NASSCOM Foundation (NF) has spearheaded many programmes that leverage the power of ICT for the benefit of the society and development of communities as a whole.
NASSCOM Foundation works as the catalyst between the IT-BPO industry and the society by making opportunities accessible to the grassroots. NF has in India grown in terms of number of states it operates in and the number of organisations and individuals impacted. It has ensured to sustain a relevant purpose and vision by pioneering numerous innovative programmes and initiatives. NF aims to achieve this purpose through some of its various robust programs like NASSCOM Knowledge Network, ConnectIT and Poverty Alleviation Programme.
Building Capacities of the Underserved – NASSCOM Knowledge Network
The NASSCOM Knowledge Network (NKN) centres provide public access to Information and Communication Technologies for educational, livelihood, social and economic development.
NKN, a dynamic network of telecenters or knowledge centers across 646+ villages in 90 districts and 13 states of India, gained further momentum in the past year. The programme now boasts of 280+ NKN centres which have provided skills training to 30,000+ and reached over 1,44,000 community members since its inception. NASSCOM Foundation continues to draw up a long-term sustainability plans for the centers to provide content and services that address the needs of the local communities.
The NKN centres are set up and managed through multi stakeholder partnerships among NGOs, CBOs, for profit organizations and NASSCOM Foundation.
NF brings ICT infrastructure, content, connectivity, training, and strategic inputs for the programme with support from NASSCOM member companies and beyond. NF through its other programmes and partners assist with software and hardware donations.
Resource partner, mainly corporate, bring funds and socially relevant services for the centre.
NGOs provide human and other resources to run the centre.
Facilitating Livelihood Skills for the Under-served – Poverty Alleviation Programme
Poverty Alleviation programme is aimed to provide employability and encourage micro-entrepreneurship to rural youth and people from under-served communities including women, people with disabilities as well as unskilled workers. NF currently facilitates this through Anizooms and CEDAT.
The animation training project, called Anizooms, was initiated to build livelihood skills for under-privileged youth. The project began as a skills building course for Muslim girls at the NASSCOM Knowledge Network in old city of Hyderabad; where Technology for the People (TFTP) was training adolescent girls and women in various animation skills since 2005. This, is in line with NASSCOM Foundation’s mission to improve the lives of the under-privileged, thereby providing NF an excellent opportunity to scale up the efforts of this Hyderabad centre. NF together with Accenture came forward to support the centre with resources.
Case Study 1:
Siripur is a small village in Puri district of Orissa. Some youth club members of Friends Club, Siripur wanted to develop the economic condition of the village. In this regard they wanted to set up an ICT based information center at the village. They approached NASSCOM Foundation for assistance. NF established the Gyana ‘O’ Soochana Kendra (GSK) in association with Forum for Integrated Development and Research (FIDR), NF’s NGO partner in Orissa. The GSK started many activities at the center which included computer education for underprivileged youth, computer aided learning for school children, livelihood training for unemployed youth and health awareness training. The GSK gave training to the village youth and farmers on mushroom cultivation among the livelihood trainings it conducted.
NASSCOM Foundation provided the basic training module, and cultivation started on an experimental basis. Now with the help of GSK, NF, Nehru Yuva Kendra (NYK), and Orissa Universal Agriculture Training (OUAT), the Friends Club of Siripur has started producing mushroom seeds. The village has been selected by NYK, Govt. of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and OUAT of Orissa as a model village.
Being witness to this laudable work of Friends Club and GSK, the Nehru Yuva Kendra, Puri bestowed them with the state level Best District Youth Club Award. Their work reached the national spectrum when Ramakrushna Mohanty, President, Friends Club, Siripur and Manager, GSK, Siripur, and Sri Rashmi Ranjan Rautaraya, Member, received the National Award from the Hon’ble President of India. The Award was presented at the National Youth Festival held on January 12, 2008 at Chennai.
Two new Anizooms centres followed the Hyderabad centre in 2009, one in Sangli and one in Chandni-Chowk in Delhi. The centres have upgraded curriculum including extensive pre and post production training, internship with Animation firms and placement at the end of training. The students selected for these centres come from under-privileged backgrounds.
Hyderabad Centre: 45 girl students have completed the training and 25 more are undergoing training at the moment. The training has given a new lease of life to the girls from under-privileged background that now look forward to earning a livelihood from the centre itself.
Sangli Centre: Over 20 youth are going through the training program. They also receive soft skills and communication training. An advanced IT training is also provided as a part of this course to help them compete better in the job market.
Delhi Centre: The centre initiated in November 2009 has started the training with 17 students. The students are also going through spoken and communication English courses along with animation course to prepare them for the industry.
The Center for Executive Development and Training (CEDAT), a 100 hour weekend program spread over six months, was initiated to train People with Disabilities (PwDs) in conversational English, IT skills and Personality Development. NF has collaborated with MBA Foundation, an NGO that has the domain expertise on working with PwDs. Four batches of around 60 students have so far been trained and placed at various companies. The 5th batch commences from March 2010.
Training NGOs & Government Officials to Use Technology for Development – ConnectIT
In view of the government’s National e-governance plans as well as other initiatives like NREGA, RTI and others, NASSCOM Foundation started a three year nationwide initiative called ConnectIT to provide the much needed advanced IT training support to NGOs and government officials at an advanced level.
There are demonstrated successes of ICT enabled skills development interventions, which have helped in functional scale-up organizations and enhanced the outreach and impact of their activities. Some of the well-acknowledged benefits of the use of ICTs include: increasing productivity; improving communication and collaboration; organizing critical information and facilitating technology enabled skills development training. Worldwide, experiences have shown that ICT use is relevant and useful, even in highly traditional settings.
The relevance of building IT skills among local government officials has gained importance manifold with the roll out of the government’s national e-governance programme and has created a need for IT skilled government officers who can align with the vision of the government. NGOs support the government and in contributing to development. Although an estimated million NGOs are operational in India, only a few thousands use ICTs in their day- to-day operational and management activities and only a few hundreds use them in their development programmes.
The ConnectIT programme, supported by Microsoft and NASSCOM, is aimed at increasing the capabilities of NGOs and social development organizations in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for social development initiatives.
ICT for Development – ICT helps underserved communities access information, services and opportunities that collectively build their capacities to realize their goals. NF brings together implementing agencies, industry, government bodies and people at the grassroots for integrated development through the use of ICT.
NASSCOM Foundation is a charity registered under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 and under Section 12A of Income Tax Act. NF is the social development arm of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), the internationally recognized trade body of the Indian IT-BPO industry. NASSCOM and its members are committed to social development through the application of ICT and beyond. NF is passionate about the cause and takes pride in holding the unique opportunity of leading the IT-BPO Industry towards changing the social development landscape of India.