POSHAN Abhiyaan: Tech for health

POSHAN Abhiyaan is the Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional standards among pregnant women, lactating mothers, infants, children and adolescents. In an effort to amplify the reach of the POSHAN Abhiyaan among rural communities, UNICEF and Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) have come together to organise community dialogues on POSHAN Abhiyaan in the villages of India. The dialogues will be held through awareness sessions across DEF’s 75 physical digital resource centres (such as CIRCs, Soochna Seva Kendra or Smartpur, among others) in 10 states — Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Odisha, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Read More

Rural Indians don’t trust messages on WhatsApp blindly: Survey
Almost 70 per cent of rural respondents rated their trust score for information on WhatsApp 5 or lower. Read More
What Does it Take to Build a Truly ‘Smart’ Village?
Mere availability of digital tools and internet connectivity does not make a village smart Read More
Don’t Break-up with Your Phone But Take a Break
Break out of a toxic relationship with your phone and transform it into a healthier relationship Read More
Don’t Run for the Badges of Dishonour
Once you make the "right" choices, you win the badges of Trolling, Discredit, Conspiracy, Impersonation, eventually certifying you as a 'Fake News Expert'. Read More

DEFdialogue with Vrinda Vaid
On December 1, 2018, DEF hosted its eight DEFdialogue, with independent poetess and writer at We, the People, Vrinda Vaid. We, The People is a digital repository of narratives of Indians with all their faults, aspirations, dreams, and victories. What started as a mere extension of the more popular Humans of Bombay, today amassed a huge resonation among Indians. We, the People travels to diverse locations of India to capture beautiful stories of the common people as they live, breathe and race against time as part of a fast-paced, ever growing population. Watch the video here.
Taking a 360° view of digital literacy
DEF participated in Media Literacy 360° Forum and Fair organised by Digital Communication Network and World Learning in Bratislava, Slovakia, on December 11-12, 2018. The two-day event gathered digital journalists, educators, civil society activists and representatives of international organisations from 22 countries to acknowledge and connect existing media literacy initiatives, share best practices, and empower citizens to play important roles in combating misinformation. DEF presented it's innovative approaches in education, digital literacy, information access and preserving diversity, culture, heritage & language. Read More
Digitally strengthening the civil societies
On December 17-18, 2018, DEF under it's eNGO Programme, in collaboration with Adarsh Convent School Samiti, conducted a two-day interactive workshop titled NGOs for Sustainable Development in Lucknow. The prime objective was to help grassroots organisations learn about some of the latest digital trends. Participants were curious to learn social media for information dissemination, besides about their digital rights. The workshop focused on strengthening NGOs for improved digital documentation, digital promotions, outreach through social media and crowdfunding platforms. The enGO programmes aims at digitally strengthening the civil society in India.
Rehabilitating communities with digital access
HelpAge India’s post-Tsunami rehabilitation initiative in Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu, led to the creation of a self-sustainable and self-managed federation called SOMNI. In the pilot phase, HelpAge India joined hands with DEF to provide digital literacy to 500 members, including elders and youngsters, of the community. For this purpose, a CIRC was set up in the district, and a training of the trainers was organised for 24 HelpAge volunteers to take the digital literacy further into the community. The CIRC provides various digital services, such as Internet browsing, mobile recharge, printing, ticketing and mini banking.
DEF helps Jigsaw gain an India perspective
One of the largest democracies of the world, India is a country of 1.25 billion people. While the GDP of the country is fast growing at 8.2 per cent, 67 per cent of the country’s population still lives in rural areas, and is dependent on public schemes and entitlements for some of their most basic needs. It is this vast population that also makes India a country of great paradoxes. India has one of the largest populations of connected individuals with over 400 million Internet users, but the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) puts Internet penetration in India at about 30 per cent. Read More
Fighting Fake News
In light of the increasing vitality of fake news, misinformation and disinformation, DEF in collaboration with WhatsApp, has been conducting a series of workshops across India. Following a kick-off workshop in October 2018, DEF, last month, conducted workshops for police officials, bank employees and university students in West Midnapore and Bankura, West Bengal. Looking at these groups as high-engagement groups, the workshops focus on differentiating among fact, rumour, opinion and fake news; learning newest techniques to verify information; and leveraging WhatsApp’s features for restricting unwanted communication.
Hope restored
Shalu’s life came to a pause when she lost her husband. Poverty and lack of relevant information only made it harder for her to understand the system to receive her husband’s death certificate and, thus, couldn’t apply for a widow pension. She tried to reach out to the panchayat but in vain. Looking at all the other closed doors, Shalu met SoochnaPreneur Sangita who started from the scratch. She got Shalu to arrange all necessary paperwork, reprimanded the panchayat secretary for ignoring Shalu’s plea, submitted the application for a death certificate, as well as an application for the widow pension; extending support till service delivery.
Cooperating for cooperating practices in the digital domain
The research team is actively engaged as a stakeholder representative to the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation on the methods, models and principles that should shape cooperative practices in the digital domain. It is also engaged in a comparative mapping of telecom regulatory policies of India, Philippines and Indonesia, as well as presenting findings of a study on the psycho-social impacts of network shutdowns in Darjeeling. Oon December 14, 2018, the team was also on a panel on ‘Policy Framework to Facilitate AI’s Success – Restrictive vs. Expansive’ organised by The Dialogue.

Learning conservations from tribals

Nichalagarh’s digital inclusion

Understanding information poverty

History of the future
Ashish Garg
Consultant at NIELIT
Ministry of Electronics & IT
Every year, Digital Empowerment Foundation’s awards bring some extraordinary entries which have used their innovations to empower communities, create an equitable & inclusive society and alleviate human suffering. These awards effectively represent our world today along with its various dichotomies, such as urban and rural, the millennial and people who have remained outside the fringes of development. Read More
AI in focus

Google Launchpad’s India accelerator programme will continue to focus on AI startups, led by their ability to scale up quickly, its India head Paul Ravindranath said. The programme opened applications for its second class last week. Ravindranath also indicated that agriculture and healthcare technology are two strong emerging themes in India which Google Launchpad is likely to back in the future given their scalability and high impact potential. “AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) applicability is sector-agnostic and allow an idea to be implemented on a large scale. For markets like India and Africa, these are main tools to be able to do that,” he said. 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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