India Award is a joint initiative that has been introduced through a collaboration between Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship(a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum)

The award is given with the objective of recognizing promising and successful social entrepreneurs, with excellence in large-scale, system change models. The social entrepreneurs are one of the key enablers of inclusive growth who implement practical and sustainable solutions to address challenges in numerous areas including health, education, and environment, access to technology and job creation.

Digital Empowerment Foundation was selected as a finalist for the year 2022 along with Frontier Markets, Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions, Saahas Zero Waste and Youth4Jobs.

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World Summit On The Information Society (WSIS) Champion Prizes

The WSIS Prizes contest was developed in response to requests from the WSIS stakeholders to create an effective mechanism to evaluate projects and activities that leverage the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to advance sustainable development. Since its inception, the contest of WSIS Prizes has attracted more than 300,000 stakeholders.

Digital Empowerment Foundation was nominated for it’s project ‘C-DERP). As an economic hub with substantial global connectivity and movement of people and goods, India is directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. DEF, keeping this in view, has launched an ICT-enabled and community specific relief programme C-DERP project (Covid 19- Digital Emergency Relief Program) through virtual community and service facilitation. The adverse and wholesome impact of COVID-19 is such that, this catastrophic situation has made the low-income groups, daily wagers, poor, vulnerable. Our Digital Foot soldiers is helping them survive in some way or the other.

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This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary personal commitment to either enable their organization to excel in fulfilling its mission and goals or his/her efforts should have positively affected the rural marketing industry in a significant way.

Digital Empowerment Foundation’s Founder-Director, Osama Manzar, won this award in 2016.

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ITU-MCMC Contest to Promote the Transformational Power of Broadband – Connecting at the Roots

In recognition of the importance of broadband and its impact on national socio-economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, ITU and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, MCMC organised “ITU-MCMC contest to promote the transformational power of broadband – “connecting at the roots”. The contest was organized to raise awareness about the importance of broadband and demonstrate how it can be harnessed to transform lives and society, at both the national and international levels.

Digital Empowerment Foundation presented the case of Baran: Residents of Jungle go WiFi. Sahariyas or the residents of the jungle are a tribe that live in the Baran district.

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Digital Empowerment Foundation is the recipient of the 2021 Justice Sunanda Bhandare Award for its crucial role in helping to bridge India’s digital gender gap at a me when the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made online learning and access to digital information is a necessity in a country where only one in four citizens has access to a digital device.

Babita Saini of village Biwan in district Nuh, Haryana is the recipient of the 2021 Jusce Sunanda Bhandare Award for her perseverance of her right to continue her education beyond the 10th standard in a district that is classified as one of India’s most backward-areas with a literacy rate of just 56.1%. Babita Saini is both the first woman graduate in her village and the first woman to be formally employed.

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On January 11, 2021, the World Bank Group and CES announced the winners of the Global Tech Challenge: Solutions for Women, launched at CES 2020. In the list of winners is the ‘Soochnapreneur’ (Information Entrepreneur) model from India, solution driven by the New Delhi based Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF). The other two winners of the Global Tech Challenge are Bridge for Billions and MicroMentor.

The winning solutions are recognized for their innovative efforts in addressing the widening digital divide and internet access gaps for women and generating opportunities for them created by digital technologies, particularly during crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when connectivity is the key.

“ From increasing access to connectivity and information for women in rural areas to mentoring isolated female entrepreneurs, the winners of this challenge are tackling the digital gender divide on multiple fronts. The World Bank Group is pleased to work with the selected innovators so that women and girls worldwide can fully embrace the opportunities offered by digital transformation,” said Boutheina Guermazi, the World Bank’s Director of Digital Development during the announcement.

The SoochnaPreneur solution is recognized for its digital based rural / community entrepreneurship drive that connects India’s rural citizens to information, rights, government entitlements and other necessary digital services. Since its creation, it has trained 25,000 rural women to further empower more than 5 million rural women in India.

The ‘SoochnaPreneur’ initiative was launched by Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2016 with the initial grant support of the Qualcomm under its ‘Wireless Reach’ program. Since then the solution traversing diverse scope, challenges and opportunities have been able to reach out to underserved areas and communities with access to information, public entitlements and digital resources through community led ‘SoochnaPreneurs’ (more at The solution has by now received support from diverse partners and stakeholders towards replication and scale up in creating ‘SoochnaPreneurs’ in every village/Panchayat in India as information and digital change agents.Read more at:
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This compendium was prepared by the Strategy Team of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and edited by Ivan Rossignol and Luke Jordan, with the strong support of Xuran An.

The case studies that are attached to this compendium show a wide variety of examples of innovative finance in all regions of the world. Many of the financing features are replicable beyond their regional or project context. We think that multilateral banks, play a critical role in helping achieve this, by using their capacity to promote financial innovation, and mobilize more resources to the digital infrastructure sector. In this compendium, PM-Wani program was included as a case-study for the “G20 Compendium of Case Studies”. Several organizations in India had been working on community networks for several years before the establishment of PM-WANI. The Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and the Internet Society, two well-established civil society organizations, joined forces in 2010 to create the Wireless for Communities (W4C) initiative. The first community network they established was in Chanderi. At that point, the DEF had already been active in the town, and had established a community ICT center that started generating demand for connectivity as well as serving as a base to install the primary relay station for the community network.

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