In making the most effective use of limited assets, access to knowledge and information by the poor can be crucial. There has been growing concern that urban research and development efforts have failed to achieve their full potential because they have overlooked the need to work with and strengthen the knowledge and information systems (KIS) of the urban poor. As a result, the experience developed has often not been widely disseminated and taken up by the poor.
Most studies have considered this issue from the supply side, focusing on the dissemination of information. This research project instead considered primarily the demand side, focusing on the information needs of the urban poor, and the sources they use in accessing that information. Fieldwork was carried out in low-income settlements in the capital city and at least one secondary town in three countries in the developing world: Peru, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe; this was complemented by case studies elsewhere, a review of the literature and an electronic conference. This paper summarises the findings of that research, and suggests six ways in which development agencies could improve the methods they use to share their knowledge and information with the urban poor.
Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG), Bourton-on-Dunsmore, UK, 6 pp.