In the last two decades, organisations of the urban poor in many countries in the global south have built their collective capacity to lead and improve the quality of their life in cities. Community leaders continue to build capability to adapt and respond to existing challenges like evictions and confront new ones like climate disasters and the covid pandemic. Mapping the adaptive capacities of local communities by the local leaders themselves can be a game changer to rebuild the leadership and organisations from within. In this paper, community leaders map their very own capacities in six SDI country federations in Africa. By focusing on the practice of community saving they show how their individual and collective capacities in one context can be used for the benefit of communities in similar context elsewhere. This practice of ‘mapping local capacities’ motivates local leaders to do what they already do better and makes the case for why there is a need for increased investment for building leadership within informal communities.