DEF in partnership with the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) conducted a seven-day training on Functional IT Skills as a part of a Certificate Course in Development Management in Netrang, Gujarat, from March 29 – April 5, 2017. The training was attended by 31 tribal youth from remote villages of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh; 50 per cent of whom had never used a computer before or were first-time Internet users. To facilitate interactive learning, the training involved hands-on activities, games, quizzes and interactive experiments to teach how to operate Microsoft Office tools and mobile phone applications.
Google Maps, Gmail, e-shopping, Paytm, WhatsApp and social media platforms were a hit among the students as it gave them a lot of scope to use these apps in their day-to-day living.
During the workshop, behavioural change could be seen among the participants in terms of their knowledge, attitudes and practices on digital literacy and learning. It provided them relevant information and motivation through well-defined strategies, using a mix of tools and participatory methods. The strategies focused on the individuals for a change.
As a part of the social change process, the students focused on bringing a change in their respective tribal communities using digital literacy. After attending the digital literacy training, the students agreed that to change the behaviour of their community, certain cultural practices, societal norms and structural inequalities will have to be reconsidered and addressed, and people will have to be empowered to use digital mediums.
A similar training was conducted in support with the Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (BRLF) training programme in Ranchi, Jharkhand, from April 8-12, 2017.
India has achieved a literacy rate of 74 per cent (Census 2011) but the literacy rate of Scheduled Tribes continues to remain below the national average at 59 per cent. Recognising the deficiency in opportunities available to the tribal community, BRLF partnered with DEF to develop a digital literacy curriculum for a group of tribal youth from Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
The four-day training in Ranchi involved theoretical and practical knowledge of using computers, tablets and smartphones for personal and professional use. The training also included a visit to one of the Community Information Resource Centres (CIRCs) run by DEF to inspire and expose the participants — 35 young minds — to the power of ICT tools for development.