The informal economy as a provider of assistive technology: lessons from Indonesia and Sierra Leone

Emma Tebbutt, Julian Walker
Feb. 4, 2022
Sierra Leone, Indonesia
Academic Research Publications


Promoting the use of assistive technology (AT) is crucial for the health and well-being of users, but there is a huge global problem of unmet need for AT. In this context informal (unregulated) providers of AT play a significant role of meeting AT user need, particularly in less-resourced settings. This study draws on research into formal and informal AT provision in low-income urban communities in Indonesia and Sierra Leone to explore the potential of informal providers in addressing unmet need. Specifically, it looks at the different performance of formal and informal providers regarding the availability and the adequacy of AT that they provide. The study concludes by proposing further research into the scope for coproduction of AT between formal and informal providers.