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India
17 May 2017

Google's Internet Sathi - Internet literacy comes to rural Assam

Internet for Assamese women, significant step towards empowerment

In India, where women's illiteracy rate is surprisingly low, Google partnered with Tata Trusts to create "Internet Sathi," a noble initiative to increase digital literacy in India last year.

Helping Women Get Online campaign is now empowering women in rural Assam to see the world in a different light and promoting education even in the remotest areas.

Here's all you need to know.

In context

Internet for Assamese women, significant step towards empowerment
Internet literacy among Indian women is surprisingly low

Literacy

Internet literacy among Indian women is surprisingly low

Although, in metropolitan cities proliferation of the Internet between the male and female demographic is almost equal, but Internet literacy in the rural areas are an entirely different matter.

Thanks to the predominance of a patriarchal surrounding, even basic education is almost negligent in those parts.

This also affects the demographic as a whole, thus, only 30% of women in India are Internet users.

Internet Sathi

Assamese women get a window to the world

The "Internet Sathi" initiative, which runs in ten states across India and has helped over 16,000 women to become Internet educated, has now been taken up by the Gramya Vikash Mancha at Assam's Nalbari, Kamrup (rural), Barpeta and Baksa districts for their women constituents.

According to reports, 160 Internet Sathis have been engaged so far for this initiative and it has benefited thousands.

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The target is 1,20,000 women from 557 villages

Aim

The target is 1,20,000 women from 557 villages

Pranjal Chakraborty, the project coordinator of the Mancha, said "The developmental objective of the project is the social empowerment of at least 1, 20,000 women from 557 villages... We are going to train the community, particularly 90 rural women, about 21st-century technology, providing doorstep Internet to them,"

The system works through a trickle-down method, a chosen few are taught and they educate the rest.

Tata Trusts

Internet Sathis to share the "knowledge revolution called Internet"

These "Sathis" are taught by adept Google trainers and then are provided with a tablet, smartphone, bicycle and the necessary equipment to teach other women of the community about Internet.

Tata Trusts keeps a tab on the extent of the reach made by these Sathis and is also on the lookout for ingenious women capable of becoming potential Sathis through their local NGO network.

This is an empowering work in progress project

Being woman

This is an empowering work in progress project

The "Internet Sathi" project aims "to build the leadership capacity of the women and empower them to access and avail their entitled rights".

For Assam it's working; "Being a woman, I know the problems of women in our villages. So it's really a great feeling to help the womenfolk to see the world in a different perspective," said a Saathi involved with the project.

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