CATEGORY : EDUCATION
Project Name : Mahila Shakti – Mobile as an Education Tool for Women
Organization : Human Welfare Association
Overview : Through the use of mobile and mobile-based in-built applications, Mahila Shakti empowers the most disadvantaged sections of rural women through educational initiatives. Varanasi is famous for its handloom sarees, made by traditional skilled artisans. Nevertheless, the area has widespread illiteracy. In order to make people literate and arm them with employable skills, Human Welfare Association (HWA) initiated “Mahila Shakti: “Mobile – a Tool for Women Empowerment with Education Initiatives”. It provides Internet facilities; women can learn easily through their mobile devices to increase business, improve their confidence and enhance their personal development.
Technology Approach : With the support of existing mobile application, women can learn and develop the quality of crunching numbers, maths skills and various other subjects. These are in-built features of a mobile device. The system aims to evaluate and analyze a user’s present situation and strength and determine a more feasible and appropriate alternative. This learning curve enables their participation in the socio-political processes, presently externally controlled. The process allows them to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate developmental programs and communicate with both NGOs and the government.
Outcome : The learning levels of women in subjects are divided in three levels. There are currently 40 villages in one Chiraigaon block involved in this educational initiative; in 40 educational villages and 20 educational centers in 20 villages, 1,024 are enrolled in the education center, attending the literacy class. Moreover, HWA has formed more than 100 women self-help groups. With support and facilities via mobile technology, women in rural areas can grow in multiple ways, leading themselves and the community to prosperity.
CATEGORY : BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE & FINANCIAL INCLUSION
Project Name : Livelihoods 360
Organization : Naandi Foundation
Overview : Livelihoods 360 provides backward and forward linkages to farmers. It aims for a capacity that encompasses 25,000 farmers in LEISA (Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture) practices. The project supports market development in agriculture, resulting in an increase in income for marginalized farmers. To this end, it is pushing for six million trees to be planted in three years, in order to improve farmers’ food security, nutrition, income, health, shelter, energy resources and environmental sustainability.
The Livelihoods 360 premise is capturing and documenting data regarding carbon sequestration projects under Haryali. The scope of the data ranges from capturing basic information to the number of trees needed, and what it will take to ensure the health and survival of the plant for the coming five years. To work toward this objective, the Naandi Foundation concentrated on the Coffee Procurement Cycle with coffee farmers to learn, document and collect the standardized process for coffee beans crop. This is to minimize the loss of produce and make remuneration for farmers more effective.
Technology Approach : Livelihoods 360 is based on enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. To accomplish this, the Naandi Foundation aligned with Concept Waves to design and develop an application that runs on basic J2ME-enabled mobile devices and supports end-to-end data management related to matters such as harvest estimates, actual number of harvest crop, processing details and all financial transactions. The system also provides a mechanism to capture various data across villages: farmer details, land details, crop details, literacy details, health and nutrition details, tree details—which taken together provide a holistic view of the village’s eco-system. The application works both offline and online, catering to lower Internet signal areas of India. The data is sent in real time to a centralized server over GPRS connection from various field sites. With all the captured data, the system can generate insightful quality and operation reports, while enabling online viewing.
Outcome : As of now, 11,078 farmers are registered with the system. The use of the application has decreased effort and time for yield estimation. Digitally stored data has now replaced physically collected data, significantly reducing the workload of farmers. The yield estimation period has reduced from 70 days to 45 days. The real-time data also help decrease the procurement cycle, for farmers have immediate access to useful information. All of this contributes to accurate resource planning for the cycle, which directly impacts the cost of production and the quality of the coffee produced.
Project Name: Tracking Livelihood Entitlements for Rural Communities (TERcoms)
Organization: Women Organization for Socio Cultural Awareness (WOSCA)
Overview : Orissa, one of the poorest states in India, has a tribal population of 44.52%. Of these, 76.96% are Below Poverty Line (BPL) with a 44.73% literacy rate. Due to lack of information, many from this population are unaware of their rights to benefits from the public distribution system (PDS) and pension schemes. To improve the situation, Women’s Organization for Social Cultural Awareness (WOSCA) created a mobile-based monitoring system – Tracking Entitlements for Rural Communities (TERComs) – that tracks the accuracy of important social protection delivery services entitled to the poor. The system aims to monitor three major social protection schemes: the National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (NREGS), PDS and Pension. Through mobile communication, TERComs attempts to improve the impartial system for those who may be excluded from the benefits and ensure they receive their due benefits.
Technology Approach : The system depends on the work of volunteers who track the activities in the villages. They use mobile devices to report the number of household members every month at the service delivery point in scheduled distribution dates. The project uses SMS or MMS to transfer information from the phone to a Management Information System (MIS) on a web application server. The server then generates reports based on the information received and also tracks various government schemes. The reports are shared with government officials, elected representatives and village communities for full transparency. This also creates pressure, for more impartial measures. The instant information-sharing in rural communities promotes participation and helps ensure the legitimacy of the government system in which those who are in a disadvantaged situation can benefit from the services.
Outcome : TERcoms allows village volunteers at service delivery points to track other government services. The system has impacted 87,000 families, whose access to public services has increased. 542 villages are aware of such entitlement through sharing real-time information. 1,234 community organizations access information and receive entitlement opportunities via TERComs. More and more families are receiving suitable employment and earning appropriate wages; the poor, the elderly, and the socially excluded are receiving proper entitlement to governmental services and are no longer excluded from the BPL list. Finally, the government has seized 4,854 fake PDS cards and many more are waiting to be revealed.
Project Name: Mera Swasthya – MeriAwaaz (My Health – My Voice)
Overview : Mera Swasthya – Meri Awaaz (My Health – My Voice), is a project that empowers maternal women by returning them their right to a free governmental health facility. Government of India over the years has attempted to reduce maternal mortality by providing free maternal health services in government health facilities. However, many of the facilities still illegally charge women with ‘informal fees’ for products and services that are deemed to be free. In improving the current system, MS-MA uses an interactive voice response (IVR) system via mobile telephones for these women to report issues of these informal fees, after which the report is then publicized onto a website. The system provides women with a more accessible facility and improves their right to the free governmental health service.
Mobile Approach : Instead of using SMS, email and tweets, all of which requires basic literacy, this open source software system, based on interactive voice response (IVR), is in local spoken language, which allows accessibility and ease of use for expectant mothers. It is used in combination with the Ushahidi platform that crowd sources information using multiple channels, collecting information from users and display it on an interactive map. User can use any mobile phone to call a toll free number that connects to SAHAYOG’s Lucknow office. The calls are transferred to Tropo which handles the IVR operation and sends the data to Ushahildi database, upon which the information is mapped onto the website. Through the use of a single call, the simple action in a complex system allows for a platform for these women to advocate their rights.
Outcome : Since November 2011, MS-MA has been implemented in two districts of Uttar Pradesh: Azamgarh and Mirzapur. During the first three months of the project launch, more than 140 reports of informal fees were reported. These reports are regularly analyzed and interpreted by communities and government officials, from which government action plans can be encouraged to help stop the informal fees and improve the public health care system.