Google in partnership with Tata Trusts has announced “Internet Saathi” programme that aims to uplift women across 300,000 villages in India to learn about the benefits of Internet and how they can use it to improve their lives.
Using the train the trainer model, Google has equipped women in villages with smartphones and tablets, and as of today are over 30 thousand Saathis who have covered more than 110,000 villages across 12 states in India and reached out to over 12 million women.
We’re expanding the Internet Saathi programme to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for women in rural India. We are supporting the Foundation For Rural Entrepreneurship Development i.e. FREND. set up by Tata Trusts. Under this initiative, we will jointly work with Tata Trusts to deliver sustainable employment opportunities to Internet Saathis, by opening up the Internet Saathi network for other organisations to further the cause of socio-economic development of rural India,” Sapna Chadha, Marketing Head, SEA & India, Google.
Millions of women across rural India are involved in an ongoing fight between social and cultural norms to pursue their ambitions and learn further and according to Google in this environment, they see the Internet as a force to learn and create a better future for their families.
Google believes that FREND will become a vehicle for other like-minded companies and institutions to utilise the Internet Saathi network and enable dissemination of information and services in villages, thereby creating newer avenues of income for the women in rural India.
Over 12,000 Internet Saathis across India have voluntarily signed up for this new dimension of Internet Saathi. And in the past few months, some of these Saathis have successfully completed pilot programmes executing projects for Kantar, Nielsen, HP Printers, Tata Water Mission and Haqdarshak.
“We are grateful to Tata Trusts, our onground NGO partners and several Google volunteers who have contributed to the success of the Internet Saathi programme. We hope this new direction of the Internet Saathi program will contribute in empowering more women across rural India as we work with the Saathis to spread digital literacy and improve their livelihoods with Internet,” added Chadha.