Alice Pollard, a development worker from the Solomon Islands, says aid donors need to build on the strengths of communities in the Pacific region.
She says economic growth is achieved with a balance between big projects and small programmes at grassroots level.
Alice Pollard says she's seen the benefit to villages in her country of aid for schools and assistance for activities like revolving loans for rural women.
"The positive things that are happening, the things the community are actually involved in and are trying to help improve their situation and they may be very small activities but I think building upon the strength that is already there would be a positive move for donors to recognise."
Alice Pollard says three hundred rural women have accessed and repaid loans to a fund initiated by New Zealand aid.