“The goal to digitally empower 1 Billion people in the long run is a lofty target something few organisations would have dreamt of. Digital is such an exciting space to be in in these times of #Digital India etal. The political establishment wants it, the nation is craving for it and nothing in the world has made it more equal than digital & ICT tools has.”

“Another thing I have been liking about DEF is its Open work culture. Osama sir never wanted a partition to be put as cubicles etc which must be unique. I have read and seen on tv Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook’s office to be this open. Openess also is equality.”

The 12th edition of the Manthan Award South Asia and Asia Pacific Gala was held in an all-new ‘unconference’ style on December 2, 2015 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. This year the Award felicitated 36 digital innovators selected out of 412 nominations received from 36 countries in South Asia and the Asia Pacific region. There were 27 winners, eight Special Mentions and one Juror’s Mention across 13 categories. Over the years, the Manthan Award has grown in scope and stature and today it is one of the most coveted awards for digital practitioners in this part of the world. The event began at 3 pm with more than 450 participants, speakers, delegates and award finalists — from all over South Asia and Asia Pacific region — registering at Charminar. In keeping with the style of the event, Charminar and the area around it was decorated in a village-theme, complete with hawker carts, well, charpoi, bamboo sticks, hay stacks…

During a recce for DigiKala, a project that DEF has recently initiated, in collaboration with Microsoft Corporate Citizenship, members of the organisation got a chance to meet Sarat Patra in Nuapatna, Odisha. A National Award winner Sarat is a talented handloom weaver who focuses on art and not the sale of his creations. Sarat’s wife and his younger brother are also National Award winners. In fact, the family has been weaving for generations and has several sarees that date back to 500 years ago. These sarees have been passed down the generations and is matter of great pride for them. The family has another rare but rather new collection of sarees and wall hangings that took three to seven years to be made. One particular wall hanging about the life of Buddha has been valued at Rs. 30 lakh by the Victoria Museum of London. Several other bridal sarees are priced for upto Rs. 7 lakh. Interestingly, the Victoria Museum has approached Sarat’s family…

52 Parindey is a project dedicated to finding and identifying 52 innovators who are making a conscious living for themselves and their planet through alternate careers in Indian towns. Under this project, starting end of November, a fellow, Rahul Karanpuriya, will travel across the country to cover 52 locations and spend a week at each of these locations. During these stays, Rahul will live with the identified innovator, understand his way of life and document it through videos, photographs and text. Let us now hear from Rahul why he decided to embark on this year-long journey. For human development, education is of prime importance. The real purpose of education is to lead to individual and moralistic development of every person. Education is a source of empowerment through which children hone independent thinking and, based on one’s passion, utilise their knowledge to earn a conscious livelihood. However, the modern education system has created such a competitive environment that children have little…

Through 3 projects 1350 micro entrepreneurs digitally empowered, more than 3500 Chanderi weavers  now use digital tools and have  e-commerce portal, more than 50 women entrepreneurs digitally trained.

Through 3 projects more than 1000 people made aware of Internet Rights, more than 30 grassroots women change leaders identified and honoured, more than Rs 30 million raised to help NGOs working for women’s empowerment.

Through 6 projects more than 5000 ICTD innovators discovered and honoured. A knowledge hub and repository of thousands of best practices in use of digital tools for development has been created.

Recent News & Activites


SM4E feliciates 19 Winners & 4 Special Mentions

On March 15, 2016, DEF and the FNF— with the strategic partnership of Twitter — organised the 3rd Social Media for Empowerment Awards and Summit at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Earlier in the day, a packed house was welcomed for the inaugural session by DEF Founder-Director Osama Manzar who broke some myths with his first few sentences.

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Interactive session

Young entrepreneurs share success stories at SM4E

The session was part of a day-long schedule — which included panel discussion on various topics related to the use of social media —of Social Media for Empowerment Awards & Summit 2016, organised by Digital Empowerment Foundation in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

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‘Individual Rights & Social Media’ leaves a lot to think about

DEF and Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF) organised a 90-minute panel discussion that brought together some pre-eminent thinkers and academics of the individual’s rights in the digital medium specifically on the topics of access, openness, security, privacy, policy, regulation and ethics.

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You teach a man, you teach a man. You teach a woman, you teach a generation

This year’s theme for the International Women’s Day was Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality. In line with that, we decided to reflect upon how we as an organisation have helped individuals, societies and communities to move towards gender parity in whatever way — big or small.

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Lead story - Inside page

Bringing tribal communities into mainstream

Vijay Roy, who lives with the Sahariya tribe in Baran district of Rajasthan, was trained in 2008 to establish wireless networks through the Wireless for Communities (W4C) project run by the Digital Empowerment Foundation. Today, the 28-year-old young man looks after seven Community Information Resource Centres (CIRCs)

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