Google's Internet Saathi Digital Literacy Programme Reaches 100,000 Villages in India

Google's Internet Saathi Digital Literacy Programme Reaches 100,000 Villages in India
Highlights
  • Internet Saathi project aims to extend digital literacy to villages
  • Google's project has already reached 100,000 villages
  • The initiative has already shaped lives of more than 10 million women
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Over ten million women in India have Google to thank for making them more aware of the benefits the Internet offers them. Two years after Google announced the Internet Saathi program, an initiative to bring digital literacy to women in rural parts of India, the company says it has already reached 100,000 villages.

That's a major milestone for Google, which is working in conjunction with Tata Trusts on the Internet Saathi program. Through the Internet Saathi program, Google is trying to address a major gender-gap problem India faces on the Internet. Even as about 400 million people use Internet in the country, only a small portion of this constitutes of women.

A report by UK consultancy We Are Social, for instance, noted last year that only 24 percent of Facebook users in India were women. When you move to rural areas, things look more dismal. A report from The Boston Consulting Group from last year suggested that 98 percent of Internet users in rural India are men. In comparison, 79 percent of users in cities were estimated to be men.

Over 25,000 fully trained Internet Saathis, volunteers who are meeting women in villages and then coaching them, are helping Google serve women in ten Indian states, including Bihar and Haryana, two states where the company recently expanded its project. Internet Saathis have already served more than 8,000 villages in Haryana and Bihar states, the company said. Google plans to expand the project to another 200,000 villages.

The women who are participating in the Internet Saathi project are reporting impressive progress, according to IPSOS, a marketing research company. Nearly 90 percent of them said the trainings have helped them have a better understanding of Internet and more than 30 percent of them realised that using the Internet could help them improve their financial condition.

“We’re delighted with the progress we have made with the Internet Saathi model, and it is remarkable to see the passion of these women learning about the Internet, not just for their own needs but for their families, kids and their communities," Sapna Chadha, Director Marketing, South East Asia and India, Google said in a statement. "Internet Saathis are now increasingly seen as change agents in their villages and continue to find more support from the communities and village heads for their work.”

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Further reading: Internet saathi, Google, Internet, Villages
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