A session on Mobile Content and Apps was held at the 4theNGO Challenge South Asia Conclave & Awards Gala organised by eNGO, Digital Empowerment Foundation and Public Interest Registry at Silver Oak 2 in India Habitat Centre on 9th October, 2015. Present were 20 people, including Panelists and NGO representatives.

The Panelists at the session were:

  • K. Dhanumjaya (Director, Thrive Solar Energy Pvt. Ltd.)
  • Madhura Dutta, (Executive Director, All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACWA))

The session was Moderated by:

  • Kumar AnuragPratap (CSR Leader Capgemini)

The session started with the Moderator, Mr. Kumar AnuragPratap, bringing our attention to the aims of the session: “to reach innovative NGOs”.

Mr. K. Dhanumjaya introduced his organisation and one of his projects called, “One Child, One Light” which is working towards providing clean energy to underprivileged children. He said they work on the principle of ‘“Eliminating the darkness by providing the light.”

Ms. MadhuraDutta said AIACWAworks with the focus on livelihood and entrepreneurship development, and she was participating in the session with the hope to learn and share knowledge. She also added that problems, challenges and community is all same in the development sector, and she also added that working in the sector is crosscutting and now is the time for change as youth is coming to the forefront and innovative technology has also improved in recent times.

Following the introduction round, the NGO representatives started their presentations. The first one of them was from I Saksham.

I Saksham – Mr. AdityaTyagi

Mr. Tyagi introduced I Saksham, which is working in Naxalite area by providing education services to people in such buffer zones. Teaching children with basic mathematics skill and training youth with skill development through activities on specially designed apps using tabs is their ultimate motive, he said, and they are doing great in tracking every child’s performance through its apps. Mr. Tyagi then discussed the sustainability of the project and explained how they have tie ups with schools for modules and have regular evaluation system in place. The Panelists appreciated their efforts to reach out to children and youth through well-designed apps and methods.

Human Advocacy Centre, Katmandu, Nepal 

Mr. Nanda KishorMandal started with a heartfelt story of one late night when he reached his village to visit his parents. As he was heading towards his house, late that night, he encountered a women crying on the roadside, full of fear and panic. When he asked her why is was crying, he was shocked to know that the women had lost her way and had no medium to reach anyone in that desolated place and nor did she know whom to reach to. When he discussed this problem with his parents, they said it’s very normal and asked him to ignore it. Mr. Mandal then returned to his city, continued with his job for a few more years but couldn’t couldn’t stop thinking about that incident. Eventually, he quit his corporate job and came back to the village with a vision to digitally empower the villagers with proper access to technology. He started educating, empowering and employing them through providing digital access by creating six hotspots, 200 jobs and taught 5,000+ people to use digital communication. “Convincing the service provider was the most challenging part in the execution,” he said and the Panelists agreed that innovational changes can be brought through digital literacy.

Sound Of Silence 

Mr. AnujNarang presented how Sound of Silence works towards empowering the hearing-impaired individuals through mobile technology as a medium to communicate with them. They teach technology to hearing-impaired, enabling them to be employed for email & database marketing, data entry, chat-based operations and customer relationship management (CRM), among others. “Ours is a totally paper-free organisation as we take attendance online, train them online through social media and even update modules online,” exclaimed Sumit. One of the most interesting aspects to this project is that they also train through WhatsApp by assigning one person to the hearing impaired to act as buddy for them and communicate with each other. The Panelists thought the initiative is very innovative and well thought of. Mr. Pratap was forced to say why he didn’t get this very idea even though the problem is quite common.

Aide et Action – Mr. S BalaSatkurunathan

They run a school development program for tribal population through a specially-designed app called Guru-g. Guru-g is the world’s first gramified platform for teaching, training and certification. A login ID and password is provided to every child and the progress of the children is then tracked through the same. Mr. Bala is making ICT reach buffer areas. In terms of sustainability, Satkurunathansaid that they are supported by a few sponsors who keep them going in bringing the change through this good deed.

Mission Arogya – Ms. Rita Bhattacharjee

MahidebJuboSamajKallayanSamity, Kurigram, Bangladesh

Livestock Management System (LMS)

The project was initiated to transform poor farmers’ lives with smartphone based technology to improve their livelihoods. They work through an app which tracks cattle health, livestock is registered, and expert advice on cattle health is shared. On the basis of learning’s from LMS, MahidebJuboSamajKallayanSamity initiated a business model titled SHUROKKA.

JAAGO Foundation

JAAGO Foundation started with teaching only 17 slum children, but as those children began to ask for uniforms and proper books, that’s when JAAGO realised the seriousness of the task at hand and how it matters to those students. The foundation then started crowdsourcing funds, and people started sponsoring one poor kid by donating Rs. 500/- for each kid, which has now been raised to Rs. 2,000/-. A partnership was agreed upon with Unilever for providing the children with hygiene products. That’s how the foundation began and continued through this initiative of education for change. To spread out their wings and to reach more children, they started with the first online school in Bangladesh through video conferencing technology with a teacher from the urban area reaches children in rural areas where two facilitators from Jaago were present to guide the children and train the teachers through teaching modules. The panelists thought that this is a very good initiative to educate children where education is a far of dream.

NNOS Foundation 

NNOS Foundation’s Rural M-Health Non Communicable Disease, is a programwhich uses mobile phone technology to standardize and increase access to care. They explained how mobile application can be used for data collection, screening and analysis of the data. Patients identified through this app are referred medicines and their health is tracked. So far, they have screened 50,000 people in 24 villages and identified 400 patients to whom counseling treatment was given.

At the end of all the presentation, the Moderator concluded the session by expressing how much of a learning experience this session was, and by saying there is no limitation to the change that can be brought about through digital innovation.

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