In this Policy Voice, former British Ambassador to Madagascar Brian Donaldson argues that Britain should increase existing funding for small grants in developing countries, and commit to supporting independent small grants schemes in countries where it does not have a diplomatic mission. Based on his own experience of managing small grant schemes in Madagascar, he identifies four main advantages of this method of channelling money to the poor:
1. Value for money – the simple structure of small grants schemes ensures low administrative costs, and maximum spending on the ground.
2. Reactivity – small grant schemes are nimble. Unlike large aid agencies, they can react rapicly to local needs.
3. Ownership – projects are initiate, and managed by local communities.
4. Momentum – small grants create a positive dynamic in local communities.