Sustainable Livelihood Opportunities for Women

Female labour force participation in India economy is many folds lesser than men. Against 81.3 percent of men above the age of 15 years, only 35.8 percent of women are employed. In contrast to this, moreover all the women are engaged in unpaid work, taking care of household activities, children and supporting the male earning members. For sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction it is important that women equally participate in the paid work ecosystem. With the aim to promoting gender equitable rural employment, DEF through its wide network of 1000 centers across the country, is digitally empowering girls and women to find livelihood opportunities. This initiative is helping to bridge the gap in earnings of men and women, especially in rural India where the gap is much more than urban areas. Empowering women leads not only to the betterment of women but also to their families and the society.


‘Young people as vaccine buddies, fake news police can help India fight Covid-19’
As India grapples with the second wave of Covid-19, it is the country’s 300 million young people that hold out the strongest hope in addressing and recovering from the devastating pandemic. In this context, YuWaah, the India chapter of Generation Unlimited launched by UNICEF in 2018, along with youngsters, the CBSE, Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYAS) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), has launched a pan-India movement, Read More
Students of NTU, Singapore, developed a kiosk-cum-EV
They call themselves The Kisan Union and they work solely for farmers and villagers via their kiosk. Read More
How the Facebook-Reliance combine and the farm laws pave the way for digital colonisation
On 17 December 2020, a group of mostly Indian American protestors gathered outside Facebook’s headquarters in the United States. Read More
Accumulation of Power & Counter Power Around Internet Regulation
On 17 December 2020, a group of mostly Indian American protestors gathered outside Facebook’s headquarters in the United States. Read More

HealthPreneur Serving Communities in Rural Telangana
DEF’s centre in Chinna Kondur, Telangana is located at the main chowk of the village making it accessible to all. Jagdish and Vamsi, the project officers for DEF in the region took me around the village. An old woman saw us walking on the street and she shouted “Vamsi!!”, we turned and walked to her house. She said to him “when is the doctor coming? I am supposed to have a consultation this week.” DEF has ten centres in the region and one of the centre’s is run by a medical professional or ‘HealthPreneur’ as we call them at DEF. He visits all the ten villages of DEF and provides medical consultation to the patients in the village at a minimal price. Read More
Creating a Cadre of Community Leaders in Barabanki
Over the last seven years DEF has created a network of SoochnaPreneurs who serve their villages by providing digital services like access to government entitlements, digital financial services, tele-health services and computer classes. During the pandemic they became more active and spread information related to COVID-19, social distancing, the importance of masks and vaccination. In fact, many of them played a huge role in the vaccination drives that were held in rural parts of Barabanki. These entrepreneurs have become the only point of access to government schemes, financial services and even education for many people in their respective villages. Read More
Creating an Alternative Livelihood Opportunity for Women in Telangana
I saw a group of girls practicing embroidery at DEF’s digital centre in Chinna Kondur, Telangana. Deepika, the embroidery trainer who was herself a student earlier has been training girls for the last 2 years. The embroidery training enables these girls to earn a livelihood for themselves. This allows them freedom and helps them make their own decisions and their families are not apprehensive about sending them for the training because Deepika is well known in the community now so they trust her and the work she is doing. Read More
DigiGyan- A new digital beginning
Schools in India have finally re-opened after a long break because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To fight the pandemic and the deep digital divide that has come about and become obvious because of it, DEF set up a digital literacy classroom, Digigyan in a government senior secondary school in Karnawas, Haryana. DEF’s team from Delhi made a monitoring visit to the rural village of Karnawas to observe the newly inaugurated digitally equipped school. The Digigyan program was the first digital intervention at this government school; many of the children didn’t have access to digital devices before this even though the whole world had shifted online. Read More
Providing Online Education Amidst a Deep Digital Divide
Located about 50 kilometers from Lucknow, Saidanpur is nowhere close to the capital in terms of development and education. The entrance into the village is with the ruins of various havelis that are about 150 to 200 years old. DEF’s digital center is located in one such dilapidated but refurbished ruins of a haveli. Noori is one of the girls working at the digital center as an IT trainer. When asked about the importance and impact of this digital center she said “during COVID schools have shut down and unfortunately government schools have not shifted online. Moreover many students of private schools that have can’t afford to buy digital devices. At a time like this our work here has not stopped so every day students come here and I take two batches of computer classes apart from that. Read More
Smartpad: Fighting Stigma & Creating Livelihood
“My brother thought I was making a children’s diaper” said Shreemati Devi, a digital entrepreneur involved in the production of Smartpads. Smartpad is a re-usable sanitary pad. As Shreemati explained the benefits of using it a group of young boys stood around us listening to her. However, as they realized what she was talking about they mumbled to each other and walked away. As I noticed this I asked Shreemati why this happened and she said “they feel shy listening to us speak about periods. This is exactly the reason so many young girls suffer quietly and don’t speak out when they get their first period. Her body goes through serious changes and she is unable to speak to anyone about it, just imagine what she must be going through.” Read More
Woman Entrepreneur Using WhatsApp & YouTube to Expand Her Business
Seema Devi a woman entrepreneur from Khunti, Jharkhand who is engaged in lacquer bangle busi-ness, designs attractive and colourful bangles and sells them in the nearby market and contributes to her family income. She lives with her husband and two children. The main source of income for the family is by farming. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced the income, leaving the family in a financially vulnerable position. DEF’s entrepreneur Aarti Sanga from Khunti, Jharkhand identified Seema during a survey of women entrepreneurs. Read More
Providing a Solution to Non-Availability of ATM
Bhagyalata runs a SoochnaPreneuer centre (digital service centre) in Chinna Kondur. With one laptop, one printer and one biometric machine she serves the community by providing digital skills that would have been inaccessible to them. Most of the people in the village and some people from neighbouring villages as well visit the centre to apply for government schemes and entitlements. Bhagyalata said “on an average I get 40 to 50 people every single day. If the government launches a new scheme then there is a long line at the centre for the next few days. Hundreds of people come to apply and they come here because this is the only centre in a radius of five kilometres. Read More
Providing Financial and Governance Services in Remote Areas of Tijara
Jakhopur or as DEF likes to say ‘Jakhopur Smart Village’ is a typical rural village in Rajasthan with narrow lanes that turn into narrower lanes that lead to people’s houses. I entered one such lane and was greeted by a cow and three goats. A couple was sitting with their two children and I approached them. The woman was lighting a fire to cook lunch while the man was tending to the animals. The kids didn’t hide their curiosity, they started following me, trying to understand what a stranger was doing in their house compound. Read More
Decentralising Benefits
This publication has been produced based on ground work and experiences of 14 national level Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in India in the domain of improving last mile access to public schemes information, entitlements and benefits in India during 2014-2018, and supported by the European Union in India. The volume provides a vivid experiential sharing of issues and problems being sought to be addressed by the implementing agencies in more than dozen States in India, subjects ranging from transparency, social accountability, last mile access, information decentralization, a collective learning from the fourteen projects to improve our current and future development efforts, Read More
Factors Determining Access to Public Schemes Information and Entitlement Benefits for the Tea Tribe Community: A Qualitative Study in Assam
The tea garden community, also known as Tea and Ex-Tea Garden Tribes, who are recognized as Other Backward Classes (OBCs) by the Government, is one of the vulnerable socio-economic groups in Assam State. The vulnerability and back- wardness is more evident and distinct due to their unique cultural identity, by now deep rooted in tea economy and industry as synonymous. The community constitutes 20 per cent of the State’s population of 3.5 crore and has been playing the most important role... Read More
TypeRight : a research-based weekly newsletter
Software like Pegasus not only records calls, but also records every key stroke every file, every thing that appears on your phone screen no matter how briefly. It doesn't stop there. It is able to audio and video record everyone around you even in your most private spaces. All these combined when used against authorities like India's Election Commissioner can cause a lot of harm to India's democracy. What is democracy? Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people. Democracy is the heart and soul of a nation. It is the nation. Read More
TypeRight : a research-based weekly newsletter
The world now has solid documented evidence that Facebook is causing mass hatred, violence, is engaging in non consensual mind control experiments, is causing mental health harm, is damaging democracies, promoting fake news and more. The question then should be, what are governments doing about it? When we were reflecting on this, we wondered how governments would have reacted if instead of a 'social media' company, this was a pharmaceutical company. What would have happened? Read More

Digital Artisans of Pattamadai

GOAL Mentee Sushma Kumari

Unlocking Rural India's Potential for Economic Recovery

Osama Manzar and Digital Empowerment Foundation
The journey and the making of a social entrepreneur and a social enterprise
It’s interesting that we must share and narrate this story with so many friends throughout time. It is hard to begin with describing who I am, especially when there has been an evolution of thinking and applying and a growth of consciousness over time. One is never the same person they were yesterday, and they will never be the same person tomorrow, in a mixed manner. It could be good or bad. But interestingly, people are very kind when you are evolving under twenty or under thirty years of age, people are still kind, they don’t blame you and tend to take it easy and refrain from judging. If the same thing happens beyond thirty or so, then there are questions and expectations. Read More
Making Villages Smart

Jakhopur is a small village near Tijara. As one enters the village one can often be welcomed by camels with a cart tied to them navigating through the narrow lanes of the village. The narrow lanes meet at an intersection where a group of men can be seen sitting and chatting. The dark blue building where they are sitting has a logo that says ‘Smartpur’. Shahrukh Khan came and gave me a warm welcome as I walked towards the blue building. He is the Centre Coordinator for DEF in Tijara block. Shahrukh showed me the digital centre that had been set up in Jakhopur. It was equipped with laptops, printers and tablets and there were posters about COVID norms and guidelines all around. I asked him why people were sitting in the front porch of the digital centre and he said “this centre has become like the centre of this village. Since we conduct so many activities and workshops this has become like a meeting point for people. Read More

Donate for Digital Daan
Subscribe to our mailing list

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. |