It is fairly well acknowledged that it takes more than the delivery of health services to improve health. Communities, and community based organisations, play important roles in complementing formal health services, and in influencing the broader social determinants of health. But despite this acknowledgement, most health planning and funding still focuses on formal health services. Comic Relief asked me to do a literature review to analyse the different ways in which community and civil society action contribute to better health, and to identify recommendations that would help planners and funders provide more effective support to these movements. Here it is.