Towards GOAL-oriented learning

20-year-old Rinki Chouhan lives in a small house with a big family of 10 where her father and brother, both daily wage workers, are the only earning members of the family. For a family of 10, the household income is mere Rs. 3000. Rinki is the first person in the house to complete her education up to Class XII. Though Rinki completed her school, she could not go for further education due to the financial restrictions. But with new digital classes, as part of GOAL project, she is getting a chance to learn again. The story is not too different for other girls who’ve managed to reach up to class XII in her village, which is located in a backward tribal community area. Rinki’s oldest sister was married off last year at the age of 21. Read More

From Information Accessibility To Information Toxicity
In the age of social media, credibility of content is an important issue. Read More
Misinformation, mischief, misuse
WhatsApp joins hands with an NGO to counter hi-tech rumour mongering. Read More
Digital civil society
In an increasingly digital ecosystem, it is important for civil society to go digital as well. Read More
Is HC order on TikTok quashing India’s creative joy?
Approach to a suicide-inducing challenge and a video-sharing app can’t be same Read More

Is social media killing the critical media landscape?
Is media, as we know today, dead? Has social media taken over traditional media? Is media without social media’s widespread reach have no choice but to embrace social media? These, among many pertaining questions surrounding the changing paradigm of critical media and newsrooms in the age of social media, were discussed at the Global Media Forum 2019 last week on June 27-28 that takes place annually in Bonn, Germany. Focusing on this topic, MILEN (Media Information Literacy Experts Network) had organised an hour long discussion with panels from India, Moldova, Georgia, Germany, Brazil, and Arab Countries. Read More
‘Theatre of the oppressed’ comes to DEF
Taking forward the DEFDialogue, Digital Empowerment Foundation in its ninth edition hosted theatre artist and social activist Vandana Pandey in the New Delhi office. The programme that are organised on a regular basis provides an inclusive space for versatile interactions by giving podium to people from all walks of life. Pandey, in her session, emphasised on theatre and alternative mediums like nukkad nataks as tool for social behavioural change. “Combining theatre and the communities is beautiful; it’s like giving voice to the oppressed,” she said while introducing audience to a participatory session called ‘theatre of the oppressed’. Read More.
Fighting Fake News: whose responsibility is it?
45 per cent people chose 1 on a scale of 1-5 when asked how often do they tend to believe information received by them on WhatsApp, according to a survey result taken during the ‘Fighting Fake News’ workshops across 11 Indian states. The results from questionnaire filled by rural participants have now been published in a report titled 'Fighting Fake News: whose responsibility is it' The respondents, largely people aged between 16 and 35, primarily targeting college students and police personnel, shows that as much as 46 per cent of the WhatsApp users are spending up to one active hour on the messaging app a day. Read More.
Community celebrations on Mother’s Day in CIRC
On May 12 2019, the RCommunity Information and Resource Centre in Ranchi turned into a platform of community gathering and celebration on the occasion on International Mother’s Day. Children from nearby villages showcased performances like dance and fashion show for their mothers. Many mothers were also seen gracing the ramp. The event ended with prize distribution which was done by teachers from Jauhar Academy. Jauhar Academy CIRC shall continue building such platforms for the community cohesion by constant engagement. This will lead to strengthening of values and ensuring stronger accountability among the people.
Building skills and employability through technology
Tshara, a resident of Vikarabad, Telengana, became a home-maker after she completed schooling. She could not go back to education, however, curiosity about computers and smartphones prompted her to join a digital literacy course under DEF’s Technology Empowering Girls programme. Before joining the course she was completely unaware about the working of computers but with a little bit of digital push, she is now able smoothly work on MS-Office, Excel and more. Digitally empowered, Tshara has joined as an accountant in a nearby supermarket. She credits TeG for helping her build the skill that resulted in her employment.
Tribal women leap towards financial security
Tribal women in Madhya Pradesh are taking a step forward in the direction of becoming financially independent. A group of women from adjacent villages—Kamthi and Rampurmaal—have opened a bank account with the help of TATA PRADAN and DEF initiated Community Information Resource Centre (CIRC) in their region. Now they can contribute a monthly sum of Rs 500 to this account for self-sustenance and supporting each other during emergencies. The programme, initiated in 2015, aims to empower tribal women by making them digitally literate. Till now, nine CIRCs have become self-sustainable.
Educating children on nutrition and hygiene
As part of their innovative initiative, Atul and Madhuri, from DEF’s Smartpur centre at Hosadoddi, Kollegal region of Karanataka, organised nutrition workshop where the community children took pledge to clean their vicinities before and after eating and follow basic personal hygiene principles. The programme took place on May 1 where the children were also engaged in small activities as washing, cutting and cooking food for the day. Smartpur has been strengthening its efforts by organising workshops and actively creating awareness amongst communities under its six pillars- health, education, livelihood, governance, finance and entertainment. Read More
Ensuring healthy mothers through community dialogues
“Humare liye Poshan Prerak didi vardan roop thi”, says Laxmi Devi (name changed), a beneficiary from Sarai Mubarak, a small village in Ghazipur. Ghazipur’s villages were amongst 187 villages from 10 different states which were covered under the programme of Community Dialogues on POSHAN Abhiyaan themes. Laxmi, now a mother of a month-old infant, was pregnant while community dialogues on POSHAN Abhiyaan were conducted in her village by Poshan Prerak Vandana Tiwari. POSHAN Abhiyaan is the Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional standards among pregnant women, lactating mothers, infants, children and adolescents. Read More
Digikala students today, enumerators of a growing nation tomorrow!
Digikala centre in Barabali, Odisha in partnership with Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation enabled 30 students to work as enumerators for Census 2019. This was done under the Common Service Centre (CSC) Scheme. The meeting at the centre was attended by the CSC District Manager and Additional District Managers of Bargarh district, Prafulla Patra and Sukanta Kumar Sahu. Selected enumerators were given basic training during the meeting. Through this initiative the centre will be able to facilitate a certain amount of remuneration given by the government to the student enumerators, who are from the nearby village communities. Read More
Internet Saathi Babli’s digital learning techniques
Internet is a tool of change for many Internet Saathis who are touching lives in present day’s digital reality. Catalysing the process of growth and development, the internet is not only affecting the urban population but also is bringing in the desired change within the lives of many women who are residing in rural pockets of the country. Babli’s story is a source of inspiration for many women who, with basic know-how of the Internet and digital tools, can now earn a sustainable living and are learning new tricks of trade everyday with the help of informative audio-video tools. "YouTube training has taught me several tailoring techniques. I wish to make most of it," she said. Read More
Educating young girls about menstrual hygiene management
As part of collaboration between DEF and WASH United to bring awareness among the rural communities on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), one day training was organised for the new women trainers of WASH on May 10, 2019. It was conducted by seven trainers who had received the training from WASH United. Six master trainers from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana were selected by these seven trainers. These master trainers would further train and hand-hold a team of ‘Masik Preraks’ at their village level. The Preraks would then become the agents of empowerment among their village communities. Read More
Women making a mark in digital mainstream
Chandani Binawade, a commodity trader from Kale Padal in Maharashtra's Pune, completed her Masters in Commerce with a basic knowledge about computers and phone. “It was out of my curiosity to use these devices that I started to explore the significance of ever-growing digital world,” she said. Fuelled with the desire to learn more, Chandani completed 20 days of Digital Literacy Course where she learned about e-commerce platforms, processes to apply for a PAN card, passport etc. “My favorite topic was e-Governance. It taught me how to save money and truly helped me grow as a trader,” she added. She now using e-banking facilities too.
Empowering rural youth with the right information
Manoj belongs to a small village in Warangal district of Telangana where he lives in a shanty with this extended family. Aspiring to be in government service, he had been spending time studying hard to clear the competitive exams after he completed his MBA from Chaitanya Degree College. His large family and the responsibility to run the household could not let him concentrate on his studies completely. However, with the help of Indian Public Library Movement’s programme, he is now able to access facilities at the local library and seek guidance from the staff. Now, the keeps him updated about every new opportunity and share support.Read More
Lighting lives with information
In India, where a vast majority still lives in information darkness, digital information dissemination on topics of importance like citizen entitlements, financial schemes etc. definitely paves the way towards a society that is socially and financially inclusive of even people living in the fringes. Prem Singh Ahirwara and Ram Singh from Uttarakhand did not dare to open bank accounts for they thought that no bank would open an account without minimum balance amount. Their misconceptions are now getting addressed by Soochna Seva team who are lighting lives with information via Mera App. Now they have bank accounts and they can avail social welfare schemes. Read More
SoochnaPreneurs – giving hope to the elderly
Kamla Bai Saheriya, an elderly woman from Madhya Pradesh, was abandoned by children after her husband had passed away. Her only support was the widow pension that she received. Her suffering compounded when she stopped receiving even that paltry sum due to reasons unknown. Clueless and distraught, she did not know which door to knock for help. But with the constant help and support from the local SoochnaPreneur Sirnaam, Kamla now has received a new lease of life.Her papers have been re-submitted under government's widow pension scheme. “I am poor, old and uneducated. If not for his help, I would have starved to death,” she said. Read More
Awards and accolades from Facebook
The Research and Advocacy division at Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) has been awarded Facebook's Content Policy Research Grant after a competitive process in which Facebook received nearly 190 entries from across 38 countries. The call for proposals aimed to support research that will help develop better content policies, specifically around hate speech and preventing offline harm, and assess possible interventions. The division's proposed study on tracking causalities towards escalation of hate speech into offline harm that will help to strengthen Facebook's audit methodologies and identify early-warning signs of escalation.
Creating livelihood opportunities by sharing homes
Ever imagined that an extra room in your house or a vacant lying community space can be easily transformed into a profitable venture? DEF’s SHE Hosts project, in collaboration with Airbnb, in its effort to create livelihood opportunities for rural women in India, has been training rural women in relevant digital skills and hospitality services to enable them as home sharers. So far 3000 women from rural locations in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been trained on how to start a homestay from their own houses and see it as a livelihood option.
Weavers of Talasari go global!
Artisans from Talasari, a small city in Maharashtra’s Palghar, exhibited their works at the Crafts Council of India event held in May 2019. This opportunity, facilitated by Digital Empowerment Foundation, came as an opportunity for indigenous weavers to interact with the national level network and councils. Mahendra, a Warli artist got the opportunity of interacting with clients and many of the potential clients at the council. Apart from showcasing his Warli products at the event, he also received first-hand feedback on his products and their pricing. He also learnt techniques on quality improvement and maintenance of his art.

India’s digital dreams

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Going Online As Leaders

Five-step guide to mobile innovation
Photo Caption: Madanmohan Rao
Research Director, YourStory
Charter Member, TiE
The journey for innovative social entrepreneurs and mobile technology wizards can be full of ups and downs and riddled with obstacles such as management or scalability issues. Three key ‘chasms’ or deep valleys that digital innovators must jump over are, from concept to prototype; from prototype to a sustainable model; and significant scaling up from early users to segments of society. Here are five ways in which mobile innovators can scale up their offerings. Product managers must be experienced in at least one of the four key areas.. Read More
Bharatiya Digital Party aka Bhadipa

Bharatiya Digital Party aka Bhadipa was the first exclusively Marathi YouTube channel that continues to be one of the biggest players in the online Marathi market even today. Launched with the realisation that there wasn’t enough Marathi content that youth could relate to, Bhadipa aims to give a platform to Maharashtra’s youth creators to bring back the ‘cool quotient’ in regional language entertainment industry. Bhadipa hosts all its content on YouTube where it has organically reached 1,40,000 subscribers. 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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