SM4E 2018 is just around the corner

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) aims to create a knowledge hub and network of leading organisations and innovators in the development sector across South Asia. With this in mind, DEF organises and hosts four annual awards with the overarching goal of creating a common platform for all kinds of digital interventions aimed at socio-economic development and empowerment of communities. One of these award platforms is the Social Media for Empowerment Awards (SM4E). SM4E is a platform that identifies, recognises and honours initiatives that leverage the power of social media to bring about a change. The platform synergises efforts on social media for mass-scale positive changes; recognises, honours and promotes best social media practices; organises workshops to empower communities to leverage social media for empowerment; and creates a regional network of social media experts to encourage collaboration.

SM4E is now in its 5th year, and the ongoing edition is being co-organised by Facebook India. This year, SM4E received 180 nominations in seven categories from six South Asian countries. However, what makes this particular edition unique is that for the first time an all-women Jury assessed the nominations, following a virtual jury that filtered 85 nominations to be judged by the Grand Jury. On April 13, 2018, a panel of 17 women-only Jury members went through a rigourous process to identify the best among the best. Read More

Let's ban it
“Let’s ban it” is India’s approach to everything that makes us uncomfortable. Read More
Digital tools can help preserve languages
In India, 220 languages have died in past 50 years and 197 are endangered, says Unesco Read More
Introducing infotech in early years of education
We need quality infrastructure to truly allow institutions to leverage information and communication technology (ICT) in education Read More
Ready for a paradigm shift in communication?
We are moving towards a time where a script would no more be the medium of dependency for literacy or governance or even communication Read More

Keep an eye out for the 9th mBillionth Awards
With the rapid increase in penetration of mobile technology across almost all socio-economic strata around the world, the mobile phone has emerged as the most powerful digital tool for empowerment across the world. This is more so in South Asia, Asia Pacific and other parts of the developing world. Recognising this phenomenon, in 2010, DEF launced the mBillionth Awards to recognise excellence in mobile innovations for development. Now, in 2018, mBillionth Awards is all set to come back for its 9th edition. Keep an eye on this space to know more. We will soon announce the nominations open.
Building smarter communities
A collaboration between DEF and Nokia, Smartpur is an initiative that aims to create smart villages in rural India. In these smart villages, the focus is not merely on digital infrastructure but on the resourceful utilisation of digital tools and technology in the daily lives of people. This is achieved through activities across six key areas of work—namely education, health, finance, governance, livelihood and entertainment—across 10 villages each in Tain in Haryana and Asoor in Tamil Nadu. Tain, especially, fairs extremely low even among backward regions of India. It scores poorly in all development indices, and is notorious for high crime rate and low female population. Read More
Empower a woman, empower a community
Ritu Tudu, from Santhali caste in Ranchi district of Jharkhand, can speak four languages— Santhali, English, Hindi and Nagpuri. The daughter of a public sector employee and a homemaker, Ritu recently joined the nearest CIRC to learn new skills. A first-generation computer user, Ritu does not just wants to learn the basics of computers but wants to master typing in Hindi and English, for which she finds team while taking breaks from her preparation for competition exams. An enthusiast youth, Ritu holds a post-graduate degree in HINDI from IGNOU and has proudly funded her own education by tutoring community children.
Digital financial literacy volunteers are not disheartened
Sanjit Ali Khan hails from Kotulpur district in West Bengal. For the last few months, he’s been working as a volunteer with DEF for its DigiSupport project. DigiSupport, an initiative of DEF and Axis Bank, aims at empowering financially excluded communities to digitally access and consume financial products, services and information through rural digital interventions. As a DigiPrerak (volunteer), Sanjit feels his life is better utilised. He goes door to door, creating awareness about banking and other financial services, he trains people to use net banking and operate mobile wallets. However, it’s not an easy job. Read More
Crossing bridges
Rakhi Kumari is an Internet Saathi from Jamui district of Bihar. As a Saathi, she goes from one house to another every day, enabling more and more women to experience technology, particularly the wonders of a smartphone. However, it’s not an easy job for her either. Firstly, she has to fight the social norms that are bound by patriarchy. Secondly, she has to travel to villages that often don’t even have proper roads leading to them. She’s even been to villages that could only be crossed by walking through a shallow river, literally, due to the absence of any bridge. And it's harder for the residents of this village. Read More
Handloom weavers are going places
DigiKargha, an initiative of DEF aims to support its eight clusters under the Digital Cluster Development Programme in an effort to lead them towards socio-economic sustainability. Last month, DigiKargha exhibited a range of products at Nokia Sales Meet in Mumbai on April 9-10, 2018, and again three days later at Facebook office. Meanwhile, Pondicherry-based Indian fashion designer Naushad Ali is busy working with weavers in DEF’s Musiri cluster, and clothing brand Indigene is working with weavers in Nuapatna and Barpali where collaborations will lead to fine products for the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week.
Stakholders discuss measure to improve access to information
Soochna Seva, an initiative of DEF and the European Union, is implemented in five backward districts across five Indian states—Barmer (Rajasthan), Guna (Madhya Pradesh), West Champaran (Bihar), Tehri Garhwal (Uttarakhand) and Ranchi (Jharkhand). Initiated in 2014, the project is now in its fifth year of operations. On April 19-20, 2018, an annual review was organised in New Delhi to discuss ways of improving access to information about public schemes in backward districts of India. At the meeting, DEF presented its self-sustainable rural social entrepreneurship model called SoochnaPreneur. Read More
Twenty-five women join the SoochnaPreneur bandwagon
On April 14, 2018, DEF in collaboration with Qualcomm took its SoochnaPreneur initiative to Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh. The Barabanki leg of the initiative was launched amid much celebrations in Saidanpur village, where 25 newly inducted all-women SoochnaPreneurs had gathered in the presence of DEF Founder-Director Osama Manzar, FLO chairperson of Lucknow Chapter Jyotsana Habibullah, businessman Amar Habibullah, Gram Pradhan Rajesh Kumar Verma and others. On this occasion, the SoochnaPreneurs were handed over a tablet and printer each so that they could kickstart the information service delivery. Read More
Documenting Darjeeling's woes
Continuing its study into internet shutdowns and their impact on people, 2 members of the research and advocacy team have just returned from Darjeeling and Kalimpong. This region experienced the longest internet shutdown in India – over 100 days in 2017—during the region-wide strike due to political unrest. The team has collected narratives from those most affected by the shutdown – students, small business owners, funded NGOs, and the media. The report will be used to shed light on the unlawfulness of such shutdowns and the adverse human impact they have.

START Learning

Financially Included

The Land of Zero Connectivity

Snowballing impact of social media
Malini Gupta
Programme Director
RBS Foundation
Years ago, when micro finance witnessed a boom, I was a mere foot soldier in the larger war for equality. Our battles were many and our victories few and far between. At one frustration-fraught review meeting, one of our sagacious and pragmatic community leaders had brought us firmly to a watershed with her analysis. In her penetrating voice she had said that the project moved slowly because of information and its inherent processes. First, there was no easy way to reach out to a large number of women in rural Bengal. Second, there appeared no way to ensure that everyone received the same information and not variants of it. Third, we were unable to find ways in which information reached women in a form that allowed them to act on it. Read More
Staying Safe

Almost one in 10,000 Indians suffers from haemophilia, a rare genetic bleeding disease once known as the “Royal Disease” as it afflicted some of the prominent European royalties. Yet, there is little public awareness, no cheap treatment, or any comprehensive health intervention programme to prevent or control this ailment, or help people suffering from this disorder. Now, a mobile application, Net4Hemo, is providing haemophilia patients an innovative way to learn about staying safe, being prepared, maintaining their treatment plans, and connecting them to peer groups. The application has been developed by Periwinkle Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a Pune-based company co-founded by Veena Moktali and Koustubh Naik. 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 | | | +91-11-26532786