Information and knowledge have re-emerged as essential resources in the fight against poverty, with new opportunities for their dissemination seen to empower the poor and the agencies that work with them. While optimism is high, little empirical evidence exists as to the actual effect of these changes within localized development contexts. This article contributes to overcoming this lacuna by exploring the role of local non-government organizations (NGOs) in Uttarakhand, North India. It examines how the promotion of information and knowledge as development goods have changed the way NGOs understand poverty and their own roles within the sector. I propose the metaphor of NGOs as 'peddlers of information' to draw attention to the current emphasis on awareness, sensitisation and assemblage of information about the grassroots as the primary-and in many cases only-development work NGOs undertake. This metaphor provides an analytical device through which to assess the roles of NGOs in immanent and intentional development.
|Publication status||Published - 2012|