Exploring an institutional model for Community Knowledge Centres: A research study for the Karnataka Knowledge Commission

IT for Change's research study on 'Exploring an institutional model for Samudaya Jnana Kendras (Community Knowledge Centres)' explores the possibility of setting up state-initiated, community knowledge centres ( Samudaya Jnana Kendras) in various rural locations across the state of Karnataka. This study which was carried out for the Karnataka Knowledge Commission between January-August 2011, was accepted by the Commission in January 2012. The Commission has now recommended to the Karnataka state government to set up Samudaya Jnana Kendras (community knowledge centres) in the state, and has identified the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj as the nodal agency for the project.

The scope of our research study included:

  • Assessing the information needs as well as the knowledge dynamics of village communities at the grass-roots level;

  • Studying the effectiveness of the existing institutional frameworks targeted at the information and knowledge needs of the community;

  • Developing and analysing case studies of similar initiatives by other state governments and voluntary organisations in the country.

For the study, we conducted participatory field research with communities in Mandya and Koppal districts; public consultations with grassroots development workers in Koppal and Mysore districts; as well as case study analyses of large scale state interventions in the area of information, learning and knowledge (especially the agricultural extension programme, adult education initiatives and public libraries) and some telecentre initiatives across the country. The main finding of the research study is that a crucial design element for effective community knowledge centres is to ensure local autonomy in their functioning, with resource support and guidance from a dedicated state agency, along with clear local as well as upward accountability mechanisms..

The study can be downloaded here.

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