Engaging Communities in ICT for development initiatives
The whole act of engaging a community in the development process is about giving people a voice. While technology can only act as an enabler in providing services or alerting the social landscape with tailor-made interventions, the role of people and communities as active participants in the process of their development cannot be discounted.
This paper is based on the experiences and insights from six pilot initiatives under the ICT for Development (ICTD) Project, being implemented by the National Institute for Smart Government (NISG). 11 nation wide pilot initiatives that use ICTs are being implemented under the ICTD Project in areas of Integrated Citizen Services, rural governance, rural livelihoods and women's empowerment.
The projects featured in this paper are:
Ashwini: Implemented by Byrraju Foundation, this project seeks to enable a platform for multi-dimensional interaction between experts and service providers in towns/cities and defined target segments in 32 villages of the West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh in order to empower rural population through access to information and services.
DRISTI: Implemented by the West Bengal State Rural Development Agency, the Decentralised Rural Information Services and Technology Initiatives – DRISTI project aims to provide an IT based solution for all the major functions of Panchayats (village level administrative body) including micro-planning at village level at 20 Panchayat Samitis of Burdwan district and 50 Gram Panchayats under these Panchayat Samitis.
Mahiti-Mitra: Implemented by Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan, the project envisages the creation of ICT kiosks through the existing Setu centres, and developing the kiosks as a platform which enables the Gram Panchayat bodies and Gram Sabhas to access the various ICT technology applications. This will cover nearly 380 villages in the Kutch district of Gujarat.
Village Information Services (VIS): Implemented by the Gujarat Informatics Limited, the VIS (eGram) project seeks to integrate all the projects under the Government of Gujarat's e-Governance initiatives that are proposed to roll out in all the 18000 villages of Gujarat. The pilot will cover 100 villages in 5 Talukas (sub-district level) across 2 districts of Gujarat State.
Creating rural entrepreneurs through ICT enabled enterprise development services: Implemented by Development Alternatives, this initiative focuses on providing entrepreneurship opportunities in the areas of micro concrete roofing and non-farm based activity using natural recyclable poultry, to nearly 8000-9000 entrepreneurs from Bathinda Cluster, Punjab Tikamgarh Cluster and Bundelkhand in the pilot period.
Mahiti Manthana: Implemented by IT for Change, this project is situated in context of Mahila Samakhya (MS)