Jun 23, 2021 by Coalition

The Community Resource Exchange: spreading our branches and roots


The pandemic has confirmed to us the importance of building and nurturing connections. When development finance institutions, governments, corporations and other elites fail us, we have to come together under the leadership of indigenous peoples, front line communities, social movements and grassroots groups. We have to join forces to resist, to confront power imbalance and structural discrimination, to protect human and environmental rights, and to ensure development can be truly community-led. But how can we maximise our efforts, weave stronger connections and learn from each other?

In 2018, a group of activists and organizations working around development and human rights issues came together and started imagining a new system to facilitate linkages among communities and groups that provide support to community-led struggles. They had a question in mind: what if we could spread our branches and roots, as a global civil society community, to be better connected to each other?

To ensure this system would truly meet the needs of local communities, around 400 people from grassroots groups, indigenous peoples, and civil society organizations working from the local to the global were consulted through online surveys, focus groups, interviews, and consultative webinars. Together, we co-created and shaped what we now call the Community Resource Exchange (CRE).

What is the Community Resource Exchange?

The CRE is a system to facilitate collaborations and co-develop strategies with and among communities defending their rights in the context of international investments and development projects. It works at the direction of communities and their partners, to coordinate:

  • Linkages with potential allies and collaborators
  • Exchange of information and resources
  • Sustained collaborations
  • Cross-learning among communities leading similar struggles
  • Access to small grants through regular calls

In this page you can find useful resources about the CRE and the infographics that explain what is the CRE and how it works.

Check out also the blogs introducing you to:

We are currently recruiting CRE Regional Facilitators for Asia and for Africa, who will all work together to help operationalise the CRE pilot.

Check out here the first call for proposals.

The road ahead

The activists and organisations who were building and designing the CRE have entrusted the Coalition for Human Rights in Development to host and coordinate implementation of a 3-year pilot project of the CRE, with support from True Costs Initiative, Mott Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Putting into action the lessons learned during the consultation phase will be challenging, but incredibly exciting. With the support of community partners, members and allies from around the world, we are striving to make sure the CRE is truly community-led, inclusive, participative, and effective. We will not duplicate existing efforts, but maximise them to build collective power. We want your feedback at each step and to learn from each of you. We will work hard to meet the expectations, while humbly recognizing collective processes can take time if we want to make sure all voices are heard. We have been working with many of you for the past three years to plan this journey. Now we are looking forward to forging these new paths together.

For further information about the CRE, please write to cre@rightsindevelopment.org