IT for Change, with the support of the University of Manchester and Hivos, hosted a two-day workshop on the 9-10th March 2006 in Mysore (India). The purpose of the workshop exercise was to expose organisations working with poor women, and community leaders from amongst poor women’s groups in Karnataka, to the empowerment potential of ICTs.
Given that poverty is a major constraint to women’s empowerment, the workshop exercise was particularly geared towards ICT-based enterprise initiatives that hold empowerment potential for women through skill development, capacity building, job creation and income generation.The workshop was held within the ambit of capacity building component of 'Information Society for the South' (ISS) programme of IT for Change.
One of the ouputs of the workshop was the framing of a women's ICT-enterprise handbook. This handbook, titled 'Exploring new horizons through Information and Communication Technologies: A handbook for women's organisations in Karnataka', was written by IT for Change after the workshop. It attempts to examine how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be controlled and shaped by disadvantaged women to meet their information and communication needs and to enhance their wellbeing through better livelihoods opportunities. Drawing upon the personal narratives of women and the advice and insights of experts engaged in this field in South India, it encourages women’s organisations to think of new ways in which they can use ICTs to strengthen their existing goals and activities.
The book is accompanied by a film, titled 'Exploring new horizons: Stories of women and computers', which highlights the experiences of women from three projects in South India. These women have used ICTs to create new roles, opportunities and statuses for themselves as well as reach services and entitlements to their community more effectively. The film was made by IT for Change and can be provided upon request.