Since 2006, the field centre of IT for Change,Prakriye, has been engaged in building an ICT-enabled community information centre model. The key objective of this is to create a space that can bring local governance institutions closer to women, and particularly, enable marginalised…
Since its inception in 2005, Prakriye has focused on setting up Internet-enabled centres in partnership with rural women’s collectives (sanghas), to expand their access to public information and welfare entitlements, and strengthen their civic leadership. From 2 information centres covering 10 villages in 2005, our presence has now expanded to 7 information centres covering 500 women across 40 villages of Hunsur and H.D.Kote blocks, Mysuru district (Karnataka, India).
Our approach emphasises local ownership of the centres – and each centre has a steering committee comprising members of women’s sanghas, the health worker, the anganwadi worker, school teacher, Panchayat member etc. The physical space of the centre is mobilised by the sanghas/ village community, who also select a young woman infomediary to manage the day-to-day operations of the centre – locally known as sakhi. As a rule, sakhis are recruited from marginalised social castes/communities.
Each centre is equipped with basic digital infrastructure, and undertakes the following activities:
- Disseminating information about welfare schemes and entitlements to members of marginalised socio-economic groups in 4-5 villages in its vicinity, through traditional outreach activities and mobile-based informational networking.
- Using community media to trigger debates and discussions on gender and local governance issues.
- Creating community owned data through household surveys, to support marginalised women’s claims-making in official forums.
- Convening ICT-enabled learning dialogues between women’s collectives and elected women representatives, to build gender-responsive local governance agenda.
For details of the evolution of our work over the years, see Mahiti Manthana (2005-10), Women-gov (2012-14), and Making Women’s Voices and Votes Count (2013-14) projects. We now seek to expand our work with women's collectives into new areas –by building their capabilities for community journalism, and public audits and campaigns supported by community media,mobile-based opinion polling and GIS-enabled participatory mapping.
Watch the short film “Namma Mahiti Kendra” on the women-run information centers in the villages.
These resources were produced as part of the Mahiti Manthana project, a joint initiative of Prakriye and Mahila Samakhya…
Women-gov (2012-2014) was a feminist action-research project supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), that aimed at enhancing marginalised women's active citizenship and their…
The Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia/Commonwealth of Learning (CEMCA/CoL) supported the Kelu Sakhi radio project that aimed to develop community radio skills among the disadvantaged rural women in the taluks of Mysore district, in Karnataka, South India.…
Half the sky is not enough - WomenGov project of IT for Change
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Women's literacy camp