With an aim to bridge the great Indian digital gender divide and inculcate entrepreneurial skills in young women, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and Facebook have joined hands to empower and aspire young girls from rural and tribal communities by connecting them with inspiration women from urban setup. The initiative GOAL (Going Online As Leaders) through a mentorship programme, endeavors to provide digital education in the rural and tribal communities where females are deprived of digital education. The programme will help to enable these girls to get exposure and access to a digital course, create awareness about its uses and the latest technology innovations that are going on in the world.
In its pilot stage, 40 girls were engaged within Betul district of Madhya Pradesh, a tribal region. The programme is now in its first phase and has been rolled out in five states—West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Maharashtra—with 50 mentors and 200 mentees.
The mentorship and digital training of the girls is supported by DEF’s pre-established Community Information Resource Centres (CIRCs) located in the vicinity of these tribal areas. Women trainers from these CIRCs, which are well equipped with digital infrastructure and online or offline resources to provide a conducive physical environment for learning, facilitate the digital literacy of the girls through a dedicated digital literacy curriculum; while the urban women leaders mentor the girls remotely through fortnightly audio or video-based calls, WhatsApp-based messages and Facebook or Instagram updates.