Empowering Women with ICT Skills

Empowering Women with ICT Skills

Chuzagang, BhutanThimphu, Bhutan
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

READ Bhutan aims to empower rural communities and create conditions for rural prosperity. We build public libraries in the community;conduct livelihood programs of which women empowerment is critical.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Royal Government of Bhutan provides free education to its citizens, but many families cannot afford to send their children to school owing to incidental expenses. For the same reason, the country has a high drop out cases, especially in remote areas. The drop out rate is even higher with the girls. Many parents stop sending their daughters to school once they complete certain standards. Therefore, many girls marry at very young age, have kids and stay home. Chuzagang in the southern district of Sarpang Bhutan is no different. There are so many girls who have completed their high/junior high school studies. Without skills, they remain home and solely depend on either their husbands or other employed family members. There are more than 2,000 women in the locality.

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

These women helplessly remain home since they lack jobs skills without which they can hardly find ways to earn additional income for the family. Being able to earn one's own livelihood is bestowing someone with a power - the power to change her and her family status. Realizing this, READ Bhutan in partnership with a local ICT firm - Athang Training Academy will train more than 500 women at Chuzagang village the basic accounting and provide them skills required to work part time in the burgeoning construction companies and other businesses. These women will also be introduced to the latest and modern form of accounting technologies. The training will be held in the READ Center at Chuzagang. The Center has a library, ICT section, Women and Children's section and a place where people can watch educational videos. Since the Center is located int the heart of the village, women can easily attend the training without much hassles or having to travel far to avail the training.
Impact: How does it Work

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

READ Bhutan believes that information is powerful tool to develop a community. For the same reason, in all our centers we provide information that empower communities. The current project - Empowering Women with ICT Skills will provide women at Chuzagang village with accounting skills. The training will begin from the basics of accounting principles and gradually introduce the women participants to simple balanced sheet, profit and loss account. The training will introduce the participants to more complex accounting tools such as Tally and QuickBook. The trainers from the Athang Training Academy will teach the first batch of women the basics and the first batch of women who have learnt the basics will then pass on the skills to the second batch of women. In the meantime, the trainers will continue teaching the first batch and cover more advanced topics in accounting. This way, the program will continue even without the trainers - women helping other women in the community. READ Bhutan will ensure that these women who have gained a fair level of skills get full time or part time employment in different companies. The three month long training will not disturb the normal work routine of these women as the sessions will be carried out during the off hours when the women are free at home.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The competitors in this project will be private ICT firms that carry out similar trainings, mostly just the basics. But in this we have the edge because our target is rural women with minimal income source whereas private ICT firms conduct their trainings only for urban people who can afford to pay money to avail the training. Moreover, Athang Training Academy is the foremost training institute in the country. While our program will be carried out in the rural villages, the private ICT firms concentrate their trainings only in the urban centers.
Team

Founding Story

READ Bhutan is an NGO that dedicates mostly with the setting up public libraries in the rural areas. And we do not just provide books in our centers, but conduct livelihood programs and programs that are critical to early childhood development. We also concentrate and spend a lot of efforts in creating community health and hygiene, of which women's health issues assume the prime importance. While conducting programs for the rural women, we realized that there are so many women who have dropped from schools, who now stay home, without much to do although they are willing to contribute to the family income. Today ICT is literally moving the world and through repeated meetings with the women in all our READ communities, we realized that these women are interested and keen to acquire ICT skills that will help them and their families. And what a small but good way than to empower women with ICT and provide them livelihood skills!
About You
Organization:
READ (Rural Education and Development) Bhutan
About You
First Name

Ngawang

Last Name

Phuntsho

About Your Organization
Organization Name

READ (Rural Education and Development) Bhutan

Organization Country

, THI, Thimphu

Country where this project is creating social impact

, SAR, Chuzagang

Age of Innovator

18-34

Gender of Innovator

Male

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

None

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Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost.

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)

Access to technology, Access to education/training, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

We believe that to change something big, we need to start doing small things. And it is small projects like this that will create a big impact on our women. We talk of empowering women and organize high level meetings and seminars, and spend millions to find out something that we already know exists. READ Bhutan thinks that it is through small trainings like this one that we can possibly and practically bring out a huge impact to the society in general. Empowering Women with ICT Skills will train and introduce women to modern technologies. This way we will be able to reduce the gap that exists between the privileged women who stay in the urban centers and their counterparts in the rural villages. Most of the projects READ Bhutan has undertaken have a strong women focus.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

The training program will provide skills to more than 500 women in Chuzagang and the neighboring villages. These skilled women will be able to find jobs either part or full time. As a result they will be in a position to earn additional income for the family. For the same reason, these women will now be able to send their children to schools and support them to get quality education. If this training proves successful and that we are able to find relevant jobs for the women trained through this program, we will replicate the programs and reach women in the other parts of the country and develop a highly skilled women workforce for the nation. This will truly be one women empowering project.

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

These women will be working at home and often household chores are never ending tasks. As a result the women will never be in a position to attend the training (even if it is provided free of cost) during the day when they also have to attend to their farm work. This is one of the greatest barrier to the training program. However, the program will be designed in such a way that it does not disrupt the normal household working schedule by conducting trainings in the evenings and on the weekends. The trainings can also be conducted on the holy days when people normally avoid working in the field. The most challenging barrier will be the acceptance of men - most will not like their wives being away from home. We will first educate men on the importance of such training and create awareness.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

We will have developed a course content, identified women participants and have one batch trained in the basics.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Develop a course content relevant to the women keeping mind the current market trend

Task 2

Identify target women and find out if they are willing to join the program

Task 3

Install relevant accounting software in the READ Center

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

In a year's time, we will have developed course content for the advanced training and will have 500 women trained in the basics

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Develop relevant course content for the advanced accounting training programs based on the ability of women shown in the basics

Task 2

Start train the trainers program that will teach a new batch of women participants

Task 3

Initiate advanced training programs for those who have completed the basics

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

We partner with various NGOs and local government agencies while implement projects. To carry out this program successfully, READ Bhutan will collaborate with Athang, the local ICT firm and the local government offices in Chuzagang. The community also has a women's group whose members are now more than two hundred. We will partner with the women's group to identify target women and to find out the relevancy and the level of training needed for different sections of women in the community. Finally we will partner with a local farmers' group Chuzagang Agricultural Farmers' Cooperative (CAFCO)

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

READ Bhutan needs help mostly in terms of investment, development of our human resource capacity. But we are also learning that collaboration is the best way to go about with any projects.