ICT in women conciliation center: Strengthening e- governance to Life Long Learning Project

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Government of India has been focusing on many development and welfare programmes through direct interventions, grants and subsidies. Studies show that most of these programmes have limitations in reaching poorer sections of the rural society due to asymmetry in information and high transaction costs. The absence of single window system and high social, economic and financial transaction costs further enhance the problem. The Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) approach is attempting to address these issues. However, it has been clearly perceived that development can be achieved only through the empowerment of the communities. To achieve such an empowerment, social capital is vital. Social Capital represents the capacity of individuals to command scarce resources by virtue of their membership in networks, or broader social structures. Self-Help Groups (SHGs) represent a form of social capital. However most of the SHGs focus on microfinance and hence stress is given more to structured social capital. SHGs can contribute substantially to development process, if they are appropriately empowered in governance issues. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can play a major role in strengthening the awareness as well as interaction process. In particular, VIDIYAL the facilitating NGO based in Rasingapuram, Theni district of Tamil Nadu envisages the blending of computers and mobile phones since mobile phone can address last mile issues. Based on this the project implemented the following activities: 1. Promoting Self-Directed Learning in legal, constitutional and human rights among poor women using mobile phones. 2. Orienting the present Women Conciliation Centre with ICTs and enabling large scale interactions with less transaction cost. This would be done with the establishment of Village Knowledge Centres 3. Helping the women members identifying their eligibility in various development programme of state and central government using Indian Citizen Eligibility Identification System (ICLIS). 4. Strengthening the horizontal transfer of knowledge in legal, constitutional and human rights through structured mobile phone conversations among women The project partnered with Arul Anandar College, Karumathur, Madurai who helped to develop ICLIS (expand this) software package. . The other partners in the project are Legal Aid Cell, Government of Tamil Nadu, Commonwealth of Learning (COL), M. S. Swaminathan research Foundation (MSSRF) and AIRTEL-IFFCO. The experience of this project to help legal aid cells in various states as well as NALSA to reorient their programme and contribute in developing an innovative approach in National Legal Literacy Mission. The blending of access to development programme through ICLIS, microfinance, micro enterprises and legal empowerment with institutional support such as Women Conciliation Centre will help to define a new path in e-governance.

What do we deliver?

Through the ICLIS the details about who is eligible, the details about the welfare schemes, how to apply, the enclosures with the application and where they to apply,etc.

Whom we deliver?

Our Vidivelli women SHG federations in Theni Dt.Tamilandu are using. Besides we left the software in the open source.. so most of the people are using it. We are also giving the information to the public about the uses.


Vidiyal: a Knowledge Infomediary VIDIYAL’s experiences show that developing partnership and negotiation skills among the marginalized groups with various stakeholders is important in strengthening the empowerment process. Such skills can be enhanced only through flow of information in time and space. As a knowledge Infomediary we helped in contextualizing the generic information into locally relevant contents. Promoted community friendly delivery mechanism such as voice mail based learning method. Through dialogues and discourses among the women these contents were debated and internalized in the learning process. Similarly, it adopted a inclusive knowledge management approach, the indigenous knowledge of the local groups were validated with the help of experts and then shared among larger groups. It is important that the capacity building process should not be based on I Know- You Do Not Know-I Will Teach You approach. It should be based on interactive learning, mutually teaching and learning. A Knowledge Infomediary perceives the marginalized target group not as a beneficiary- not as a mere consumer of information but as a partner in knowledge management.


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