Taking ICT from Classes to Masses Employment generation through ICT based Self Learning Kits ( for Rural and Urban youth)

Taking ICT from Classes to Masses Employment generation through ICT based Self Learning Kits ( for Rural and Urban youth)

India
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The business sector had significant changes as a result of economic reforms. It has improved the job prospects but only for skilled; but there is reduction in jobs for unskilled workforce. We are targeting at such chronic unemployment by developing skills in Information & Communication Technologies like Mapper through Community Service Centres, and NGOs. Mapper is developed as a self learning mapping tool kit (limited version of Geographical information system-GIS) which is useful for data recording, updating, analysing parameters of natural & human resources in a village or a cluster of village in rural context and in a ward / slums or a cluster of the same in urban context. This ICT education can open the way to other ICT related opportunities and services for communities’livelihood.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Rural Population /Rural Youth: Mapping their resources, infrastructure and necessities is paramount for rural people to address the main issues concerning the development of their locality to government and development agencies. Rural youth will be able to be employed in one’s own locality. Here community service centers can play key role of grouping the youth and providing them with infrastructure for learning. NGOs: They require local data on large which cannot be obtained from any other source with the villagers. With up-to-date and not biased information, NGOs will have the necessary information to address the real needs of the population and take appropriate decisions with other development stakeholders. Rural BPOs and IT Centers: These centers are of great importance because every individual do not access to IT infrastructure. Promotion and expansion of their basket of services will increase their sustainability. Govt. Agencies: Having access to a database that shares data resources, reduces information duplication, and increases data accuracy. Streamline processes to increase efficiency, automate tasks, and save time and money. Government Agencies will not have to send their own employees to collect rural data or collaborate with CSCs for collecting and updating the data. Environment Activists: They will be able to have access to data flows concerning natural resources and keep up with their status. It will give them pertinent information to negotiate with public bodies and intervene in the decision-making process. Villagers can maintain their traditional knowledge by developing biodiversity register. Academicians and research agencies: GIS will lower the research costs by providing institutions with shared-data resources. Research will be more accurate, being made with up-to-date data directly transmitted from the field.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

An innovative integrated approach. a.Skill development for under privileged: The overwhelming majority of the work force, not only in rural areas but also in urban areas, does not possess any identifiable marketable skill. With ICT like Mapper whose usability is so evident that population will have no reason to stop using it. This tool will take ICT and GIS from Classes to Masses. b.Educational Dropouts: The self learning tool kit requires no specialised qualification. Person who can read and write or has minimal education (10th or 12th) can use the kit. c.Participatory Approach: Rural people are not included in the decision & planning process. We prepared mapper by involving people views and their need to get involved in decision and planning process of their region. This will not only upgrade their pupils in computer skill but job oriented computer skills. d.Interactive Tool:There are parameters like village - plot boundary, location of houses, roads, schools, Anganwadi (govt sponsored child-care & mother-care center in India), Public Health Centers, river, wells etc which are of everyday use. User can collect the data base, they can edit it, analysis can be seen. e.Language: Factor which makes this ICT tool innovative and unique is interface with local language. As this tool in available in regional languages it’s very useful for NGOs working in remote areas and governments dealing in regional languages. Currently, Mapper is available in 4 to 5 Indian languages and in Spanish. The application can be made available in any language within 15 days.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The primary activities of the project are as follows- Development of ICT based tool: ICTs have reached the rural sector through various CSCs already established and will be reaching through many others which are proposed. They have demand for the more technologies which are usable, practicable & application based / job oriented. This made us developed desktop application named Mapper which is useful at ward and village level. Development of self learning manual: Mapper tool can be used by 10th or 12th pass, it is made that simple. Mapper is developed in such a way that it is a very simple to understand, visually appealing and easy to operate ICT tool. Based on the field testing we are improving over the easiness of the manual. Field testing the utility: In the process of making Mapper more and more user friendly, it is important to understand the ground reality. So the testing is being done through our partner Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) through the information kiosk operated by them and through their partner networks. Dissemination of tool: To spread the awareness about this GIS based ICT tool and spreading its utility is our main activity. The key stakeholder in this process would be information kiosk franchise owner as this tool provide a sustainable income to him, rural youth directly contacted by information kiosk owner and get trained, NGO / Government who would use these skilled manpower to development projects, discussion for developing this as a Certificate course through Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is ongoing and we have also made Mapper available through direct sales. Creating awareness among the government organisations about such kind of tool is being carried through various projects undertaken by us.
About You
Organization:
Micro Technologies (India) Ltd
About You
First Name

Dr. Megha

Last Name

Phansalkar

Twitter
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Micro Technologies (India) Ltd

Organization Country

, MM

Country where this project is creating social impact

, MM

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

The social problems faced by the country were always melancholic for the like minded development professional in micro team and its partners. They used to get disturbed by the news which appeared everyday like “Youth of India committed suicide because of unemployment”. ‘Schoolboy commits suicide after failing exam’. We felt like tackling the problem by our expertise and concentrated on following points.
•Promoting self-employment through greater access to assets.
•Better designed labour.
•Education and skills training to the youths.
•Practicality of the curriculum needs to be addressed.
• Mode of education should be modified (photography, field visit, experimental, software interface, computer simulations) so that it will never be thought as burden but fun to study and also leading to more practical approach.
• This made us coordinate with like minded people like Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF). We together have worked on computer literacy and the Internet penetration in the rural areas of the Maharashtra state. We have conducted workshops for almost 100 Gram Panchayats (Village level governing body). These workshops made them aware of new methodologies for rural development by utilising the power of ICTs.
Views: “The project will help us promote our products and also understand various techniques to resolve our problems,” says Yuvaraj Dhondu Morane village. Sadesh Raje, villager said “This will bring about a revolutionary change in the way a village panchayat functions”.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

For example: CSC owner buy 5 Mapper tools for his 5 PCs at 1100Rs each and trains 40 student in a month at fees 500 each he get profit of 4500 Rs. with this below are few example. Village level: In a village of Ratnagiri district data was collected the as per the instructions given in self learning kit. This data was entered into the Mapper software by the village youth. The Gram Panchayat members appreciated the facility as they were happy to take the decision based on the data analysis done and presented electronically. This reduced the prejudiced views which usually affected the system.
LAP Project / Digital Panchayat: Micro technologies (MT) and Digital Empowerment foundation in collaboration did the Local area portal (LAP) project. Under LAP project, we collected village resource information through locals, generate local village website, prepared participatory maps through the self learning kit and uploaded the content on the local area portal website. The mapping tools used have multilingual interface in the local Marathi language and thus multiple Gram Panchayats from Maharashtra are pioneering this project.
City Sanitation Plan: On larger scale Mapper is used for slum and ward level planning by MT while developing the city sanitation plan for four cities viz. Astha, Raisan, Khajuraho and Gwalior of Madhya Pradesh state, India. The local youth has collected the data on water and sanitation facilities of the respective wards / slums. Here Mapper was used by a Vienna based NGO-CEMDs at ward level
Field Testing the Self Learning kit in the information kiosk: In Collaboration with DEF utility of the self learning kit to generate employment is field tested in three centres one in Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh state) and two in Uttarkhand states. A set of five self learning kits are given to each of these centres and the centre owner intends to use them as a revenue generation model for his centre by. Further they would take up projects from government and NGO and provide services to collect data in tabular and map format and employ the trained youth.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

We will be looking on following activities for the project evolution:
Creation of Global infrastructure framework of GIS system
Identifying primary business partners and distributing discreet responsibilities viz. creation of manuals, its distribution, networking and marketing.Figure out and reach business targets. Potential targets groups: NGOs, BPOs, ICT Centers, Freelancer IT groups. Figure out Revenue structure. Consolidating the network by creating a good piloted co-ordination system in place.
Deliverables / Output
Successful and easy to use 4 level GIS training manuals. Reaching out to various NGOs, BPOs and Rural people. Creating awareness in villages. GIS training to various government institutions and departments to disseminate data flow for different sectors.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Hassles: The students may not find jobs related to the skills as it will be first of its kind.
Solutions: Network with NGOs, government and companies. They can be made aware of the abilities of these students.
Hassles: Module can be difficult to learn
Solutions: Though it is developed as self learning kit there is a possibility that some may find it difficult to understand. In such case we will be regularly carrying out field testing. This will help us in updating it and making it more user friendly
Hassles: Information kiosk may not find enough takers
Solutions: The cost can be kept minimal.
Hassles: Compatibility with other GIS software’s is not available
Solutions: In process to overcome this problem
Hassles: Output is restricted to image format
Solutions: In process to overcome this problem
Hassles: Sustainability of Information Kiosks/CSCs/rural BPOs where Mapper is usable
Solutions: There is a concern over sustainability of Rural BPOs / information kiosks/CSCs as they have to find continuous work so that they can sustain. In such cases where the kiosks owner has some computers along with him with internet facility, he can charge the student for learning ICT tool like Mapper, he can collaborate with local governing bodies for their data collection, updation and charge them for the same. Along with this, he can sell this information to local NGOs who are working in the region. In this way, he can sustain rather grow his kiosks.

Tell us about your partnerships

In the process we had following partners supporting the project.
A. Micro Technologies (India) Ltd: Micro Technologies (India) Ltd. is an IT based company, a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of security devices for its clients across the globe. This being a group of companies following is the subsidiaries who are involved in this project.
• Micro Associates Consultancy (India) Pvt. Ltd. (MAC) incorporated in India under provision of company act, 1956. It is engaged in development ranges in GIS based products catering to various segment rights from government and non-government agencies. Micro Associate has developed user friendly GIS tools named Mapper, DatMap.
• Micro Tech Global foundation (MTGF): We are non-profitable, self sustaining organization which aims to come up with encouraging steps that helps in promoting, overall development of every Indian, the interest of underprivileged people to fight the odds, and promoting research in technological developments. MTGF provides educational support to economically backward bright students who are steadfast to give back to the society. This is perhaps one of the best ways to build “role models” in their specific local communities.
B. Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) is non-government organization is incorporated in India under the Societies Registration Act XXI, of 1860. It is working on Digital Panchayat (DP), a functional and dynamic digital platform and working station designed and created for each and every Panchayat in India, powered by Internet. The objective is to facilitate and improve Panchayat functioning on day-to-day basis, through two way flow of information and content. The goal is to realize various development objectives at grassroots level.

Explain your selections

The project is supported by like minded people. Micro-technologies a business firm indirectly supports the project by supporting two of their subsidiaries for working in this field. One of the subsidiaries is Micro Associates Consultancy whose main intention was to develop the technology which will greatly help in bridging the rural and urban divide. Hence they are committed to give the technical support for preparation of the Mapper.
Second is Micro Tech Global foundation who has willingness to work in uplifting the under privileged. They are non-profitable, self sustaining organization which aims to come up with encouraging steps that helps in promoting, overall development of every Indian, the interest of underprivileged people to fight the odds, and promoting research in technological developments. This attitude of the foundation was of immense help in taking the project ahead from just an idea.
Lastly, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) who had objectives like empower citizens of every panchayat with bottom up and top down information and content; to improve development and governance of public service delivery at Panchayat level through information on policy programmes and implementation; Create a digital data house at every Panchayat level; to facilitate growth of Panchayat economy through promotion of Panchayat tourism, e-commerce of local produce; to put every Panchayat on the global digital map; to generate an ICT environment in every panchayat and last but not least to give fillip to the Right to Information campaign.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

We will be focusing on spreading awareness about the Mapper, along with our partners we will motivate panchayats, for e-governance thus.
We are also looking for systematic planning of rural sector BPOs as they are the most neglected sector for development work. They can have this facility for analysing the gaps in their basic necessities which can keep updated and rationally demand their requirements to the government.
On the other hand, we planned to start a vocational course for under privileged sections of the society. As mentioned before we have initiated discussion with IGNOU and related universities who can provide such kind of vocational education. This can be a certificate course with proper authenticity. Having done that we are planning to scale up across the globe starting with south Asia.
To achieve all above we are strongly working on the limitations and problems areas so that the system became more effective. We are in a process of research and development so that we have different types of outputs from the Mapper along with increasing the compatibility. Along with this either reducing or maintaining the low cost of the technology. We are also planning to have field visits at different locations of the country for capacity building and for understanding the ground reality, technical problems occurred by users. This will in turn help us in modifying the technology. Meanwhile build up strong network with NGOs and government organisation and promote the ability of Mapper technology and its operator thus helping them get right kind of jobs.

Challenges
Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of skills/training

SECONDARY

Restricted access to new markets

TERTIARY

Lack of access to information and networks

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Lack of skill/training: We are trying to develop the skill set rather demand based ICT, GIS skill set by which they can market themselves.

Restricted Access to new market: Rural people are just aware of traditional professions like doctor, engineer, lawyers and few others. But they find impossible to go for such options as their educational fees are too high and tough studies. Thus we intend to make them aware about different employment opportunities through ICTs.

Lack of access to information and networks: We are working with CSCs as they provide computers and internet to the rural sectors. We are also networking with different agencies creating awareness among them which in turn will increase the opportunities of GIS worker.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

SECONDARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

TERTIARY

Grown geographic reach: Multi-country

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Influence other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices: We are motivating the government agency to use such useful software and reduce their fear about computer use. We are making them understand the importance of analysis and planning which they can do through such simple modern technologies.
Enhance existing impact through addition of complementary services: We are continuously working on the hassle of the technology. Each field testing exercise adds updations to the usability of the software.
Grow geographic reach to multi country: We are making Mapper available on site for download so that it is available to globally. Through our international reference we plan to disseminate it further.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

NGOs/Nonprofits.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF): It helped us to
• Understand about comprehensive and dynamic local language content and the online platform requirement.
• Develop bilingual or multilingual information.
The self learning manual content has been developed by the Team of DEF. With a wide experience of working with Rural and Urban youth on skill development and ICT, this organization has been able to put the learning material in an easy to understand and interactive learning material.

Micro Tech Global Foundation: Micro tech global foundation is a self generating nonprofit organization, set up with the vision to give a helping hand to “Have Nots”. In this regard they conduct workshops, seminar, arrange sport activities, appropriate training for job opportunities.

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