Manthan 2015 – churning the pot of gender disparity:Every year, the Manthan Award recognises and celebrates digital innovators who use ICTs for social empowerment across South Asia (see my writeup on the winners from 2015, 2014 and 2013 ).The awards event this year also included an ‘unconference,’ where, instead of prepared presentations, the winners and finalists of the awards categories gathered together to share lessons, achievements, best practices, challenges and recommendations for the road ahead. Here are some takeaways from the brainstorming which I had the opportunity to facilitate, on women and digital empowerment.Read more
Digital innovation and social change: winners at the Manthan South Asia Awards 2015:
The 12th annual Manthan Conference and Awards for best South Asian Digital Content wrapped up in New Delhi this week with a new round of winners in 12 categories. It was an honour and delight for me to anchor the awards ceremony (though it was tricky as usual to ask the winners to make their acceptance remarks in exactly one word each!).This year, 27 winners were declared out of 57 finalists across 12 categories. They were picked after much jury discussion and debate…
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Apps to enable social change:
There are 12 million people in rural India who are either on the rolls of the government or elected members of local bodies, and all of them have cell phones. They can change India for the better.The country is on the cusp of an exponential increase in Internet penetration. According to several studies released by lobby group Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and consultancy firm KPMG, the number of Internet users in India is expected to grow from 200 million in 2013 to about 500 million in 2017.
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A hyperlocal social network for citizens to air their grievances:
Bengaluru: Living in Bengaluru, the fastest-growing urban area in India, has perils of its own. The city, which sees itself as the Silicon Valley of India, grew at a rate of 44.6% in the past decade and is estimated to be home to more than 20 million people by 2040, way above that of cities like Paris or countries like Switzerland.A state government-appointed three-member panel recently noted that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), a single central corporation that oversees the city’s governance
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Using GIS mapping to manage Wakf property:
There are around half a million Wakf properties in India, according to conservative estimates. These assets are created when a donation, either land, building or even cash, is given for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. The motive is to utilize the donation to benefit the weaker sections of the society and maintenance of the property. “The revenue generated from a Wakf property should be used for the social good of the weaker sections of the society, and not restricted to any religion,” said Naeem Ahmed, director, technical, and national programme co-ordinator, Wamsi, National Informatics Centre.
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Voice for the blind:
Siddalingeshwar Ingalagi was left blind at the age of four after his retina detached. Though the 24-year-old is literate, a simple thing such as reading news in his native language Kannada was not that easy for him. While any other 24-year-old would have accessed news over his smartphone, Ingalagi had to rely on TV or radio broadcasts. Though there is assistive technology to help the blind, it was mostly made for the English speakers. For regional speakers like Ingalagi, there was no good solution available.
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Showcasing the craftsmanship of slum dwellers at Dharavi:
Many a big brand has successfully tapped the online market. In this crowded space, a new e-commerce initiative is trying to make a mark, selling products made by residents of Mumbai’s Dharavi, considered to be one of the world’s largest slums. With the aim of showcasing the craftsmanship of slum dwellers and providing them easy access to the local and global markets, former journalist and urban planner Megha Paul started the initiative.
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