Women find a friend in smartphones

Rakhi Uikey, from Kesla block in the Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh, goes around her village to teach women how to use a mobile phone and access the Internet. The house she visits belongs to a woman, who must be in her late 40s and earns a livelihood through poultry farming. An illiterate, she giggles shyly when Rakhi tells her that she is there to teach her how to use a mobile phone. They sit next to each other by the door — one woman swiftly using a smartphone, the other peeping into the screen amazed by her companion’s ease at handling the device.

“You see this button? Press this to switch on the phone,” Rakhi instructs patiently. The woman picks up the phone hesitantly, and manages to switch on the phone after several attempts.

“Are you scared? Don’t be,” says Rakhi encouragingly, to which the woman replies, smiling nervously, that she is a little scared to touch the phone, lest she breaks it.

Rakhi is an Internet Saathi. Internet Saathi is a project initiated by Google and Tata Trusts, and implemented by various partner organisations across the state. Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) is the implementation partner for Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Read More

Women use technology as genuine tool
When women hold technology in their hands, they never fail to do wonders. For a woman, digital media is her Swiss knife, one she must have access to. Read More
Rural India does not miss big screens
Mobile movie vans, smartphones and free-to-air channels offer people in villages cheaper and easier access to entertainment. Read More
Exclusion from Digital India
One billion of 1.25 billion Indians are still offline; 72% women don’t even have access to mobile phones. In this chapter from the India Exclusion Report 2017, DEF explores what does it mean to be digitally excluded. Read More
Outliers with Pankaj Misra
In conversation with online news media FactorDaily, DEF Founder-Director Osama Manzar discusses his plans to take the next billion online. Read More

What does it mean to be a Digital Citizen?
DEF, in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), organised the first Digital Citizen Summit (DCS) in Bengaluru, Karnataka, last year with the aim of creating a platform for civil society organisations, academics, private stakeholders, government representatives, and citizens to discuss issues that have cropped up as a result of the enthusiastic shift to digital lifestyles. The Summit met its objective of producing actionable policy-based recommendations about a myriad of issues. This year, DEF and FNF are returning with the second edition of Digital Citizen Summit in New Delhi on September 21-22, 2017. Read More
Thirty-two initiatives to receive mBillionth Awards 2017
The Grand Jury for the 8th mBillionth Awards South Asia was successfully held on June 16, 2017, in New Delhi. This year, we received a total of 294 entries across 10 categories, following which the Virtual Jury shortlisted 84 best nominations to be assessed by the mBillionth Grand Jury. The mBillionth Grand Jury brought together 21 veterans and experts from various sectors across South Asia. Together, they deliberated, debated, voted and selected 32 Winners, Special Mentions and recipients for the Chairman’s Distinction Award. Winners will be announced in New Delhi on August 4, 2017.
Weavers go wireless in Barpali
The handloom weavers cluster of Barpali in Odisha is all set to go wireless. DEF’s Barefoot Wireless Engineers have established infrastructure and Internet connectivity in Barpali to provide seamless wireless Internet to weavers and other community members. This will empower the public institution to connect to the outside world, weavers to access market information, citizens to the government, information seekers to information providers, entitlement seekers to entitlement providers. This connectivity also lays the foundation for Barpali’s exclusive eCommerce portal, which will be set up in the near future.
Every penny saved is a penny earned
DigiPrayas, a joint project of DEF and Axis Bank, has been making great strides in providing financial digital literacy across in the villages of Punjab, Haryana, Maharashatra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Through door-to-door mobilisation and awareness camps, DigiPrayas is helping women, farmers, youth, senior citizens and SHGs to access online banking and digital transactions right from their homes. Digital financial banking is not just a matter of convenience but also saves a lot of money for individuals who will otherwise probably have to forego a day’s wage to travel miles to access the nearest bank.
Healthy lifestyle needs a healthy environment
With the rise in human population, the pressure on environment is increasing more than ever. Both flora and fauna which constitute the environment is in grave danger. Resources are depleting. Both greed and need is the main reason for environmental destruction. In solidarity with the rest of the world, several DEF centres celebrated World Environment Day with great gusto on June 6, 2017. The centres in Juria block of Nagaon district in Assam and Rongram block of West Garo Hills in Meghalaya were exceptionally motivated to sensitise students about the need for a clean and green environment. Read More
Young women see new window for opportunities
Teenage girls of self-help groups in Saidanpur village of Barabanki district, Uttar Pradesh, were engaged in a Food Processing Training Programme, which was organsied in collaboration with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and FICCI Flo Lucknow-Kanpur Chapter. At this training, teenage girls were trained in making mango pickles and jams with the aim to provide them with vocational skills in preservation and pickling, so that they can go on to start their own small-scale enterprises. Through these trainings, FICCI FLO wishes to empower women by enabling them to contribute to their household incomes. Read More
Jharkhand youth are keen to join Skill India
Members of IACM, a partner company of the National Skills Development Corporation, recently visited CIRC Giridh in Jharkhand where members of the community were made aware about the Skill India Mission, a campaign launched in 2015 with the aim to train 400 million people in India in different skills by 2022. The session focused on the need to equip people with vocational skills to increase their employability and reduce unemployment at the national level. The discussion pulled a large crowd of youth who expressed their desire to earn a better livelihood and need to receive affordable training opportunities.
Thirty days of summer
A series of summer camps were organised for children this past month in Halduchaur and neighbouring villages by CIRC Halduchaur in Uttarakhand. The camps focussed on outdoor activities, competitive sports, self-defense training, indoor games and digital literacy classes. CIRCs are not just infrastructure and information hubs but host a variety of activities round the year to engage different groups of the larger communities in targeted activities in the areas of health, education, governance, children, women, livelihood and Internet connectivity, among others.
Uttarakhand’s civil society strengthened with digital tools
A one-day ICT capacity building workshop was organised in Dehradun (Uttarakhand) on June 17, 2017, to introduce NGOs in the region to digital tools that are available for Indian non-profits for operations and management. Thirty representatives from NGOs, SHGs and CBOs participated in the workshop to learn about various digital tools and applications that can assist them in effective outreach. The workshop focused on ICT for easy fundraising and effective collaboration; content creation in regional languages for wider reach; importance of Internet safety for secure operation; and social media for enhanced networking.
Tamil Nadu’s artisans learn about the power of the Internet
The need for efficiently utilising the power of social media for empowerment, especially by weavers and the societies run by them, was highlighted at a workshop held at the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology in Salem, Tamil Nadu, on July 16, 2017. The day-long workshop was organised jointly by the Weavers Service Centre (WSC) of the Union Ministry of Textiles and DEF for the benefit of the handloom weavers, handloom and handicrafts entrepreneurs, master weavers, craftsmen, members of weavers cooperative societies, members of the women self-help groups. As many as 80 people participated in this workshop. Read More
India’s Digital Citizens share their stories
#DigitalCitizen was a week-long social media campaign through which DEF shared stories from urban and semi-urban spaces to showcase lives that have been touched by technology. The campaign represented enormous opportunities to introduce significant and lasting positive changes and how rapid penetration of mobile/computer access in particular has resulted in considerable improvements in the lives of people. #DigitalCitizen threw light on the desires and aspirations of people with technology, and emphasised on how ICT is becoming the largest distribution platform for providing public and private services to millions.
A senior citizen returns to sheltered life
Nath Goud (75) of Kainsir village in Bargarh district (Odisha) had been forced to live under a tree for several years after his family had pushed him out of their house. It was only recently that he saw a home becoming a reality for him. A Soochnapreneur was on a field visit in the village recently when he came across Goud’s plight. He immediately collected all relevant papers from Goud and filed an application under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Following a few meetings with the sarpanch and BDO, and an investigation to look into Goud’s case, the local adminstration sanctioned Rs. 1,40,000 for Goud to build his house.
Social welfare takes centrestage in Tehri Gharwal & Guna camps
The Department of Social Welfare in Tehri Gharwal is constantly working to bridge the gap between marginalised population of the society and the mainstream. Implementation of social security and welfare schemes is being taken up on priority with increased coverage of schemes every year. On June 27, 2017, it organised a multi-purpose camp at Pratap Inter College, New Tehri. The camp witnessed the presence of District Magistrate Sonika, Chief Development Officer Ashish Bhatgai, MLA Vikram Singh Negi, District Welfare Officer Avinash Singh Bhaduria, Block Development Officers Vijay Ghunsola, Anandi and Baby Oswal. Read More
Regional civil society vows to strengthen freedom of expression
On June 21-22, 2017, DEF participated in a two-day consultation on Freedom of Expression and Religion. The consultation, held in Bangkok (Thailand), aimed at bringing civil society organisations and individuals together to highlight issues related enhancing the exercise of expression, opinion and religious freedoms in Asia. With the decline of freedom of expression online and a growing number of countries introducing online censorship, monitoring practices are becoming more aggressive. Curbs on their freedom of expression are constitutionalised and systematized in some Asian countries like Pakistan and Indonesia. Read More
Identifying emerging trends in a connected world
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2017 represents the world's largest annual gathering of the ICT for Development community. The annual forum provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships. This year, DEF team mates Ritu Srivastava and Udita Chaturvedi represented DEF on two panel discussions to speak about Internet rights & Internet shutdowns in the South Asian region and rural ISP-based entrepreneurship model, adopted and promoted by DEF, in India.

Karat Chale Badhat Chale

An Empowered Community

Barpali’s First Digital Weaver

Interplay of technology
Preeti Sinha
Sr President & Global Convenor
YES Institute, YES BANK
The world is today closely connected through faster than ever communication channels and means of travel. The interplay of advanced communication technology, energy systems and automation is driving change in all spheres. Much of this change has been catalysed by the digital revolution which is now penetrating to the masses with the potential to impact the lives of millions at the bottom of the pyramid. Let’s revisit some data points to understand the digital development merics. Read More
All walks of life
Bindi Bottoms is a website designed to decipher the ever-changing Indian woman in real-time, through human mapping. The website features stories of women from different walks of life, of all ages and cultural backgrounds. The stories featured on this website range from those about conflict and life experiences to even aspirations. The platform aims to unravel the changing beliefs, aspirations, attitudes and behaviours of today’s women in India. The stories are featured under the broad categories of aspirations and dreams... Read More
Subscribe to our mailing list
Digital Empowerment Foundation aims to connect unreached and underserved communities of India to bring them out of digital darkness and empower them with information access through last mile connectivity, digital literacy and digital interventions. Established in 2002, with the motto to ‘Inform, Communicate and Empower,’ DEF aims to find sustainable ICT solutions to overcome information poverty in rural locations of India.

House No. 44, 3rd Floor, Kalu Sarai, New Delhi | def@defindia.net | www.defindia.org | +91-11-26532786