieve their potential.
BangladeshGrameen PhoneGrameen Phone provides commercial phone service in rural areas through local entrepreneurs, usually poor women, who own and operate cellular phones that typically serve an entire village. Begun on a small scale, it is likely to become the largest wireless pay phone project in the world.
Karnataka, IndiaBhoomiThe Department of Revenue in Karnataka has computerized 20 million records of land ownership of 6.7 million farmers in the state. Previously, farmers had to seek out the Village Accountant to get a copy of the Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) -- a document needed for many tasks such as obtaining bank loans. There were delays and harassment. Bribes had to be paid. Today, for a fee of Rs.15, a printed copy of the RTC can be obtained online at computerized land record kiosks (Bhoomi centers).
Madhya Pradesh, IndiaGyandootGyandoot is a community-based, state-of-the-art information technology center project located in the Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh in central India. By making information and government services available to the public, it is forging new and productive relationships among half a million tribal people, traders, and government.
WorldLearn LinkLearn Link is a project of the U.S. Agency for International Development conducted by the Academy for Educational Development. LearnLink uses information, education, and communication technologies to strengthen learning systems for sustainable development and applies these technologies to link individuals, groups, and organizations and improve their capacity to meet learning needs, especially in basic education.
BrazilCommittee for Democracy in Information Technology (CDI)CDI is a Brazilian NGO providing slum children and residents access to computer skills and technology through community-managed Computer Science and Citizenship Schools. CDI operates in 14 Brazilian states, has trained 32,000 young people and is expanding globally.
WorldOneWorld and  Hivos: Strategic Partnership to Harness the Internet for Sustainable DevelopmentThis partnership between OneWorld and the Dutch aid agency Hivos will help organizations in developing countries use the Internet for sustainable development and human rights. brings information, products, and services via the Internet to the underserved rural market in the district of Bundelkhand region of Central India.
South AfricaWomen's NetStarted by SANGONet and the Commission on Gender Equality in South Africa, Women'sNet provides gender-sensitive training and support, and links projects, people, tools, and resources through the Internet. Its Web site contains a wealth of information about health, human rights, new communications technologies, and violence against women.
WorldDigital PartnersDigital Partners is a non-profit, virtual research institute which engages IT entrepreneurs in the service of the poor.
WorldUnited Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS)UNITeS is a global initiative that allows volunteers from any country to work directly with people and institutions in developing countries to build their capacity on the applications of information and communications technologies (ICT) to human development.
IndiaIndiaCaresIndiaCares is a non-profit platform aiming to harness the power of the Internet to involve global citizens, especially Indians, in the crucial and significant social work of the Indian voluntary sector.
WorldWorld Computer ExchangeThe World Computer Exchange provides disadvantaged youth with access to computers and the Internet. The World Computer Exchange collects working computers which are too often discarded and place them with educational organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
WorldTechnology Empowerment NetworkThe Technology Empowerment Network (TEN) is a global network of organizations and individuals whose purpose is to identify, support and empower projects that contribute to improving the state of the world. TEN has a special interest in projects, for whom information technology plays a central role in achieving their objectives. TEN is an initiative of the Technology Pioneers, a community of the World Economic Forum.
WorldWorld e-InclusionThe mission of World e-Inclusion, an initiative by the Hewlett-Packard company, is to help bridge the Digital Divide and bring the benefits of technology to the two-thirds of the world’s population whose lives have been untouched by the information revolution.
WorldGeekcorpsGeekcorps is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the Internet revolution internationally by pairing skilled volunteers from the high-tech world with small businesses in emerging nations.
WorldSchools OnlineSchools Online is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help ensure that schools have effective access to the communication and information resources of the Internet. Schools Online is building sustainable programs to effectively connect as many schools to the Internet as possible. It provides computer equipment and Internet access to schools and facilitates teacher professional development and support.
WorldGreenstarGreenstar has developed a solar-powered community center that delivers electricity, pure water, health and education information and a wireless connection to villages in the developing world. To support this program, it records traditional art, music, photography, legends and storytelling in small villages, and brings these products to global markets through the Internet. Revenues are returned to the village to support their ongoing, independent development.
PeruQuipunetMany schools in Peru are in desperate need of the basic school implements, especially in the rural areas. The possibility of having a computer connected to Internet is just a dream. Quipunet is making this dream come true for many schools and training centers in Peru.
WorldCisco Learning GrantsGrants from the Cisco Learning Institute, aiming at enhancing the way people teach and learn by integrating and advancing educational technology.
Asia/PacificElectronic Networking for Rural Asia/Pacific Projects (ENRAP)ENRAP is an IFAD-funded initiative to support internet use and knowledge sharing amongst rural development projects in the Asia/Pacific region. Effective use of Internet information resources and communication facilities is expected to contribute to the empowerment of rural communities and help address their development objectives.
IndiaTeNeT (The Telecommunication and Computer Networks Group)TeNet is a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, leaders in developing low-cost and locally appropriate solutions for connectivity.
Sri LankaKothmale FM Community Radio-Internet ProjectThe Kothmale Community Radio Internet Project has been established as a pilot project to assess the prospects for converging community radio and the internet to serve rural information needs and to assess its possible impact in rural communities.
IndiaInter-city marketing for women entrepreneursThis Info-Dev sponsored project will establish a closed group communication network for community based women organizations to promote inter-city direct sales of products made by artisans and skilled workers. This will be accomplished by providing community based organizations (CBOs) with communications links by way of cellular phones to enable them to network for marketing their products.
Latin America and the CaribbeanSomos@TelecentrosSomos@Telecentros is a network of access centers to the new information and communication technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean. This site is open to all individuals and institutions who are involved in developing community Internet access centers (Telecentros/Telecenters). These centers are spaces where communities can access and learn to use new information and communication technologies (ICTs), and find alternative practices to develope and strength local communities. The Somos@telecentros Virtual Community is part of the TELELAC (Latin American and Caribbean (Telecentro/Telecenter) Network) Project coordinated by the Chasquinet Foundation (Quito, Ecuador) and supported by the International Development Research Centre (IRDC, Canada).

Connecting the Global to the Local Level

Three types of global networks have emerged in the last decade that either facilitate or have the potential for linking global leadership and grassroots leadership, and help transmit global knowledge and resources to the local level: transnational people's movements; global policy networks; and global web portals that connect local buyers with the global marketplace.

Transnational People's Movements

WorldInternational Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)ICBL is a global coalition of more than 1,000 interested organizations working to ban landmines. The coalition is an innovator is using the Internet to organize and network to pursue the campaign, lobby national governments, and ratify the Land Mine Treaty.
WorldJubilee 2000Jubilee 2000 is an international movement calling for cancellation of the unpayable debt of the world's poorest countries by the year 2000 under a fair and transparent process. Campaign members in over 65 countries advocated a debt-free start to the new millennium for a billion people.
WorldTransparency InternationalTransparency International is a civil society organization dedicated to curbing international and national corruption. Working to ensure that the agendas of international organizations give high priority to curbing corruption, Transparency International promotes new intergovernmental agreements to fight corruption, posting daily corruption news from around the world.

Global Policy Networks

WorldCities AllianceCities Alliance was launched in 1999 by the World Bank and Habitat International and is creating a coalition of community-based organizations involved in slum upgrading in partnership with existing networks of local authorities, private sector agencies, and national and international development organizations to provide affordable community-based solutions to urban poverty.
WorldWorld Commission on DamsThe World Commission on Dams facilitates debate on the complex issue of the development effectiveness of dams. The 70 members of the consultative body, the WCD Forum, include stakeholders and interest groups representing diverse perspectives. The commission invites submissions on various aspects of dams and their alternatives through its Web site and regular newsletters to maintain a dialogue between its work and the respective constituencies of the forum members.
WorldThe Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)CGIAR contributes to food security and poverty eradication in developing countries through research, partnership, capacity building, and policy support. The CGIAR promotes sustainable agricultural development based on the environmentally sound management of natural resources.

E-commerce to support Grassroots Entrepreneurs

Middle East and North AfricaThe Virtual SoukThe Virtual Souk is an internet commerce site that cuts out the middleman and sells crafts and products made by artisans of the Middle East and North Africa who do not otherwise have access to the international market.
WorldPEOPLinkPEOPLink is a nonprofit organization that helps producers in remote communities all over the world market their products on the Internet. PEOPLink operates through a global network of nonprofit Trading Partners.
AfricaAfrican Crafts Online (ACO)ACO helps African artisans connect with each other, showcase their products through the Internet and use the Net as a resource to chronicle and preserve their culture.
PeruTortas PerúAn e-business based in Lima, Tortas Perú sells homemade cakes to expatriate Peruvians who order the cakes on line and send them as surprises to their family and friends back in Peru.
WorldAid to ArtisansAid to Artisans is a nonprofit organization that creates economic opportunities for craftspeople in communities around the world. ATA provides design consultation, on-site workshops, business training, and the vital link to markets where the craft products are sold. - helping artisan groups to become self-sustaining in the local and global marketplace. is an online catalog and global bazaar that offers authentic handcrafted items created by artisans from around world. The forthcoming eZiba Foundation will be dedicated to improving living conditions in the artisans' communities around the world.
ThailandSombat BoongamanogBoongamanong works primarily with rural mountain youth.  A website was created to serve as a place for information exchange as well as "social fundraising" for the Mountain Children's Fund.  The group receives approximately 30,000 baht ($700) per month via the website. Most recently, they have developed an e-commerce service to promote hill tribe products.
WorldNovicaNovica wants to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. This is achieved by creating a bridge between customers and the many talented artisans across the globe.
AfricaeShopAfrica.comBy offering the work of African artisans for sale on the Internet aims to put money and prestige back into the traditional African craft sector.
Africaa-piece-of-africaa-piece-of-africa is a job-creation project which buys art at retail prices from the sellers on the streets of Africa, and makes their products available to a worldwide client-base. Because of poverty, prejudice and lack of exposure to proper avenues for the display and merchandising of their work, African artists are often relegated to situations which perpetuate their poverty.
CambodiaVillage LeapRobib is a group of six small villages in a remote, practically inaccessible area of Cambodia. Village Leap aims to help the people of Robib prosper through cyber commerce.
PhilippinesGlobal EchoThe goal of Global Echo is to teach people of developing countries how to use the internet to become self-sufficient and eliminate the middleman in reaching the marketplace.  The website sells intricately hand-stitched, all-white quilts produced in a poor barrio in the southern Philippines.

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