Participants within savings networks and informal settlements learn best from each other. When one savings group or community has initiated a successful income-generating project, re- planned a settlement or built a community facility, the SA SDI Alliance enables groups to come together and learn from each other’s achievements. The community exchange process builds upon the logic of ‘learning by doing’ and helps to develop a collective vision.
Additionally, horizontal exchanges create a platform for learning that builds alternative community- based politics and “expertise,” challenging the notion that development solutions must come from professionals. In this way, communities begin to view themselves as holding the answers to their own problems rather than looking externally for professional help.
The pool of knowledge generated through exchange programs becomes a collective asset. When informal settlement residents meet with external actors to debate development policies, they can draw from national and international examples, which influence government and other actors to listen.