Digital Innovations: Contextualising Digital for Community Development

From Tirunelveli in the south to Ladakh and Kashmir in the north, DEF has been designing and implementing digital innovations that are providing communities with access to information, entitlements, rights, education, healthcare. Read More


Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey write: Let’s separate rights from freebies
The current political discourse on freebies vs rights seems loud and superficial, like a shallow TV debate. A deeper examination of what constitutes a right and a freebie is needed in policy and political debates — nationally and globally. With large numbers of people living under conditions of extreme economic vulnerability in several countries, poverty alleviation should be the central focus for governments across the ideological spectrum. In electoral democracies, ensuring a minimum income is not only critical for the survival of millions, but it is equally critical to the survival of political parties. Read More

Bridging the Digital Divide for Empowered Communities
In the sprawling expanse of West Bengal's tea gardens, a workforce of over 4.5 lakh individuals, including 2.62 lakh permanent workers, toil in 330 registered estates across districts such as Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, and Cooch Behar. This industry stands as the largest formal private sector employer in the state. While the West Bengal government has introduced commendable welfare initiatives like Kanyashree, Lakshmi Bhandar, Cha Sundari, and Manabik, designed for the tea garden labor force, their conditional cash transfer nature necessitates increased accessibility, inclusivity, enrollment, and uptake to genuinely uplift the lives and livelihoods of these workers. In the region's challenging topography, the physically disabled community faces even greater obstacles, often being inadvertently left behind by the outreach efforts of the government. Read More
Digital Renaissance: Gudiya's Path to Empowerment
Nineteen-year-old Gudiya, a student pursuing her BA at Delhi University, found herself in a unique situation. Having recently relocated with her family to Chiraudi Village within the Delhi NCR region, she discovered that access to computer education was limited in her new community. Undeterred, she took the initiative to enroll in the DEF Digital Literacy Centre located in the distant Ghazipur area. Overcoming the challenges of commuting from Chiraudi to Ghazipur Dairy Farm, Gudiya demonstrated her determination by consistently attending her classes. As a quick learner, she swiftly grasped the intricacies of Notepad, Paint, Microsoft Office, and computer theory. Gudiya also went the extra mile by engaging in various workshops that deepened her understanding of government initiatives and enhanced her soft skills. Read More
Embarking on Dreams Through Digital Literacy Program
An ambitious 18-year-old, Nisha, is making waves with her unwavering commitment to education and her aspirations in the Ghazipur area of East Delhi. Her story has become one of the inspiration, resilience, and the transformative power of digital literacy. Nisha’s desire and dedication to become a teacher and carve out a bright future for herself set her sights on the prestigious Delhi University for higher education. A testament to her hard work and determination is her involvement in a transformative initiative – Digital Literacy program. Nisha is a quick learner and she can swiftly grasp concepts of the digital literacy program and its broader concept. She delved into the world of technology, gaining proficiency in using tools like Notepad, Paint, and Microsoft Office. Read More
Smartpur: An Effort to Upgrade the Community
Pramod Verma is a resident of Ghazipur, East Delhi running a Smartpur hub center there and working tirelessly to uplift his community, transforming it into a hub of progress and empowerment. His unwavering dedication to Smartpur’s mission is evident through his dynamic leadership at the hub center. A true multi-tasker, Pramod orchestrates governance, finance, health, and educational camps that resonate deeply with the community. These initiatives have not only improved the lives of countless individuals but have also established Pramod as a trusted and empathetic liaison between the center and the community it serves. Read More
Empowering Communities Through Digital Entrepreneurship
Rajni lives in a small village where limited resources and opportunities once stifled aspirations, Rajni Kashyap emerged as a beacon of hope and change. Coming from an underserved family, with a limited resource and education, Rajni has transformed her whole life to become an inspirational force for her community. Through her unwavering determination and the support of the SoochnaPreneur program run by Digital Empowerment Foundation, Rajni is bridging the gap between the government and for the local citizens. She is creating a transformative impact on her community. Rajni has addressed that the community members have been facing some challenges by the government’s disconnection from the people living in underserved communities. Read More
Changing Lives Digitally
Deepak Kumar, a resident of the serene village of Sukhlahi in West Champaran, Bihar, is a true testament to the transformative power of digital entrepreneurship. Overcoming challenges as a person with disabilities (PWD), he has become a beacon of hope and progress in his community, all thanks to his SoochnaPreneur Center established under the Digital Daan project. With newfound confidence, he dedicated himself to serving his community, offering invaluable services like creating caste and income certificates, facilitating Pan card applications, and assisting with online submissions for the CM-old age pension scheme. Read More
Enhancing Healthcare in Assam’s Tea Tribe & Adivasi Community
Originating from colonial times, the Tea Tribe & Adivasi communities of Assam now contribute 53% to India's tea production. Yet, they faced challenges in health and digital access. The pandemic worsened this digital divide. A beacon of hope emerged: the Internet Roshni initiative by the Digital Empowerment Foundation. With 50 centers, it brought digital resources and healthcare to remote tea gardens. In partnership with ERC Eye Hospital Silchar, a free Eye Checkup camp was organized. Guided by SoochnaPreneur Samar Kurmi, it provided vital care, eyeglasses, and even eye surgery opportunities.This event showcases unity, collaboration, and resilience. It's a chapter in their ongoing journey towards better health and digital inclusion. Read More
Empowering Change: Pappu Kanwar’s Journey with Digital Didi Program
Pappu Kanwar is a SoochnaPreneur (Information Entrepreneur). She has fought with societal barriers to become an entrepreneur and now she is using her position as a digital entrepreneur and giving training to other women entrepreneurs on how to use digital tools for their livelihood. Pappu is associated with the flagship program of DEF called “Samarth SoochnaPreneur” and has now become an integral part of the groundbreaking Digital Didi program. This initiative aims to enable digital literacy learning among adolescent girls and women thus providing them with opportunities to pursue careers in entrepreneurship. While already engaged with Samarth SoochnaPreneur program in empowering women within her community, Pappu’s zeal became more resolute upon joining the Digital Didi program. Read More
Some Updates on Censorship, Welfare and EdTech
This week, we see three important updates from the country, one horrendously shocking, one surprising, and another welcoming. We look at an update from Manipur, Rajasthan, and the EdTech giant Byju's in this chapter of TypeRight. We start with the worst news, which is also triggering. This shocking incident happened in Manipur, where, as we had mentioned earlier, a long ethnic conflict had been taking place since several months. This news - “In Manipur Horror, 2 Women Paraded Naked On Camera, Allegedly gang-Raped” - is an indication of how deep the violence went, and if the reports are to be believed, this is not even the only such incident. Adding to the gravity of the situation is the fact that this actually happened two months ago. In a report from The Wire, "If there was no Internet shutdown, those videos would have surfaced over two months ago and the horror could have been addressed speedily." Read More
Digital Empowerment Across the Indian Ocean!
After twenty years of empowering the communities at the margins in India, DEF has reached a new milestone with our partnership with CWE in Kenya. This week on TypeRight, our team gets back with updates from Kenya: In 2017, two Kenyan women who were working on their PhD decided to take their academic work on the social impact of tech a step further - and that was how the Centre for Women Empowerment in Technology (CWE-Tech) was founded. CWE-Tecj works closely with women, attempting to enhance women's productivity using tech and create new socio-economic opportunities for women. Working in four regions of Kenya -Nairobi, Murang’a, Homabay, and Migori - CWE trains women on using tech, trains and mentors them, and tries to acquire... Read More

Digital Evaluation of Students An Initiative of "Department of School Education, Chhattisgarh"

The NICler app conducts MCQ quiz and captures all students’ answers without personal electronic devices. Students are given NICler IDs, which are printouts of ArUco markers. Students can answer an MCQ by placing NICler IDs in the proper position and showing it to the teacher. Teachers can capture the answers from more than 20 feet away by identifying the position of the NICler ID.

ChalChitra Abhiyaan

ChalChitra Abhiyaan produces a range of video formats like documentary films, news features, interviews, and live broadcasts. They try to bring to the fore local issues that concern different marginalised communities in their own voices. These issues are often glossed over by the mainstream media because of corporate control, the stranglehold of strong political parties, or caste, class, religion, and gender biases. They extensively use social media to circulate their stories

Digital Inclusion of Young Aspirants An Initiative of "Anudip Foundation for Social Welfare"

Anudip Foundation’s Digital Inclusion of Young Aspirants (DIYA) is a technology-driven skills development program for at-risk unemployed youth and vulnerable women to build sustainable incomes and dignified lives. The program is structured around digital-age learning experiences and new-economy career opportunities for career aspirants from socially-excluded locations.

This conversation with Abid Rashid, a journalist revolves around the threat that digital mediums and technology pose to journalism and how DEF is tackling them through their program. Talking Data to the Fourth Pillar: This workshop aims at developing an understanding of the concept of privacy, data protection, and online safety, to facilitate and enable the participants to make informed choices while pursuing journalism.

Data Protection for Journalists

Bridging the Digital Divide: Empowering Rural Communities
United Way of Chennai conducted a conversation with Osama Manzar Founder-Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation where he shared his inspiring journey from transforming India's media houses to becoming a social entrepreneur dedicated to bridging the digital divide in rural areas. Osama Manzar shared his deep-rooted passion for empowering communities through digital literacy and access to information. He shed light on DEF's innovative initiatives, such as the Community Information Resource Centres (CIRC), which have brought transformative change to remote areas without internet service. DEF utilizes partnerships with the government to impart digital literacy and provide connectivity to villages with a predominant minority population, ensuring equality and opening doors of opportunity. Read More
Ladakh: Basking in the Daunting Beauty of UnConnectivity

“Arrey yaar! Network aa hi nahi raha hai! (oh man there is no network)” groaned Saurabh, my colleague as we started our journey from Turtuk to Leh. The 200 km journey is amongst the most scenic roads I have been on. I was relying on his mobile hotspot since even with two sims I was disconnected; I had a prepaid Airtel sim (prepaid doesn’t work in Ladakh) and a postpaid Jio sim (the Turtuk region doesn’t have Jio towers).

We are expanding our reach to serve the most marginalized communities across India. Donate to our Digital Daan initiative and help us expand to unreached and unconnected communities.

Donate for Digital Daan
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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