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Jul 16, 2019
5:06PM

Google India's 'Internet Saathi' programme to empower rural women

AIR PIC
Google India's 'Internet Saathi' programme aimed to empower rural women on how to use the Internet has now added two more states -- Punjab and Odisha. With this, the programme has now reached 2.6 lakh villages in 20 states. 

Launched as a pilot project in 2015, along with Tata Trusts, 'Internet Saathi' programme focuses on educating women on how to use the Internet. 

These women, in turn, impart training to other women in their community and neighbouring villages.

In the four-year journey, trained 70,000 "Internet Saathis" are using the Internet to drive positive change in their communities and have already benefited over 2.6 crore fellow women.

Neha Barjatya, Chief Internet Saathi, Google India, said that it is remarkable to see the passion of women in rural India, who are learning about the Internet, not just for their own needs but for their families, kids and their communities. 

While some have gone ahead and started their own micro-business such as stitching, honeybee farming and beauty parlour, many others are empowering their families and communities with new skills to enhance their livelihood. 

There are also those who are driving awareness for issues like girl child education, menstrual hygiene and more. 

In Punjab, the programme will cover around 5,000 villages. In Odisha, it will cover over 16,000 villages.

Raman Kalyanakrishnan, Head of Strategy at Tata Trusts, says that for inclusive growth and societal progress, it is imperative that women in rural India are provided with adequate opportunities and knowledge. 

This has been made possible through the Internet Saathi programme. 

In a recent study, Google interviewed over 2,500 people across rural India to understand the impact that providing access has on their livelihood. The study showed that about 70 per cent of Internet Saathis believe they are seen as a source of information in their village -- people are coming to them consistently for answers to help children with schoolwork, to learn new cooking recipes, search for jobs, or to run a business. 

Eight in 10 Saathis and their beneficiaries believe people in their village respect them more.

The study further says that nine in 10 women beneficiaries believe in a woman's right to express herself, and earn a living for her family while seven in 10 women who attended the trainings with the Saathis have seen an improvement in their children's education. 


Three in 10 Saathis and two in 10 beneficiaries have set up some form of business. This, in turn, has provided economic growth, with the business often earning between Rs 3,000-Rs 5,000 every month. 

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