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Tata, Google partner to launch “Internet Saathi” programme for women

MUMBAI: Tata Trusts and Google India
have partnered to launch a special
programme called “Internet Saathi”
to empower women and their
communities in rural India by enabling
them to use the internet and benefit
from it in their daily lives.
The joint initiative is aimed at
bridging the technology gender divide,
which currently puts women in rural
India at further risk of getting
marginalised in the society as the
world around them benefits from
getting online.
The initiative will provide basic
training on the usage and benefits of
internet for women through specially
designed Internet cycle carts which
will be used to visit areas in villages
where women can easily access and
also learn more from the Internet.
Built on the back of a cycle, the Cart
is modeled on India’s traditional
distribution system that is used to
carry everything from ice-cream to
industrial supplies. The operator or
the “Internet Saathi” keen to train
the women, would be akin to the
village postman who was the single
point contact for the village with the
outside world both in terms of
information as well as communication.
Tata Trusts, with its vast field based
ecosystem, will manage the on-
ground rollout with its partners
whereas Google will invest in
providing the Internet-enabled Carts
and the training content.
Speaking about the initiative with
Tata Trusts, Google South East Asia
and India VP and managing director
Rajan Anandan said, “While women are
making rapid progress on adoption of
Internet in urban areas, women in
rural India are getting left behind.
Today only 12% of Internet users in
rural India are women. We need to
come together to address this
challenge and empower women in rural
India through training and programs
that can truly transform their lives.
We are delighted to partner with the
most respected and well known Tata
Trusts who have years of experience
in managing programs of this scale. By
combining our strengths, I am
confident that we can achieve great
results and overcome the challenges
of providing easy access and digital
education to women in rural India.”
“Tata Trusts strongly believes that
innovative use of technology should be
at the core of all its interventions
that are undertaken for the benefit
of the communities. Internet
connectivity has become a
fundamental need in any society and
improves literacy and access to
information that is instrumental for
socio-economic development. We are
glad that this joint initiative with
Google will reach out to the rural
communities, especially women in our
country and we are confident that it
will contribute towards their
empowerment and also self-
sustenance,” said Tata Trusts
executive trustee R Venkataramanan.
The initiative will kick off from
Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkhand
and will be rolled out across the
country eventually reaching out to
over 4500 villages and 5 lakh women
and rural communities across rural
India over the next 18 months. The
Internet Cart would be available in
the village for a minimum of two days
every week for over a period of four
to six months. It will create
awareness and also try to ensure that
adequate training is provided to use
the devices till women are confident
of using the devices independently.
Once the cart has completed the
training in a cluster of three villages,
it will be moved to the adjoining
cluster for completion of a similar
cycle. The training of women and the
community at large would be ensured
by involving SHG federations / local
NGO members as trainers.
The initiative will also be supported by
Intel who has been a long term
partner of Google India’s Helping
Women Get Online initiative.
“We believe that the vision of Digital
India will empower every Indian
citizen with equal opportunities
irrespective of cast, creed and
gender. At Intel we believe that skill
development and innovation are
imperative for realizing the Digital
India vision and we are very proud to
collaborate with Google and Tata
Trusts on the ‘Helping Women Get
Online’ initiative especially as we
celebrate the Digital India Week,”
said Intel Vice President SMG, MD –
South Asia Debjani Ghosh.
Google’s helping women get online is
an initiative to create awareness
about the benefits of Internet
amongst 50 million women in India.
Under this initiative, Google conducts
various outreach and educational
programmes. The programme includes
an awareness module, coupled with
hands-on training modules aimed at
teaching women how to use the
internet, including via mobile devices.
Since the launch of this initiative,
Google has directly trained over 1.5
million women on the basics of the

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