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Digitally Enabled Collective Action in the Areas of Limited Statehood Open Access

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This thesis considers the role of technology in community mobilization in collective action initiatives in an urban slum. We are specifically interested in how new information and communication technology (ICT), specifically mobile phones and the Internet, changes the way groups organize for the purpose of providing public goods in the areas of limited statehood. The focus of the thesis is on waste management activities in Mathare, Kenya's second largest slum. We look at a household survey to determine that Mathare is as information rich environment as the rest of the country in terms of mobile and Internet coverage and use. Further, we identify 33 youth groups that provide public service of waste management in Mathare. These groups constitute an "alternative governance modality" in the absence of the state in the informal settlement. The data collected on these groups' shows that they use available technologies, mainly mobile phones and the Internet, to coordinate activities between members, communicate to their customers and the city council, and to promote their activities online. We conclude that ICTs are being used as an alternative governance modality in the informal settlements.

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