Frequently Asked Questions

What is Community Aid Alliance?

Community Aid Alliance is a non-profit development support network formed by a group of NGO representatives and community development practitioners who work together to provide direct support to the poorest communities of India. In other words, Community Aid Alliance builds sustainable communities.

What does Community Aid Alliance mean by a sustainable community ?

A sustainable community is a community with the skills, knowledge and organisational structure that enables the community to manage and sustain the available resources to meet and protect their basic human rights.

What is Community Aid Alliances approach to development ?

Community Aid Alliances approach is bottom up that is working alongside community based organisations to make them self reliant rather than a hierarchical top down approach where programs are designed externally and then imposed on the community.

Community Aid Alliance is greatly influenced by the understanding and practice of an Australian development movement, Community Aid Abroad, an organisation that adopted a bottom up approach in community development in India between 1960 and 2005. Community Aid Abroad became Oxfam Australia in 2005 with which Community Aid Alliance has no direct links.

Why does Community Aid Alliance have connections with Australia?

Community Aid Alliance has come about as an outcome of a decentralisation and local autonomy process initiated by Community Aid Abroad for its India programs. The founders of Community Aid Alliance have taken more than 1000 Australians including Aboriginal Groups on study tours to India, the majority of whom are now friends of Community Aid Alliance. In addition, Australia has a sizable indigenous population and there are many learnings that can be shared between India and Australia.

How does Community Aid Alliance make sure that donations go to the right people?

Community Aid Alliance has Advisory and Project Committees comprising members of community based organisations and key NGO field workers who live and work amongst the communities. There is a strict allocation process for funds managed by the Project Committee.

How is Community Aid Alliance funded?

The founders of Community Aid Alliance have pooled their own resources and give their time on a voluntary basis to maintain the work Community Aid Alliance. By design it is structured to function with few overhead costs.

What is a community based organisation?

A community based organisation is an organisation comprising individuals from the communities who are working towards their own development. Examples of community based organisations are self help groups, youth associations, farmer forums and cooperatives.

How does Community Aid Alliance work with community based organisations?

Community Aid Alliance works directly with community based organisations to give them a basic understanding of human rights and how to attain them, local political structure and government assistance schemes. This knowledge empowers the community and they are able to organise themselves better, make themselves more self-reliant and make more informed decisions, for example employing sustainable farming techniques.

What is community development?

Community development is a grassroots process by which communities acquire the necessary skills and organisation to expand the capacity of their resources to benefit all its members.

What is the outcome / benefit of community development?

The outcome of community development is the organisation of community where members have achieved a basic understanding of human rights and how to attain them, local political structure and government assistance schemes. This leads to empowerment of the community which enables new decision making (for example sustainable use of natural resources) and increased self-reliance.

How much of the donations go directly to the poorest people?

With some NGOs, it is difficult to identify where the money goes. Community Aid Alliance recognises this and has developed a transparent process of raising funds and distributing them to communities most in need by linking the donors directly to the target community. These links include two-way communication between the community and the donor from writing to face to face meetings.

A minimum of 90% of the money raised by Community Aid Alliance goes directly to the communities. Between 1% and 10% of the money will go towards administration and facilitation of the projects, including office staff at resource centres, on-the-ground transport, back up support and mentoring of the field workers.

How do you monitor the funds and ensure they are being utilised appropriately?

Community Aid Alliance follows a cluster approach whereby a group of community based organisations in a particular geographical area is linked to a resource centre for capacity building and mentoring, review and evaluation. These resource centres are autonomous associates of Community Aid Alliance. In addition there will be peer group evaluations with project visits and reviews to ensure transparency and efficient use of the funding allocations.

India is rich, why cant it support its poor?

It is true, some Indians are very wealthy but India also has 33% (World Bank 2008) of the worlds poorest people approximately 410 million people who live below the poverty line (surviving on less than US$1.25 a day) and the gap between rich and poor is widening.

One of the main challenges of the poor is climate change because they are most dependent on natural resources for survival and live in the most extreme areas. This is in fact a global issue and should be addressed on a global platform. As a comparison, Australia has approximately two million people living below the Australian Poverty line of $249 per week (Australia Fair: International Comparisons 2007).

Community Aid Alliance is using its experience of fundraising by the community groups and individuals within Australia and utilise the experience to raise funds from the Indian middle class through development education.

The advantage of linking Australia with poor communities in India is that money raised in Australia goes further for example AUS $100 can make a community member self-reliant through a micro enterprise venture. In a globalized world (Global Village) poverty need not be seen confined to national boundaries.

Is community Aid Alliance a Legal entity?

Community Aid Alliance is not a legal entity; it is a network initiative. The NGOs linked to CAA are registered charities in India. CAA facilitated donations go directly to registered and government acredited entities.