Over the past few years, India has emphasized on make in India, Digital India, skill India, and several other important initiatives. To leveraging all these initiatives required digitally trained people. As we belong to the 21st century that’s pretty much tech-savvy and have the know-how of everything digital, there’s still a section of the country deprived of even the basics of technology. India has about 600 million internet users, which is counted as approximately 12% of global users. According to government data still only 20% of Indians know how to use digital services. There is still a big segment of the population who do not have access to the internet and online services. The Internet Saathi program was launched in collaboration with Tata Trust and Google India to improve digital awareness and leverage the power of the Internet and smartphones that are seeing deeper penetration in rural pockets.
An Internet Sakhi is a community cadre from SHG responsible for taking the Internet to more and more rural communities. Every Internet Sakhi is provided with 2 Tablets loaded with cloud-based applications, 2 Smartphones, 1 Power Bank, and 1 Inter-Cycle (bicycle-based internet kiosk). They have been trained to use Smartphones and the Internet along with other features like cameras, calculators, and gallery, play store, etc. 240 Internet Sakhi’s trained more than 2, 40,000 community members to educate them on using these smart devices, applications, and the Internet.
In rural India, only three out of 10 internet users are women (IMRB’S Curb Report 2017) India's fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS) revealed that there is a big digital divide in the country, with rural women least likely to have internet access. Only 42% of Indian women surveyed have ever used the internet, compared with 62% of men. A large section of women do not have any or limited access to either mobile phones or computers, and this gap has widened during the COVID-19 crisis.
Photo Credit: Sakhi Project
Digital literacy is very important nowadays, In the era of the internet, without digital knowledge people cannot survive and grow. Internet and digital things are now a way of life. Most of the jobs and even traditional agriculture, artisans work and so on are very much impacted by digital technology. Knowledge is a powerful weapon for empowerment. But still big sections of our rural women are not able to access and control digital devices which resulted in to increase in the divide. Our digital training programs aim to reduce all these kinds of gaps and vulnerabilities.
'Manjari’ literally translates to “seed of Tulsi”, a sacred Indian plant. When women mobilise themselves to form institutions, they are empowered to sow their own ‘seeds of change’.
"Development of Corporate Citizenship (DoCC), the social internship program of SPJIMR has been collaborating with Manjari Foundation since 2015. This has been fruitful relationship for us. I want to emphasise the four following themes. First the internships give our students a different idea of leadership which also gives them a sense of requirements for the future and adds to the ethics of sociological content. The participants acquire a notion of innovation- both social and technical which gives them a systemic view of the society. Such an empirical location gives them both a sense of limits and possibilities of what they can do. Environmental consciousness and gender sensitivity constitute two critical parts of social responsibility as we define it today. The participants of the internship understand what these key concepts mean in everyday sense. Internship at Manjari adds to their imagination in this direction. We value this relationship."
"Our collaboration with Manjari has allowed us to better understand the approach of solidarity groups and concretely towards the empowerment of women in the commune of Logo.The participation of Indian PRCs has been beneficial because the women have appropriated easily by seeing that they are rural women Indian women who share their experiences with them. The Camide team was formed by the professionals of Manjari with enthusiasm and professionalism and is able to reproduce most of the activities. This period of collaboration opens up prospects for our two structures to replicate the model in Mali and Africa. We again thank Manjari for all the efforts made for Camide and particularly the Director Sanjay Kumar. We were able to reach more than 2,500 women and more than 180 million CFA francs of credit granted four test henhouses substantial support for the winter and market gardening campaign in terms of results thank you."
"Without larger vision and dedication of the team of MF and its leadership, both vertical and horizontal growth would have never been possible to pick up at this level in this short history of its evolution. Since I have been associated with the Sakhi project of MF funded by Hindustan Zinc for the last 2 years, the happiness and confidence seen in their faces of hundreds of women in the villages proves its vitality. I have also witnessed the UN-women funded second chance education project (SCE) being implemented in 3 districts under the guidance of PRADAN is a much worthy to reach out to those young women in the age group of 16-35 who have been deprived in their childhood with the education, skills and employment are now happily enrolled and trained to overcome these deprivations with much positive outcome. While writing all these statements, I recall each visit to the project area to witness the change processes that were taking place within those women who had never dreamed of being so empowered and self-reliant so soon in their lifetimes."
"Manjari Foundation is IPE Global’s implementation partner in Dholpur, Rajasthan under the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), UK supported Project Udaan that aims at reducing teenage pregnancies. They have been instrumental in successfully piloting interventions for improving the knowledge of adolescents around sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Bari block of Dholpur. Their efforts in organizing a team to take up the issue of adolescent SRH and facilitating its implementation with great sensitivity across the block has not only been recognized by the district administration, but has also paved way for attempting a scale-up across the district. Their coordination with the community-level institutions, local government bodies and the target group has been noteworthy and exemplary. "