Knowledge and Participation: Empowering Indian Urban Poor for Accessing Public Services


  • Kaustuv Kanti Bandyopadhyay Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)
  • Sukrit Nagpal Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)


Participatory Research, Urban Poor, Participatory Settlement Enumeration, Local Development


The paper focusses on three aspects of our work with the urban poor: utilization of participatory research methodologies to elicit local knowledge in forms that do not require traditional education; building capacities to create active organized citizenry through catalysing Settlement Improvement Committees, which are representative bodies (involving youth, women and men) of the urban poor aimed at advocating interests of the community, and planning for collective positive action; and enabling communities and their organizations to utilize technology-enabled mobile surveys to collect their own data, leading to the demystification of technology and allowing for utilization of data for planning (for individual and community-level action), monitoring the implementation of these plans, as well as seeking access to services from state actors. This paper was presented in an International Research Symposium on “Other ways of knowing and doing”, organized by the O.P Jindal Global University. The symposium was an opportunity to discuss the utilization of technology combined with participatory methods for the production of knowledge, and catalyzing social change actions by the urban poor in selected Indian cities.

Author Biographies

Kaustuv Kanti Bandyopadhyay, Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)


Sukrit Nagpal, Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)

Senior Programme Officer