POSHAN Preraks march to health

“We had no idea that honey-ginger could be harmful for our children in any way possible,” says Savita, a resident from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, who along with several other women from her locality, is learning a healthy lifestyle with the help of POSHAN Preraks. “There was no open conversation on the issue; people certainly knew that breast milk is good for newborns but now, thanks to Prerak Didi, we know that a baby should be fed only mother’s milk initially,” she adds. Like Savita, several other women from these 187 centres, are gaining healthy insights through community dialogues organised by POSHAN Preraks.
POSHAN Abhiyaan is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022. The objective of POSHAN Abhiyaan is to reduce stunting in identified districts of India with the highest malnutrition burden, especially among pregnant women, lactating mothers and infants. In collaboration with UNICEF, Digital Empowerment Foundation is the implementation partner for POSHAN Abhiyaan in 10 states. Read More

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Recogining social media trailblazers
Social Media for Empowerment (SM4E) Awards is a platform that identifies, recognises and honours initiatives across South Asia that leverage the power of social media to bring about a change. Now in its 6th edition, the platform has received 160 nominations from eight South Asian countries across six categories that showcase efforts in the area of advocacy, mobilisation, story-telling and more. With the nominations now closed, the Grand Jury will go through the submissions on June 21 to shortlist Finalists and identify winners. Winners, however, will be only announced during the SM4E Awards Gala on August 2, 2019.
Honouring India’s pioneering organisations
eNGO Challenge is a platform established to recognise, facilitate and award organisations that have done some exceptional work with communities and subjects using any kind of new age tools across South Asia. This year marks the 6th edition of the annual awards, which has received more than 300 nominations from eight countries this year. The nominations are open until the end of this month, following which a Grand Jury will gather to shortlist winners of 2019. If you’re interested in nominating your organisation for the eNGO Challenge or know of an organisation that should, visit www.engochallenge.org.
Making digital dreams a reality for rural women
An Internet Saathi, Anuradha Gautam from Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa has made it a mission to empower women in her village. “I could not continue my studies immediately after I was married off in the first year of my graduation,” she says, adding she had to take a gap of a year before she was able to resume her education. She realises she was the lucky one. Associated with the Internet Saathi movement that trains women in digital literacy, Anuradha is now making sure that that all women are digitally educated in her area. Read More
Bakhtiyarpur is now service ready
A two-day capacity building workshop under the Intel-supported IP Ville project was conducted in Delhi-NCR on April 3 and 4, 2019, which was attended by fivecentre coordinators from Bihar’s Baktiyarpur district. The objective was to introduce the project and make participants aware of their roles and responsibilities. Since its inauguration in March, IP Ville has garnered amazing response from curious villagers who have availed various educational, health, governance and financial services. So far, 72 patients have been offered help at digital health camps, while 30 students have been enrolled for digital literacy.
A step closer in the direction of smarter villages
DEF’s rural entrepreneurship-based smart village model Smartpur is growing with its extensive partnerships on ground across 100 locations in India. The project aims at bringing efficiency in daily lives under its six pillars—education, health, governance, finance, livelihood and edutainment. Under the health pillar, on April 3, a medical camp was held at Dharmarayudupeta, one of the Smartpur centres of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. On April 14, another health camp was organised at Bidarka and Jhanjhar centres of Alwar, Rajasthan, that was attended by over a hundred people, including women and children, from nearby villages. Read More
Will technology set them free?
In April, GOAL mentees Rinki and Radha from a tribal village in Betul district in Madhya Pradesh got the opportunity to travel to Bhopal and take the stage with renowned journalist Barkha Dutt in front of an audience of over 250 persons, including Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Members of Parliament and policy makers. On this occasion, Rinki and Radha discussed how technology is an enabler for rural girls and women, empowering them to empower their lives. The girls shared their experiences of learning to use a laptop and interacting with a mentor who will help shape their lives. You can watch the interview here.
DEF-WASH United join hands to spread menstrual awareness
In its efforts to create awareness around menstrual hygiene management (MHM) among girls and women in rural and remote locations in India, DEF has joined hands with WASH United. The project will cover 100 DEF digital centres across nine states with an aim to reach to as many as 10,000 girls who will be educated, empowered and engaged on cost-effective menstrual solutions. In regards with this, seven master trainers from DEF were trained on the use of MHM Education Guide. They will be responsible for training their ground staff in the consequent months.
Doodling their way through digital literacy
A drawing competition for school children from local community was organised on April 21, 2019, at the CIRC centre in Jauhar Academy, Dhurwa Ranchi, which is supported by Oracle and CAF. As many as 26 children participated in the competition. Some of these children also take the initiative to design events, activities for the centre regularly. They also contribute to cultural programmes when needed. The event came across as a healthy learning experience and created motivational atmosphere around. All the participants enjoyed community engagement activities and suggested to conduct them on regular basis.
Empowering women through digital literacy
A post-graduate from Pune, Mahalaxmi Prakash knew how to operate a computer but her basic skills were not enough. “I wanted to learn more, use the Internet to its full potential,” she says. She came across DEF’s inexpensive and easy digital literacy programme and now with persistent efforts and practice, she feels digitally empowered. At this centre, she learned to use digital tools effectively. She can now lookup the Internet for study material, send official mails, book tickets online, read e-papers and even shop online. She recently transferred money to her husband’s account using BHIM app.
Giving easy access to education
A graduate from Warangal’s Kakatiya University, Damera Raju dreamt big. He put in hard work and efforts to crack competitive examinations with limited resources he had. “It was difficult to find access to competitive exams material but with support from DEF-IPLM programme, I was able to study hard,” he says. He appeared for various job recruitments and cleared them. He was first selected for the post of clerk in Warangal District Co-Operative Central Bank and is now a Junior Panchayat Secretary. “The library staff’s encouragement made it possible,” he adds. Read More
Lending a helping hand to elderly
Access to reliable support provides an extra lease of life to those who may be isolated or live on the fringes. Elderly, especially in rural India, hardly have any access to information due to lack of digital literacy, making them prone to vulnerabilities. In his 60s, Uttarakhand’s Dhan Lal Pita could not even avail his pension despite being eligible for the same because the process entails a series of paperwork. Similarly, Nakhataram and Haua Devi lived an impoverished life due to lack of any financial support. Soochna Seva team, however, has been helping them out of it. Read More
Making citizen services available at the Panchayat level
As a result of continuous efforts towards empowering tribal women from Madhya Pardesh’s most backward areas and ensuring accessibility of citizen services, DEF initiative Community Information Resource Centre (CIRC), which is supported in implementation by Tata Pradan’s touched another milestone in the state. In cooperation with Panchayat and local administration, Kamthi and Rampurmaal resource centres were moved to the Panchayat premises. Now, digital connectivity and citizen services are accessible to the villagers. Opening of several bank accounts for a group of women were also facilitated through the centre.
SoochnaPreneurs are the beacon of hope for uninformed elderly
Sixty-six-year-old Anarul Khan lives in a small village of Lauriya in one of Bihar’s most backward districts. The family lives in constant poverty and lack any regular income. One of the major sources of their income is pension that the elderly couple gets from the government. But the family living Below the Poverty Line (BPL) has not even received a penny under the pension scheme in last six months. The elderly couple knocked all doors but all efforts went in vain. But with SoochnaPreneur Shakil Ahmad’s efforts they finally have some hope. Read More
Another leap towards global digital cooperation
DEF’s research team has been engaged with the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLP) since their convening to chart global model mechanisms for multi-stakeholder cooperation in the digital domain. As the Panel finalises its report, it convened a consultation with key individuals and organisations on April 10 2019 to refine some of its preliminary recommendations. DEF's written contribution will also be incorporated within the report. DEF was also one of the only CSO visited by the HLP Secretariat when they were in India in January 2019.

Journey is the Destination

SoochnaPreneur Arbab

Agents of Change

Enabling the Next Generation of Community Network Builders
Rajnesh Singh
Regional Bureau Director (Asia-Pacific)
Internet Society
In October 2018, together with our partner Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), we organized the 2nd edition of CNXAPAC (Community Network eXchange Asia-Pacific) with a focus on how two sets of community operators – community radio network operators and community (Internet) network operators – could explore synergies in the work they do. The event was kindly hosted by UNESCO at their Delhi office, and brought together over 50 participants from around the world to exchange knowledge and best practices, Read More
Land Conflict Watch

In the last couple of decades, India’s aim for industrial and infrastructure growth has led to its acquisition of more and more land, often by ignoring and sometimes bulldozing land rights of vulnerable communities. Some of these conflicts turn violent and violate human rights. However, there is no national database of land conflicts, and many of these conflicts go unreported in national media. To bridge this gap, a journalist-duo, Ankur Paliwal and Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, started the Land Conflict Watch in 2016. Land Conflict Watch is a website that uses extensive anounts of public data to document cases of conflicting claims over land use and ownerships. 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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