Taking policy research information on the poor to the poor: A case study of kibera slums in nairobi, kenya.
Wagacha, Phyllis Wambui
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The purpose of this study was to examine different research findings produced by research institutions with a view to finding out whether the information thus produced is repackaged to get to the poverty groups whose plight is addressed or whether the information is principally circulated among the educated. The materials examined are from the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR), the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi (IDS) and African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). The author researched on two categories of population groups in Kibera Slums. The unemployed poor with the youth accounting for 41. percent of the total, and the second category also urban, where a substantial proportion of the employed, though educated, do not possess up-graded skills to attract any but meagre wages that fail to guarantee livelihoods above the poverty line. The author examined the form or format of repackaged information comprising oral, visual and audio, and how the information gets to the poor. The author examined the method ande languages through which the poor prefer to access information, how the information received is used and whether the information makes a difference in the poor people's lives especially on decision making on matters that concern these categories of the poor. Among the key findings of the study is that the research information on the poor does not I get to them. Yet information provides key approaches and imperatives for pro-poor development. The poor people's source of information is mainly community based information sources from person to person, radio and television. The poor prefer to receive information in a form of 'talk' or presentations, in barazas, radio and television. The information they gather help them to find out how to start small businesses and how to access formal education opportunities, especially education for themselves and their children. Some acquired information on investment and others on how to improve their health and nutrition. The dissemination languages of choice are Swahili, English and ethnic languages. The study recommends that research information should be repackaged in simplified form so as to reach as many poor people as possible and that from a policy making perspective, information should move beyond the knowledge-creating individual or institution through a process of transformation into knowledge applied to considerations of answers to social, political and cultural questions. That use should be made of oral communication through meetings, talks, barazas, radio broadcasts, and presentations in churches and mosques. Repackaging in the form of pamphlets and policy briefs should be exploited and should be done in both English and Swahili languages in urban areas. The study recommends that the government should encourage research institutions to repackage research information so as to reach as many people as possible including the physically challenged who are among the poorest people.