Internet Saathi has provided digital skills training for over 17 million women in Indian villages

Image from Forbes India by Mexy Xavier

Image from Forbes India by Mexy Xavier

Google India and Tata Trusts announced in August 2018 that their Internet Saathi program to raise digital literacy among women in India had already reached over 170,000 villages in 17 states, representing more than 17 million women. According to the official estimates of these organizations, the program is expected to cover 300,000 villages by the end of 2019.

Internet Saathi program was first launched in 2015 to empower Indian women with access to digital skills to participate in the economy and become more independent. The program consists of teaching digital skills to a group of women from each town, and then employing the first batch of graduates to spread the training throughout the village.

According to Raman Kalyanakrishnan, Head-strategy of Tata Trusts, during their impact evaluations in 2017, “nearly 43 percent of the women responded saying they have learnt a new skill after having been exposed to the internet and about 45 per cent of the women reported that they have managed to identify newer ways to save their income.” This enables beneficiaries of the program not only to become active in the economy, but also to gain independence as heads of their households.

In December 2017, an additional initiative was launched in collaboration with the Foundation for Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND) to provide graduates with access to job opportunities in their villages. Through this additional program, graduates were made eligible to participate in activities such as collecting information or monitoring other programs to support better decision-making in their hometowns. In other cases, they were provided with subsidized printers to generate products and generate an income. FREND’s addition to Internet Saathi expects to generate digital-based income for 100,000 saathis by 2022.

Source: Forbes India