Promoting Digital Literacy in Rural Women through Digital Sakhi

By auther pic. Jyoti

September 10, 2019

Promoting Digital Literacy in Rural Women through Digital Sakhi

Providing Women Empowerment through Digital Literacy

The economic empowerment of women is at the heart of 2030 UN Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals would not be achieved if there is no accelerated action to empower women economically. Women’s participation in all spheres of life, including in the economy, is essential to sustainable and durable peace and to the realisation of human rights. Government schemes like Aadhar pay, more PoS machines, Bharat Net, would go a long way to augment the drive towards digital transformation.


To increase the uptake of digital financial services among rural women, L&T decided to address three issues. The first is lack of awareness and access to digital technology; the second is conservative mindset and existing social and cultural norms in households and communities; and the third, of course, is the lack of infrastructure.


Believing that women, when empowered with skills can become efficient change agents in their community, which brought ‘Digital Sakhi’ into existence.


In order to promote Digital Literacy among rural women, L&T Financial Services in partnership with SEWA Madhya Pradesh started a ‘Digital Sakhi’ initiative in Dhar and Badwani districts of Madhya Pradesh. 100 rural women were trained as ‘Digital Sakhis’. Today, in 30 villages, the Digital Sakhis are now imparting financial literacy to the villagers, helping them in learning digital transactions in order to make their financial matters simple and easier.


When the representatives from SEWA Madhya Pradesh first approached the women in the village, their entire faces were covered with a veil, because they were someone’s daughter-in-law. The representatives asked members of their families if they would allow their daughter-in-law to work with them. They requested the families to send them to work in the village; to do surveys because they are educated and will do good work for the village.


A learning offering emerged to combine the deep understanding of the rural ecosystems that L&T business teams came up with over the years. The curriculum was divided into 4 modules. Once the 4 modules were ready, it was given to the trainers’ training the project team. The 4 modules that were going to reach 100 digital Sakhis, will now be reaching lakhs of people through them.


The ‘Digital Sakhis’ were given training about digital transactions, so that they can provide information about digital transactions to the villagers, help them in opening bank accounts, and get them the benefits of Government welfare schemes from the Panchayats.


Ms. Manju Vishwakarma, Digital Sakhi, Dhar says – ‘Since the day, I started this work, my thinking has changed, my self-confidence has grown, and my courage to step out of the house has increased.’


Digital Saakhi program providing women financial independence through livelihood opportunities


The program conducted a skill mapping exercise for its 1000 women entrepreneurs, especially in the dairy business, in the poultry business, in goatery business and in tailoring.


Ms. Neeta Prakash Divekar, Dairy Entrepreneur, Pune says – ‘Under the Digital Sakhi program, I received 3 days of training. Then I learnt to take care of my cows and understood how to identify their illnesses.’


The Digital Sakhis are introducing villagers  to a new world, where people can adopt digital transaction methods while living in the village, save time and money, and make their life easier.


The Digital Sakhi programme was first launched in three districts of Maharashtra – Pune, Osmanabad and Solapur, in June 2017. The yearend assessment survey conducted in these areas, showed marked improvements as compared to the baseline study conducted prior to the launch of the programme.


The greatest achievement of the Digital Sakhi programme has been the inclusion of women in the household financial decision-making process. Prior to the programme, all major household financial decisions were taken mostly by the ‘Male head of the household’. It has been observed in the recent survey that more members of the household, especially the women, are actively participating in the financial decisions of the.


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Impact-Story is a series on development and CSR interventions leading to some impacts on the ground. If you have a project, innovation or intervention that has changed the lives of a few people or a community, please share a brief note at csr@ngobox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage.


Jyoti, a post graduate of International Business, is working as a Senior Analyst Communication in NGOBOX and CSRBOX. A resident of Ahmedabad, she likes to spend her weekends in solitude by reading, with a steaming cup of coffee to give her company.


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