Google makes 15 Mn rural women digital savvy through ‘Internet Saathi’ programme

Internet Saathi
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Somewhere in the middle of 2015, Google partnered with Tata Trust to bridge the digital divide amongst women in rural India (aka Bharat). While India has over 400 million Internet users, only 30 per cent of users consists of the female. This divide gets deeper in villages with only 10 per cent of overall women are Internet savvy.

The 21 months programme seems to be reflecting the impact on ground level as it claims to train 15 million women across 150K villages. For ensuring two days training, the search giant has leveraged about 45,000 trainers.  

Internet Saathi is aimed at making rural women digitally literate and enhance their livelihood options. Under the programme, women are also trained to give digital literacy to their gender. Such trained ambassador would further train others across 2-4 neighbouring villages.

Besides Internet Saathi, Google has several programmes such as ‘Grow with Google’ that enables students to set up a computer science lab at their schools.

Meanwhile, Tata Trusts has also set up Foundation For Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND) that allows companies and organisations to leverage the network of Internet Saathi for penetration of services and information in rural areas.

This will open up newer avenues of income generation for such women in villages. Currently, Internet Saathi programme is operational across 10 states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Haryana.

Of late, Google has been betting big on emerging markets such as India and Brazil through a slew of campaigns including Next Billion Users program. It ’s focused on helping the non-English speaking population in India.

The program is led by Caesar Sengupta with a team of about 120 people spread across Hyderabad, Zurich, and Singapore. The alphabet-owned company also launched free Wi-Fi service at railway stations in India in January 2016.

So far, it has connected over 400 Indian Railways stations with high-speed Internet service.

The development was reported by BusinessLine.

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