During the pandemic, like many life-activities, the education system completely shifted to online platform. Months have passed, but this adoption isn’t equally effective to all. Students and teachers have their own struggles while accessing these online platforms. Due to financial constraints, students are not able to access the internet, and are devoid of electronic gadgets and laptop, phone or computer or even radio and TV, at many places. Read More


Centre seeks to bridge digital divide to ensure vaccines for all
The Centre’s vaccine policy, which mandates CoWIN registration and appointment for vaccine-takers for the 18-44 age group, remains exclusionary, but the government is trying to break the barriers. RS Sharma, chairman of the government panel managing the CoWIN platform, on May 20 said the government may allow walk-ins at vaccination centres. His statement came nearly 20 days after realising the flip side – technology evading millions in rural areas and those with tech access booking slots in rural areas depriving them of their fair share. To get a vaccine, one needs a smartphone, internet connection, money (if slots available in private centres) Read More
As COVID-19 vaccines launch, digital certificates seen deepening inequalities
As COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out worldwide, a push for identity proofs and digital certificates risks excluding poorer and vulnerable groups from vaccination and the benefits that come with it, according to rights experts. India announced guidelines this week for the first phase of vaccinations for about 300 million people, requiring eligible recipients to first register online with photo-identity documents, including the Aadhaar digital ID. Read More
What WhatsApp users believed, disbelieved and shared — based on a survey in poll-bound states
How much time does an Indian user spend on WhatsApp daily — there were 250 million monthly active users in 2017 — and how likely are they to believe whatever messages they see, especially in an election season or in an atmosphere where misinformation has led to violence? Almost half of Indians say they never believe the information they receive on WhatsApp but 22 per cent say they never verify information coming in from WhatsApp. Read More

Helping Communities through Digital Services
The pandemic has hit every aspect of our lives, today many of the activities are done virtually. Lack of infrastructure and digital literacy in the rural settings have made the situation grave, people are not able to access the digital platforms, and thus are stuck. DEF and USIPI supported digital centres in Hyderabad are playing multidimensional role to help the community people. Centers are helping children to attend their online classes, community people to register for different schemes, photocopy, printing etc. Last month, the digital centers helped the youth by providing them online test enrolment cards, due to the series of students were unable to retrieve this information. Read More
Breaking the Barrier
Janmoni Deka is a student of class IX at GRB Charai Hagi High School, Morigain, Assam. Her parents wanted the daughter to study well and do something good with her future. But, they always complained about her lack of attention in studies and poor academic record. Janmoni too wanted to study and build a career, but instead of trying the best her academic results kept going down. Slowly she stopped participating in extra-curricular school activities and never discussed her problems with others. Upon learning about her, DEF’s STEM learning team approached her and soon was able to start communicating with her in the school campus. Read More
Role Model interactions (STEM)
Role Model Interaction, a part of STEM program, has left a deep impression on Tina Damo. Tina is a 9th standard student of Kahua-ati D Baruah High School, Morigaon, Assam. She has a great academic record and is a know face at her school and community. But, when asked about her aspiration in life, she feels confused and somewhat lost. Besides the STEM curriculum and activities, she once also participated in a Role Model Interaction, where Dr. Jayashree Pathak was a guest resource person. Dr. Jayashree interacted with the students and spoke about career building and aspirations in life. Tina got a chance to ask questions and understand how to lead her career for a bright future. Read More
It is our right, not a privilege!
D Jagruthi is in 9th standard at TSWRCOE, Alugunoor, Telangana. Unlike many other girls, she is fortunate to get quality education that her parents can afford. She is good in studies, admired by her teachers and actively participates in co-curricular activities. When Jagruthi joined the STEM leaning program, she was not expecting anything new but additional information to her existing knowledge. As the sessions progressed she felt to have ventured into a whole new world, a world of digital technology and equality. ‘’STEM education was so useful for me and I have learnt theory and did the application part too. ac I also learnt coding from the scratch even though I am not an expert of computers. Read More
Digital literacy classroom in Government Senior Secondary School- Bawal, Haryana
DEF has recently inaugurated a digital classroom in Government Senior Secondary School, Bawal, Haryana. The program is one of the steps taken by DEF to ensure that digital literacy is imparted from early days of schooling and as a part of school curriculum. It will also increase the momentum of adoption of digital technology as a need rather than a privilege. This center will digitally enable more than thousand of people, majorly the school students and the community people. Read More
STEM helped me to find the real me!
Naveena is a class 10th student from KGBV Narmetta, Telangana, and belongs to a farmer’s family. Before being introduced to the concept of STEM, she was very shy and lacked the confidence to converse with people. Even in school she had no friends and spent her breaks alone and in exclusion. Her parents were also stressed on how she would spent her life in isolation. Naveena was also trying hard to come out of this situation, she too wanted to make friends and chat. On learning about the STEM initiative she joined the program with an aim to learn new skills, which later proved to be a turning point for her. Naveena started to enjoy the sessions and completely indulged herself in the program. Read More
Aiding with the E-KYC services
DEF’s Soochnapreneur centre at Alwar, Rajasthan is helping the community people by running an awareness and registration camp. This camp is aligned with the Rajasthan Government new guidelines of distributing ration to digitally registered beneficiaries. Thus, the center is helping people to register on the portal E-KYC. In addition to this the center is also helping the community people to register for various government schemes, entitlements, government ID cards etc.
Entitlement of ‘Mukhyamantri Kanya Sumangla Yojana’
It is quite common in rural areas that people aren’t able to take benefit from the schemes due to the lack of awareness and inaccessible registration portals. To bridge this gap, Lakhimpur Digital center organized a camp in Paliya village, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The camp focused on increasing awareness about the government programs and entitlements. Women from the community were the participants and focus was given on Mukhyamantri Kanya Sumangla Yojana, a state run scheme for the benefit of girl child. Cash transfer direct to the bank account is the key aspect of the scheme. Spot registration of the beneficiaries was also done.
The second wave of Covid–19 pandemic hit India far more devastatingly than the first wave. The year-long wait for Covid-19 vaccines ended in January and in March 2021 vaccination drive for all citizens above 18 was given a green flag. However, the vaccination registration was initially mandated through an online portal – COWIN. DEF’s Research and Advocacy team has been closely monitoring the Covid-19 policies and the ground realities. Sana Alam and Asheef Iqubbal from the team have critically analysed the issue that arose; juxtaposing it with insights from ground in rural India they have prepared a detailed report. Read More

STEM Education and Digital Divide

DOCONLINE: Helping Rural India to access medical facilities

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Transparency and Compliance Report: What Does it Tell About India’s Online Free Speech?
Reading the new IT Rules 2021 in tandem with shrinking free speech paint a scary picture of Indian Democratic traditions.
By Digital Empowerment Foundation
India enacted Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) on 25 May 2021 that regulates user generated content and is being criticised for directly unleashing comprehensive attacks on freedom of expression, an essential part of the functioning democratic society. The first part of the rules aimed at governing social media intermediaries, the second part at over-the-top streaming services, and the third part at online news platforms. In this piece we will focus on compliance and transparency reports of four major platforms –– Facebook, Google, WhatsApp and Twitter. Read More
COVID-19: Stories from Ground

Last year, during the first wave of COVID-19, center and state governments were active but despite the precarious and volatile situation during the second wave, their response was cold. Not even panchayat level bodies are active and only healthcare seems to be struggling to control the outburst of the second wave of COVI-19, said D Kumar of Kollegal, Karnataka. Since March 2021 the country has been witnessing one of the most horrific times of recent history. If the government’s figures are to be believed, as of 22 July 2021, 3.13 crore people have been infected and 4.19 lakh people have lost their lives. The country was in shambles in terms of medical and oxygen supply, critical health care infrastructures such as oxygen, beds and Intensive Care Units. 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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