NASSCOM Foundation, supported with a $500,000 Google.org grant, launches new initiative to empower Women Farmers through Entrepreneurship Skills
New Delhi: NASSCOM Foundation, supported with a $500,000 from Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, is launching its “Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship” Program. The program was announced earlier today at Google’s ‘Google For India – Women Will’ event by the President of Google.org, Jacquelline Fuller.
Agriculture Census and Economic surveys validate that with growing rural to urban migration by men in the past decade, there is a ‘feminization’ of the agriculture sector, with an increasing number of women in multiple roles in farming as cultivators and labourers. NASSCOM Foundation, with Google.org’s support, hopes to train the women workforce in agriculture on digital literacy, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship skills to help improve their income potential and reduce the gender-based wage gap in the sector.
Mr. Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation said, “Digital technologies are revolutionizing agricultural value chains, providing improved access to inputs, finance, markets and weather information. But technological development cannot exist in isolation. The agriculture sector employs 80% of all economically active women comprising of 33% the agricultural labour force and 48% of self-employed farmers in the country. Most of them are still unable to take advantage of the digital revolution. With support from Google.org, we hope to bridge this gap and empower these women farmers through digital. As a pilot, we will reach 1 Lakh women farmers from across Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Bihar, skilling them in digital literacy, financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills in the coming year.”
In its pilot phase, the program will reach over one Lakh women farmers from across the regions of Chamoli and Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, Solan and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, Agra, Bulandshahr and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Chittorgarh and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Muzaffarpur in Bihar, and Mewat in Haryana.
The program will begin by training master trainers. These master trainers will then train more women from within their communities. The program will also set up two call centres where the women will be able to call and get further counselling on any of their entrepreneurship related queries.
Mrs Jacquelline Fuller, President Google.org said, “At Google, we’ve seen how digital tools can help many individuals gain access to education, expand their business and develop new skills. Research has also shown that when women farmers have access to the right skills and resources, they can increase their incomes by 30% or more. We believe that we have a collective responsibility and a role to play to ensure that generations of women and girls in India have the opportunity to thrive and succeed. We’re extremely proud to support, through Google.org, the work that Nasscom Foundation is doing with women farmers, especially in rural parts of the country, and we look forward to seeing the impact of this program in the coming months in India.”
Once trained, the women farmers will be able to operate smartphones with ease, use social media for their benefit, and find reliable government apps and websites for relevant schemes. They will also be able to save, protect and grow their personal finances and transact digitally. In addition, they will be able to create direct market linkages for both buying raw material and for selling produce and will be able to streamline their operations and logistics.