Most community based ICTs for Development (ICTD) projects till date have been implants from outside and haven't been shaped or driven by grass-roots NGOs or community-based organisations, such as those of marginalised women's collectives. Our field centre, Prakriye (Centre for Community Informatics and Development), takes a bottom up approach, putting these development actors in the driver's seat of exploring new techno-social possibilities that strengthen and invigorate development, and further women's political empowerment. In particular, Prakriye's quest is to develop contextually appropriate techno-social systems that can strengthen marginalised women's engagement with local governance institutions and systems, from a rights and citizenship based perspective.
Prakriye's Internet-enabled information centres, set up in partnership with rural women’s collectives, use a range of digital strategies to expand women's access to public information and welfare schemes, and strengthen their civic leadership. Currently, we have 7 information centres reaching out to 500 women from 80 women's collectives across 40 villages of Hunsur and H.D.Kote blocks of Mysuru, Karnataka.
Prakriye's ICT interventions have galvanised women's participation in village assemblies, a critical public space they didn't frequent previously. In 40 villages of Mysuru district, women's collectives and elected women now work together to ensure that women's shared needs and priorities are addressed by local governments, leveraging community video, mobile-based informational networking and GIS-enabled participatory mapping.
Prakriye has set up 2 digital knowledge hubs that serve as safe learning spaces for adolescent girls from 5 villages of Hunsur block, Mysuru district. At these hubs, we implement our unique 'critical education for empowerment' programme that uses technology-mediated learning methodologies such as digital story telling, photo-essays, role-plays, simulation exercises and debates, for strengthening girls' agency, autonomy and leadership.