Osama Manzar is a global leader on the mission of eradicating information poverty from India and global south using digital tools. He is a social entrepreneur, author, columnist, impact speaker, angel investor, mentor, and sits on several government and policy committees in India and on international organisations working in the areas of Internet, access, and digital inclusion. With over 20 years experience, Osama has worked in the areas of journalism, new media, software enterprise and ended up creating Digital Empowerment Foundation that works in India to digitally empower the masses with a footprint of 200 locations and interventions in more than 10 countries, mostly in South Asia. His complete bio can be read here.
Shaifali Chikermane is an expert in creative design and is playing a leadership role within DEF to provide digital design-based solutions to the organisation’s various community-centric programmes, websites and publications. An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, she has a professional experience of over 20 years of experience. A designer and expert on information design, she is an enthusiastic volunteer for many educational institutes like the Aurobindo Ashram’s Mirambika School. Ms. Chikermane also works as a freelance designer and consultant, providing design and information development services to organisations.
Rajen Varada has been an ICT practitioner since 1995 and continues to be actively engaged in designing and implementing proof of concept solutions for rural development using technology and in particular ICT. He has developed solutions for health and early childhood care (Sisu Samrakshak – UNICEF), disaster (SMS4Help – Solution Exchange), district e-Governance (Parishkaram and Samadhan – government of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal), and most recently ‘Labnet’ — a migrant labour tracking and services portal. He has been actively involved for the past nine years in studying, evaluating and mentoring ICT innovations which impact the social sector. Mr. Varada has been one of the thinkers behind movements like public sector software in India, he and actively supports community ownership of technology – from community radio and community TV to open source applications.
Amir Ullah Khan is a Development Economist and a Senior Policy Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from Osmania University, and has studied at the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). He also holds a PhD in Economics and Business Studies from the Jamia Millia University, New Delhi. Mr. Khan has worked as a researcher for the Ministry of Finance under the Government of India, and the UNDP for Project LARGE (Legal Adjustments and Reforms for Globalising the Economy). He was been the Academic Head at the Indian School of Finance and Management, and the Executive Director & Editor for Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Mridula Chandra is a post-graduate from the Delhi School of Social Work and holds more than 20 years of experience in the social development sector. She is the moving force behind the Health & Social Development Research Centre (HSDRC). Anything that is visualised and successfully accomplished by HSDRC is due to the sustained, unabated and self-less efforts of Ms. Chandra and her colleagues.
Shalini Kala holds an Advanced Degree in Economics, and has worked on issues of agricultural policy reform in India for her M.Phil dissertation. She has 20 years of professional experience in the field of rural development, particularly in the areas of food and agriculture, focusing on knowledge networking, livelihoods and capacity building both in India and the Asia-Pacific region. Most recently, Ms. Kala was at the World Food Programme (WFP) where she worked on design, testing and advocacy of innovative approaches for food aid as a tool of development. She has also been associated with the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and has worked on various USAID projects.