Jaankaar (Knowledgeable)


Leveraging Everyday Innovations in Governance and Accountability

Jaankaar street outreach

Jaankaar (Knowledgeable) is an interdisciplinary collaborative research project based in Delhi, India, and supported by the Goldsmiths QR-GCRF fund. 

The project engages with a significant challenge faced by people living in low-income neighbourhoods in Delhi, namely, that while rights to social protections exist, many people have difficulty accessing them due to intersecting factors of low literacy, multiple dimensions of poverty, discrimination, corruption and poor service delivery.

These challenges are further complicated by the recent shift to providing access to services via digital interfaces. The project engages with the question: as social protection goes online, how are those who already face multiple forms of exclusion further affected?

The project works in partnership with civil society organisations (CSOs) in east and south Delhi which engage with these challenges through grassroots advocacy and rights education, and with academic partners at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT Delhi).

Crucial to the work of the CSO partners are community mobilisers who both come from, and work within, low income and marginalised communities.

The project highlights the grounded expertise of these key workers by recognising them as Jaankaar Fellows. By developing collaborative research with the Jaankaar Fellows, their organisations and the academic partners, the project builds capacity within and between organisations. It leverages multiple forms of expertise to mobilise and sustain community engagement with processes of legal empowerment, rights claims, and changes in government service delivery.

The challenges that the project engages with are global in scale, and by exploring them in the context of Delhi the project also provides a means through which other contexts, including the UK, can learn from the Global South.

The project has worked collaboratively with teams of community advocates in south and east Delhi. Together we have researched and identified challenges to the work that community advocates do, and to the neighbourhoods that they work within. By taking on the role of "Jaankaar Fellows" the community advocates involved in the project have engaged with training in qualitative research methods and data collection, in using ICTs to help community members negotiate an increasingly digitised government social protection system, and to use mobile technology as tools for research, data collection and team organisation.


Dr Martin Webb

Dr Martin Webb

Martin engages with active citizenship, ethical politics, transparency and accountability and urban governance. For more information, please visit Martin's staff profile

Email: m.webb (@gold.ac.uk)