Telangana libraries go digital for girls

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019, Technology Empowering Girls (TeG) was launched in three districts of Telangana in an effort to end the gender technology gap and empower women and adolescent girls to create innovative solutions to advance equality of their lives and in turn their communities. TeG is an initiative of NASSCOM Foundation and supported by the Information Technology Department of the Government of Telengana. Implemented by Digital Empowerment Foundation, TeG is hosted by the Directorate of Public Libraries of the Department of School Education under the Government of Telengana. Read More

Information-packed mobile phone will be the end of patriarchy one day
While some women are overcoming social barriers with the help of the internet, others are finding economic opportunities and a platform for their views. Read More
Digital literacy script-agnostic media can empower the illiterate
In such a scenario where the entire world is online, where the oral community and the “literate” community have equal opportunities, will traditional literacy and script still matter? Read More
Digital literacy must go hand in hand with online security
As more people adopt digital tools and get online to harness opportunities the Internet has to offer, they become vulnerable to the vices of the Internet. Read More
How WhatsApp is battling fake news and misinformation in India
WhatsApp has become a vehicle for mayhem and fake news in India, its biggest market. Read More

Promoting gender-responsive digital ecosystems
Looking at lack of enough women in the trade sector, the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD) organsied a four-day train the trainer workshop on gender-responsive trade and development policies. This workshop was organised in Bangkok, Thailand, and attended by around 20 policy makers from South East Asian countries. DEF led a session at this workshop to showcase a women-friendly digital ecosystem at the village level to promote local art and craft to improve livelihood of artisans by enabling direct access to the end customers through channels of social media and eCommerce.
Glimpses of digital change in Bhutan
Internet was introduced in Bhutan in 1999 by the progressive fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. From 1999 to 2008 was a period when there was only one operator, Bhutan Telecom. Internet rates and mobiles were expensive and only rich people could afford it. Today, the usage of social media has rapidly grown in the country with people using Facebook, WeChat, WhatsApp,Twitter and Instagram. On March 11-15, 2019, a Social Media for Empowerment (SM4E) workshop was conducted in Paro by DEF to apprise participants about importance of social media as a powerful tool for change. Read More
Recognising technology for empowerment
Initiated by DEF, eNGO Challenge Awards recognises and promotes organisations and initiatives working at the grassroots using ICT for development and empowerment across South Asia. Divided in eight categories, it aims at recognising and awarding organisations that have done exceptional work with communities using new age tools. The awards also creates an ecosystem of stakeholders including government, industry, academia and civil society to generate wider networking, engagement, partnership and collaboration opportunities. The deadline for submitting nomination is extended to April 25. You can nominate your best projects here.
Digitally enabling senior citizens
Last month, DEF with support of HelpAge India under project Astitva launched a digital literacy class for senior citizens at the CIRC in Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu. 20 people participated in the two-day capacity building workshop that was conducted as part of the project. Workshop’s motive was to make the elderly aware of livelihood opportunities that will help them generate revenue in order to live old-age with dignity. The workshop was of great help as the attendees learnt about their rights and entitlements, government schemes, services and the means to apply for the same.
For the web
With the belief ‘Inform, Communicate and Empower,’ DEF finds sustainable digital interventions to overcome information poverty in rural and remote locations of India, empower communities with digital literacy, digital tools and last mile connectivity to access the World Wide Web and the opportunities it has to offer. On March 12, DEF celebrated 30 years of the World Wide Web and the man behind it- Tim Berners-Lee-for changing the information ecosystem around the world. On this occasion, DEF ran a day-long social media campaign to share stories from the ground of people and their experiences with the World Wide Web.
Creating smarter villages
In Smartpur Kanchipuram, a meeting was initiated with the Tamil Nadu Animal Husbandry Department to understand the condition of livestock in villages. On March 30, a one-day training on livestock rearing was organised in Chamarajanagar, Karnataka to help diagnose the prevalent diseases as well. In Rajasthan’s Ardooka, DEF’s on-going campaign #NoMissingVoters was also conducted in full swing. On March 29, an Aadhaar formation and correction camp was conducted in Bharatpur. On March 30, the Smartpur hub centre was inaugurated in Chirala Mandal in Andhra Pradesh and subsequently a health camp was organised where 157 people got free heath check-ups. Read More
An aspiring change-maker
18-year-old Ashwini Dandore lives with her mother, father and two siblings in a small, kachcha house in Madhya Pradesh’s Khadla village. Eldest daughter of a farmer and chilli seller, Aswhini wants to be a role model for her siblings so that they too can dream big and work towards achieving their goals. As for her, she aspires to be a doctor and help her community. “People in this village are poor and often when sick, cannot afford to go to a good doctor. I intend to change that and serve my community,” she says. Read More
Raking out malnutrition
POSHAN Abhiyaan is the union government's flagship programme to improve nutritional standards among pregnant women, lactating mothers, infants, children and adolescents. In an effort to amplify the scheme’s reach in rural India through digitisation, UNICEF and DEF have collaborated to organise community dialogues in 10 states. In the ongoing implementation phase, POSHAN Preraks are on the verge of completing the community dialogues. At this juncture, MeraApp has played a key contribution to the project as The POSHAN Preraks use it to assess the impact of their sessions in 187 villages across India. Read More
Building a force of digital trailblazers
An initiative by Google and Tata Trusts, implemented by DEF in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, Internet Saathi aims to train rural women in digital literacy. In its third phase, the programme has been extended across 9,500 villages with the help of 2,400 Saathis across thirteen districts from Bihar (seven) and MP (six) and will last for the next six months. Saathis, equipped with two smartphones; manual and an umbrella (to help them deal with the scorching heat), has a target of four villages with a door-to-door approach to impart basic mobile literacy to women and girls thereby empowering them. ”
District library helping youngsters fulfill dreams
Abhilash from Rangampet, Warangal is a Mechanical Engineer but has always dreamt of a stable government job and has worked relentlessly to make it true. He however had to face resource crunches while preparing. There was district library but at a time when you can get any information online, he was confused at the utility of one. But newly revamped library under Indian Public Library Movement (IPLM) helped him with capacity building classes, career counselling etc. He now has a government job. “I cannot thank the library and its staff enough for supporting me,” he says.
Enabling women independence through digital literacy
Sunita Chopda, in her 50s, is a housewife from Pune and enrolled into DEF’s digital literacy class. Being an educated person, it wasn’t much difficult for her to learn nuances of Internet. What started with curiosity to learn to book travel tickets online, especially on redBus, has brought her long way. She also started accessing videos on YouTube to hone her baking skills. Not just she grasped finesse, even started her own channel. Now she has her own bakery and gone are the days when she was dependant on her son for day-to-day needs.
Digitally enabling the weavers
India’s craft tradition is an integral part of our cultural identity and a crucial means of sustenance for a huge population. According to official figure, there are over 70 lakh artisans engaged in craft production while the unofficial figure is much higher (20 crore). Although DEF is digitally enabling the weavers community but there’s still a large population who has minimal idea about government welfare schemes and how to apply for one and other issues which they face on a daily basis. On March 26, 2019, MeraApp team conducted a training programme to help weavers identify and solve this problem.
Empowering women with information
Women living in remote Indian villages often live a life marred with hardships. Left alone after spouses, other family members move to cities in search of better work opportunities, they have to take care of their children all by themselves like Uttarakhand’s Guddi Devi. Despite government schemes for rural employment, the villagers who rarely know about their rights and government schemes are refused jobs, especially women. But now things have changed for them with the help of Soochna Seva team that is helping them get jobs under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Read More
Information is the highway to entitlement
Chunni Devi lives with her husband in Alwar’s Belaka village. The only financial support she received was the pension but to withdraw the amount she had to travel afar. Her frail body and weak eyesight made it difficult for her to commute, leaving her helpless. Half of the pension amount used to be spent just on travel alone. During this time, she came across SoochnaPreneur Gurudev and conveyed her problems. Gurudev, without delay, managed to link her pension and bank account. He also enrolled her under Ujjwala Yojna and within few days, she received her LPG connection.
Cooperative practices in digital space
DEF’s research team recently responded to drafted E-Commerce policy that aims to have an economic transformation propelled by expansion of the digital economy fuelled by data. It envisions an overhaul of the entire digital economic ecosystem to develop a regulatory regime. Any policy adopted towards economic growth driven by digital transformation should be cognisant of attendant issues and challenges that potentially impact the distributive justice and socio-economic, political and fundamental rights relating to the distribution of gains and dividends reaped from such transformations. Read More

Stories of Change

Power to Connect

Effects of Digitisation

Crowdsourcing for Social Change
Preethi Herman
Global Executive Director Foundation
In October 2015, Masooma Ranalvi wrote a blog about her experience of undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Her blog described the horrific experience of being circumcised as a little girl without consent or preparation. What she didn’t know then was that she had just initiated the crowdsourced movement against FGM in India. She started a petition on to gather more public support for her fight to ban FGM. An issue that hardly made news in India is now being widely reported and several organisations stepped up to join her in her movement. Read More
Empowering girls through digitisation

Aurat Raaj is a feminist platform in Pakistan that inspires and educates girls and women through innovative digital content in an effort to deliver progressive ideas about women empowerment. Through blogs, videos, workshops, mobile screenings, chatbots and an animated character called Raaji, it addresses issues of self-defence, body confidence, consent, reporting abuse, seeking help for harassment, hygiene, reproductive health and sex. These are the topics that educators, parents and often even siblings do not consider important enough to discuss or feel too shy to discuss. 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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