Around 70% of the poor in India are from rural areas where there is a lack of basic social and infrastructure services, such as healthcare, roads, education, and drinking water.
Yet, despite the presence of over 300,000 NGOs, which are working in sectors spanning the gamut from agriculture to minority rights, India’s growth has primarily benefited its urban elite and middle class population who are engaged largely in the fast-growing services sector.
Inclusive, sustainable growth needs to be achieved in order to reduce poverty and other social and economic disparities, and also to sustain long-term economic growth. This is possible only by establishing a strong connection between rural and urban India for equitable social and economic opportunities. Relevant scientific and technological interventions can help in accelerating the process.
Connecting Dreams Foundation Approach
Our experience and extensive fieldwork led us to arrive at the hypotheses that in rural India most of the problems and solutions are within a 10 km radius of each other. That means a challenge in one village has a solution in a neighboring village, and its only due to limitations of transportation, access, appropriate technology, education and social meetings that people don’t share solutions amongst each other.
We believe that the solutions to some of the big challenges in rural India lie within rural India itself and the best we can do is to get the villages connected with each other by providing an appropriate technology – thereby making the villages into village smart grids.
Therefore, we have come up with Apna Tech Tree (ATT). The ATT is a village enterprise with a people centric design – a touch screen PC with broadband and a trusted portal run by local village women groups in partnership with NGO’s.
ATT enables community centric learning using video conferencing and voice over internet to communicate, share best practices and challenges with people of neighboring villages and with experts in the areas of healthcare, banking and education. You can see a video of ATT in action here.
ATT offers solution that creates connected village or village smart grids. The ATT’s have the capability of speaking – interacting with local grids, experts and also showcasing – broadcasting customized or locally curated content. Currently ATT offers solutions and content in Healthcare, Livelihood and Education sectors where experts in the above fields are connected over video conferencing to the village community once a week and help in them in resolving their key issues.
Just listen to our happy constituents:
Rani Siddhu, Village Citizen: “Even though we can’t read or write, but we can at least listen and learn and this ‘Apna Tech Tree’ has been a big help for people like me and for our children who now use knowledge and information to achieve something better and make a good life.”
Sharmishtha Tyagi, Village Coordinator: “This ‘Apna Tech Tree’ is a boon for the children as well as for the women. Earlier the ladies in the village didn’t know much as we can’t go out of the village but now because of this tree, we can get any information and solve our issue right at our doorstep.”
Rabita, Village Citizen: “Although we are uneducated, we have the will to learn anything that is new. This ‘Apna Tech Tree’ has made us realize the importance of information and its accessibility through which we can improve our and our children’s lives in a simple and easy way.”
You can learn more about Connecting Dreams Foundation (CDF), a non-profit foundation working towards architecting social transformational interventions and campaigns using technology that create positive impact across the globe, online and on Facebook.