Presenting START, GOAL, Digital Sarthak, SkillBot and Maker’s Space: Inspiring Innovations for an Empowering, Democratic and Inclusive Technological Society

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Corporate Author
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations [PRESENTATION] // Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) has been making use of many innovative methods and technologies to democratize innovation, upskill, build resilience and foster lifelong learning in rural India with a special focus on marginalized communities. We would like to showcase some of our innovations here. // START: A digital learning and Media & Information Literacy (MIL) toolkit, designed exclusively for first-generation technology users to promote digital inclusion and fight information poverty. It is a 45-hour digital learning curriculum that covers 30 topics ranging from basics of computers, use of applications, MIL and online security and safety, among others. The pedagogy for START focuses on hands-on training and workshops in rural and tribal communities through activities and gamification of topics. // GOAL (Going Online as Leaders): A program to connect urban volunteers with rural women online to provide them guidance and support in digital skills to bridge the information gap. This technology-enabled mentorship program was adopted by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India and is now being replicated in several states. The data comparing baseline and endline show that beneficiaries of GOAL show higher interest in pursuing higher education, greater self-confidence, improved communication skills and aspiration to become changemakers. // Digital Sarthak: This program demonstrates how digital literacy through the community network model can be an important strategy to achieve a replicable model of local economic development. 100 rural women were trained to further train 500 women-led Community Development Organizations (CDOs) and 10000 rural women entrepreneurs in the first stage. The program placed women in active roles in the information eco-system that further improved their confidence and capacity. // SkillBot: A self-learning chatbot built on the free and open-source Telegram platform. Telegram provides free backend technical support and chatbot feature. SkillBot was developed by DEF and Commonwealth of Learning to teach digital literacy, financial literacy, citizen services and data management to rural youth and artisans. SkillBot is multilingual and employs tutorial lessons, audio graphics, infographics, flashcards, interactive quizzes and activities for teaching. Skil Bot thus provides an accessible, easy to understand platform for skilling. // Maker's Space is an initiative where physical centres equipped with STEM learning and digital skilling tools are created in DEF’s community information centres at the remotest locations. Maker's Space facilitates an unstructured learning space supported by digital/STEM tools that allow children and youth, especially persons with disabilities, to take ownership of their learning and create innovative solutions for their communities." // Paper ID 9404

Skills Development,Community Learning,Innovation,Mentorship,Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),Inclusive Education,Lifelong Learning