February 27, 2024

Digital Swaraj Fellowship is a one-year experiential leadership journey to bring about a digital transformation at the grassroots. It is an opportunity for India’s youth to contribute to society as a digital change leader. The fellows will have hands-on exposure to the rural digital landscape and work on innovative solutions to bring digital access to the underserved, unconnected, and marginalized communities. The experience will provide a comprehensive understanding of grassroots realities to the fellows. equipping them to become agents of social change. It will enable them to harness the potential of ‘Digital’ to bring ‘Digital Swaraj’

2002

17,000,000

people with access to the internet

2022

700,000,000

people with access to the internet

The difference now is that the 98.5% who did not have access to the Internet in 2002 were not in complete information darkness, but in this hyper-connected post-COVID world, the 50% who are not online are in complete information darkness.

Today digital tools and connectivity are the most important and democratic tools to pull people out of deprivation and provide them with equitable access to information about education, health, livelihood, governance, rights and more. Almost every piece of information is parked online. Governance has moved to e-Governance. Access to entitlements is now available through the online route.

However, there is still a large populace of rural Indians who don’t have access to the Internet. We understand the importance of providing people with connectivity, to make people digitally literate, to encourage people to adopt digital tools and to establish connectivity as basic infrastructure.

Within this context, there is huge scope for the digital to create a big impact at the grassroots level bringing in access to information and digital knowhow to the communities by connecting them to the larger world digitally. For this, the digitally equipped youth have a huge role to play by working with communities to bring out a digital revolution at the grassroots.

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) is a Delhi-based nonprofit organization working towards empowering people to gain access to better healthcare, education, skills and livelihood opportunities through digital literacy and digital tools. The organization’s main focus is to make technology easily accessible to the masses, to empower women, youth, persons with disabilities and the elderly through providing functional digital literacy, media literacy, and digital up-skilling across agriculture, micro and nano-business, health, education, livelihood, and entrepreneurial skills. Over the last 20 years, the organization has been actively engaged in digitally empowering local communities through its 2,000 Community Information Resource Centers. These centers are supported by a widespread network of 10,000 digital foot soldiers located across 24 states and 135 districts in rural, tribal, marginalized and unreached areas. DEF has directly impacted the lives of more than 30 million people including people from below the poverty line, women, artisans, youth, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.