W2E2: A Digital Inclusion Programme for Women in India
Rural women in India are being encouraged to set up their own businesses through a programme teaching them how to use computers and make the most of the Internet.
Wireless Women for Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (W2E2) is a programme designed to create women’s microlevel social enterprises based on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The programme was launched in May 2014 in five areas, Tura in Meghalaya, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Chanderi and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh, and Baran in Rajasthan. It is a follow-up to the activities fostered by the Wireless for Communities (W4C) programme, a joint initiative of the Digital Empowerment Foundation and the Internet Society, which provides low-cost high-quality Internet connectivity in remote, unconnected and rural areas of India.
The main objectives of the W2E2 programme were to:
- promote Internet-based social enterprises and entrepreneurship among women as change agents
- to use the Internet and ICT as a basis for gender inclusion in social and economic empowerment
- to boost the women’s traditional skills, helping them reach markets and ensure sustainability
Ten women were selected in each of the target areas to learn about computer hardware, the basics of Operating Systems and software, plus how to use a keyboard, mouse, monitor and the Internet.
The training lasted six months. After three months they joined a Google-sponsored programme Helping Women Go Online (HWGO) where they gave basic computer and Internet training to other women.
Rasomati Sarkar lives in Tehsil-Kishanganj in the Baran District of Rajasthan. She learned about computers through the 2E2 Programme and now she is teaching her new-found skills to the other women in her community.However, she is not just a trainer, she is also a campaigner; promoting the importance of computer education and digitalization. She also helps members of her community to fill out forms to apply for their old-age pension, to apply for their Adhaar number (necessary for the Indian biometric ID system), to carry out net banking, make ticket bookings and make ‘Right to information’ applications. She also gives information to community members about Government schemes.