Indigenous art & traditional weavers turn showstopper at Lakme Fashion Week

Saree weaving isn’t just a source of livelihood for weavers, it’s their passion — one that has been with them for centuries. To support this passion in the digital era that we’re living in, weavers in various parts of India, have joined hands with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) to get on the digital bandwagon to showcase their design and the artistry of their craft globally. Encouraging digital adoption in the handloom clusters of India, DEF collaborated with three designers last month to showcase a new range of exquisite handloom products under the brand name of DigiKargha at Lakme Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018, for the second consecutive time, to promote the #ArtisansOfDigitalAge on the runway. Here, rather than celebrities walking the ramp, it were the weavers themselves who walked with the designers as showstoppers. Read More

Can technology help revive artisanal textiles?
After a successful display at Lakme’s Sustainable Fashion Day in February, DEF returns for another showcase. Pairing three designers with handloom clusters across the country… Read More
Artisans of Digital Age at LFW
Weavers take lessons on Skype and Google Hangout from Three, Indigenecraft, and Naushad Ali to create a new range of fabrics Read More
Sustainable fashion: Empowering weavers
DEF trains artisans in digital design and sales techniques, in collaboration with top fashion labels - Three, Indigenecraft, and Naushad Ali Read More
Odisha’s Ikat designs light up the ramp
Indigenous Ikat designs of Odisha were displayed on the ramp in a segment called #ArtisansofDigitalAge Read More

Sixty Finalists shortlisted for mBillionth Awards
The Grand Jury for the 9th edition of mBillionth Awards 2018 was successfully held in New Delhi August 31, 2018. This year, the awards platform received 154 nominations across 10 categories. These were filtered down to 130 by the Virtual Jury to by evaluated by the Grand Jury. A panel of 14 Jury members then deliberated, voted and shortlisted 60 nominations as Finalists. Winners and Special Mentions will be announced on stage at the 9th mBillionth Awards in New Delhi on October 03, 2018. mBillionth Awards is a platform that recognises best mobile-based services and applications working towards a digitally-inclusive society across South Asia.
Do you have the digital hunar we’re looking for?
Powered by Facebook, DEF launched the Digital Hunar Award on September 1, 2018 to identify and appreciate micro and nano enterprises that have shown excellence in adopting social media tools, especially Facebook, for better outreach and visibility of their products or services in Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The award will recognise a winner and a runner-up from each state. Winners will receive Rs 50,000 and a tablet each, while runners-up will awarded Rs 25,000 and a smartphone. DEF is now accepting applications until September 30. Interested candidates may fill the form in English, Hindi or Odiya.
eNGO launches NGOnama
eNGO Programme is an initiative of DEF to digitally transform grassroots organisations through capacity building programmes aimed at improved outreach, quality content and sustainability. Over the years, it has built a strong network of over 5,000 NGOs across South Asia. In an effort to facilitate improved visibility about these organisations and their work, the eNGO team is set to launch a monthly newsletter, titled NGOnama, starting September 2018. This newsletter will document efforts of grassroots organisations across India, South Asia and Africa, and provide them with a digital space to share their work, achievements, impact and even fundraising efforts.
Initiating digital empowerment in a Kashmiri village
Tosa Maidan in Budgam district of Jammu & Kashmir has long suffered from low development indices and a pertinent need for quality interventions. Realising this gap, DEF in partnership with School of Rural Development and Environment established a CIRC in Arizal village earlier this year, with digital interventions in mind. In the last couple of months, it has used the physical centre, which is equipped with computers and Internet connectivity, to enroll 50 children and youth and train them in digital literacy training. The CIRC hopes to reach out to a total of 1,000 children and youth over a period of 12 months. The CIRCs primarily offer digital literacy, digital services, information services etc.
Building smart and healthy villages
A health camp was organised on August 20, 2018, at the Smartpur Hub Center in Tain, Haryana, where 20 patients were provided free consultation and medicines. Another health camp was organised around menstrual hygiene on August 09, 2018 in Smartpur Hub Centre in Asoor, Tamil Nadu. This camp was attended by 50 women from five villages. Pre and post-natal care for pregnant women and healthy food habits for children were also discussed. Further, a six-day residential workshop was organised from August 13-18, in New Delhi to orient the team members and familiarise them with DEF’s vision and Smartpur’s mission.
Tribal youth take the digital route to empowerment
Last month, DEF trainers spent two weeks with 30 tribal youth—from Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal—undergoing a Certificate Programme in Rural Livelihood by the Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF). DEF is the digital literacy partner in this course. There was so much both the trainees and the trainers learnt from each other. While the trainers learnt about the adivasi culture, folk songs, tribal rights and the infringement of these rights in the name of development or naxalism, the trainees learnt to use the computer, the various applications, and the Internet to find contextual relevance. Read More
Helping girls go digital through START
In our mission to take digital literacy to the last mile, DEF conducted a two-day START Digital Learning demo training in Kolkata for the teachers of Kashvi Learning Centre, a CSR initiative of KCT Group. The prime objective of the training was to ensure that female school dropouts between the age group of 14 and 24 years can access digital education, irrespective of age, financial capacity or geographic location. The functional digital literacy training will be incorporated into the larger vocational training programme at the Kashvi School, which will enable the girls to get a job and potentially become economically and socially self-reliant.
Wise choices for a promising future
A career guidance programme was organised at the District Central Library (DCL) in Khammam, Telangana, to guide school students from humble backgrounds to make wise and intelligent career choices. The programme was received with a lot of enthusiasm, and over 50 youth participated in the session. Meanwhile, DCL Warangal in the state celebrated the National Sports Day to commemorate hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand’s birthday. A chess championship was organised on the occasion for school children and the library secretary narrated Dhyan Chand’s story to motivate students to play sports and encourage parents to allow children to engage in extra-curricular activities.
Empowered woman, empowered community
Rakhi has never thought of herself any less than the boys she knows. Even though she was reminded time and again that, women must stay indoors and focus on household chores, Rakhi knew she wasn’t meant to be just a homemaker when she was married young. Opportunity came knocking when she came across Internet Saathi and got the chance to learn to use a smartphone. Since then she’s become an agent of change and mobile guru for hundreds of women who have got their first exposure to digital tools and the Internet, courtesy Rakhi. “I am glad that I was able to empoer the women in the community. I wish to serve more people as long as I can”, signed off Rakhi.
Civil society deliberate on Whistleblowers Act
On August 4, 2018, a day-long workshop to discuss issues around the Protection of the Whistleblower and Grievance Redressal Acts was jointly organised by DEF, Bihar-based NGO Jan Jagriti Shakti Sangathan and the National Alliance of People's Movement at the AN Sinha Institute in Patna. The workshop was particularly organised to discuss the issues pertaining to security of whistleblowers in the light of the recent mysterious deaths of three RTI activists. At the event, the fact-finding team shared their experiences and observations with police officials and state government departments; and advocated for a strengthened RTI Act as well as the Whistleblower Act.
SoochnaPreneur provides a shelter of hope
Pappu Seheriya, a labourer from Bhador village in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh, is marred by financial woes and struggles to bring a stable daily income into the household. Adding to this woe was his application under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, which had been rejected multiple times by the authorities concerned. Hassled, he reached out to SoochnaPreneur Sirnaam Singhand. Determined to help, Sirnaam spoke to the sarpanch and the panchayat secretary about Pappu’s case. He then followed it up regularly until the application was approved. Pappu now has the surety of a house at least and he couldn’t be more relieved.
Digital Citizen Summit to discuss 31 key issues
In recent years, there has been a disturbing trend towards mass surveillance by government agencies, the invasion of privacy, and acts to curb free speech online. Keeping this in mind, DEF organised the first Digital Citizen Summit (DCS) in 2016 to address these and more issues around individuals’ digital presence. The key objective of the summit was to generate actionable policy-based recommendations to protect human rights online and proliferate access to the Internet. Taking the initiative forward, the third edition of DCS is going be held in New Delhi on November 1-2. Thirty-one topics around digital citizenship will be discussed here.

Artisans of Digital Age

Power to Connect

A Digital Impact Story: Pinki

Mobile is an enabling agent
Meenakshi Batra
Charities Aid Foundation
Mobile phone is one of the defining technologies of the 21st century. It is emerging as a key driver in India by contributing significantly to our GDP growth. In fact, the potential it possesses in achieving socio-economic growth is unprecedented. The access to mobile services and low-cost smartphones has created a substantial opportunity for people in the country. Apart from reducing barriers in communication, mobile technology can further prove to be an effective means to empower and address developmental challenges. India’s mobile subscription base crossed the 1.2 billion mark… Read More
Limbic thought and artificial intelligence

An artificial intelligence (AI) computer programme can change itself to take actions that maximize its chances of success at performing a task. It uses immense amounts of manually labelled data for its base algorithms before these algorithms can be of any use. In a vital twist that has occurred in machine learning in the last 48 months, these AI programmes themselves generate additional computer programming code to fine-tune their algorithms—without the need for an army of computer programmers. In AI speak, this is now often referred to as “machine learning”. Read More

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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.

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