Following the Pol Pot era in Cambodia, the high levels of poverty, rapid urban growth and low level of community organization were exacerbated by an absence of government support for the poor. The Urban Poor Development Fund (UPDF) was established in 1998 to provide support to a growing number of community-based savings groups.

This paper describes the changes in official policy on riverside development in Surabaya, negotiated by the residents of low-income riverside settlements through their organization, Paguyuban Warga Strenkali Surabaya (PWS).

Local organisations have a major role in addressing these realities, helping poor groups access entitlements and engage with government. They may be local NGOs, grassroots organisations of the poor, or even local governments or branches of higher levels of government. But they function on a local level, have intimate knowledge of the local context and should be accountable to local people.