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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Google, Tata Trusts launch 'Internet Sathi' in West Bengal to empower rural women

KOLKATA: The Indian unit of search giant Google Inc and Tata Trusts launched 'Internet Saathi' program in West Bengal on Wednesday. The initiative will roll out from West Bengal's Purulia district and will focus on training women and larger communities in the state to learn and explore various uses and benefits of the Internet. Launched in July 2015, the program has trained and benefitted over 2 lakh women across villages in
Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The 'Internet Saathi' initiative is part of Google's 'Helping Women Get Online' campaign , which is designed to create awareness about the benefits of Internet among women in rural India. In West Bengal, the initiative will initially be rolled out to cover over 400 villages in Purulia district with an objective to reach 1 lakh women, the companies said in a joint statement. Tata Trusts will play a crucial role of training women master trainers identified from Self Help Groups and Women's federations which they oversee and facilitate through their on ground partners. Tata Trusts is amongst India's oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development. These master trainers are called "saathis" who then train more women in their own and neighbouring villages. Google will provide the mobile and tablet devices, the training material and also trains the master trainers. In order to drive broader access and continuity in usage after the training, Internet-enabled devices like tablets and smartphones are also made available within the school premises, community centres, self-help group meeting places, agriculture centres, PHCs, etc. for optimum exposure and learning amongst the community. "With only 1 out of 10 women able to access the internet in rural India, Internet Saathi initiative is aimed at creating an environment that empowers rural women and their communities to become change agents in rural India," said Sapna Chadha, Head of Marketing, Google India.

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