Enhancing Rural Livelihood by Empowering Women in Digitization and Documentation.

The focus of this project will be to develop internet literacy among rural women through training that would improve the quality of life

Photo of Dilip Surkar Director, VIKSAT
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  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

VIKSAT (An Activity of Nehru Foundation for Development)

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $1mil - $5mil

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50,000 - 100,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Location(s) of impact

India: Gujarat



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Twitter URL


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Only one-third of India’s online users are women. As part of Google’s ‘Helping Women Get Online’. VIKSAT in association with TATA Trust began ‘Internet Saathi’ (IS) project to reach out to rural women in the tribal districts of Gujarat. Bridging this technology and knowledge gender gap was essential to empower women and help them from any further marginalization and risk of discrimination. The project trained ‘Saathis’ on the use of internet who in turn took the responsibility to teach other women in their villages.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Till date we have reached out about 33,000 women in 90 villages. Second phase of the program has already begun in other field areas. However, we are more inclined in creating a ‘Knowledge and Training Centre’ (KTC) that would provide a thorough training set up and help us invest in a rigorous Communication Technology and internet literacy program. Apart from "Internet Saathi" VIKSAT will include women Self Help Groups from its four field offices who are actively involved in Enterprise activities, rural and agricultural development, NRM based livelihoods, Environment conservation, and are financially literate running their own intra-loaning system. The KTC will be a one-stop place expanding on the IS program where the women will get to learn everything about the Internet i.e. accurate use of search engines, youtube, getting assistance on Govt. Schemes, put their products online to buy/sell, online banking, Children education, Agricultural Innovations in Local language (Gujarati).

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

As mentioned above we have reached out 33,000 women in about 90 villages, where we have seen it impact numerous women and helped them become independent in terms of gaining access to information. Women with the help of internet especially YouTube videos have learned to design and create cloth bags, purses, mobile phone covers, wall hangings, decorative pieces so on and so forth. This has led to women gaining the confidence and building their entrepreneurial capacity. We have also recorded women using online platforms to gain more information and knowledge on various agricultural practices, and new governmental schemes so on and so forth. Therefore, the project has definitely created a social impact on the women in the one year of the pilot project and has the potential to have an environmental and socio-economic impact through access to information on innovative techniques and methods and markets, respectively, on scaling up. Importantly all they can do in local language also.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

2. Grants VIKSAT received Grants from TATA Trust for the "Internet Saathi" pilot initiatives in the tribal talukas of Gujarat, India. The implementation and use of ICT in rural areas is obviously associated with the cost that requires for maintenance of Knowledge and Training Centre (KTC). Initially VIKSAT will run this programme on no profit-loss basis for about 1 or 2 years. Once, community starts understanding the benefits of the use of the ICT, the KTC will charge nominal price for certain services like internet access, Govt. registration for various schemes, job applications, printing of some documents etc. VIKSAT strongly believes that its promoted PIs will run the KTC program smoothly once they build their capacity. VIKSAT is receiving no other support other than this grant.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

The idea of the project is to build on the existing "Internet Saathi" (IS) pilot project and expand on it by reaching out to more women through VIKSAT promoted SHGs and ISs and create a one-stop place for training on internet. This program will not only help women to get basic of ICT that they are receiving through the IS program but in-depth access and understanding of the internet for their own benefit in terms of agriculture, rural, Educational, socio-economic, and environmental development.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Self Help Groups (SHGs) and micro enterprise are found to be a powerful medium for mainstreaming of women. VIKSATs' research in livelihood programs clearly showed that women were concerned about livelihood enhancement, were capable leaders just as men. This inspired VIKSAT to take this ICT program forward in the project areas where VIKSAT has been working for more than forty years. Many women farmers in VIKSAT project areas are cultivating vegetables, spices and are involved in other non-agricultural livelihood activities. If we train these women SHGs on ICT, they can get access to regional market to sell their produce. Women have a broader perspective on their needs and wants and set their priorities accordingly which allows them to choose new avenues and learn new things. Thus through this initiative women can connect, contribute and collaborate for better livelihoods.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Nestlé page or contact
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Attachments (2)

VIKSAT Profile 2017.pdf

About VIKSAT VIKSAT was set up in the year 1977 as an activity of Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD) to take proactive steps to conserve the environment and to promote sustainable development through promoting sustainable institutions and interactions among them. Brief profile is attached herewith

VIKSAT Annual Report 2015-16.pdf

VIKSAT's latest Annual Report covering details about implemented pilot project "Internet Saathi", supported by TATA Trusts and Google, India.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rachel Biderman

Excellent initiative to be replicated around the world to empower women in poor and remote communities.

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