Google in its third Google for India event, held in Delhi, announced the expansion of its Internet Saathi program to support the Foundation For Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND) set up by Tata Trusts. The company under this new initiative aims to mutually work with the new foundation and open doors for digitally enabled employment opportunities for the women in rural India.
Google hopes that FREND will encourage like-minded companies and establishments to use the Internet Saathi arrangement and allow dissemination of information and services in the rural parts of the country making fresher roads of wage for these women. This will work along with Google’s ongoing Internet Saathi program under which it provides digital literacy to rural women.
Speaking at the launch of this new initiative, Sapna Chadha, marketing head, SEA & India, Google said, “In spite of the socio-economic challenges, thousands of Internet Saathis have gone on to do amazing things, once they learnt the Internet. It was this winning spirit that inspired us to create a new sustainable framework with Tata Trusts, that aims to deliver employment opportunities to Internet Saathis.”
More than 12,000 Internet Saathis across India have signed up for this project in their villages. Along with Tata Trusts, Google has also conducted pilots with organisations including Kantar, Tata Water Mission, Nielsen and more.
Raman Kalyanakrishnan, head- Strategy, Tata Trusts, said, “For several years now, livelihood generation has been a core area for the Trusts. Given the progressive penetration of Internet Saathi program, it was only natural for us to bring income generating opportunities to these women so that they become self-dependant and further encourage women in their communities to emulate them. We are happy that several organisations have already tested the strength of this platform. We are confident that with Google we are establishing a very large entrepreneurship movement in rural India.”
Google launched the internet Saathi program in the year 2015. The company aims to expand the network to cover 300,000 villages across India. The program has been rolled out to 12 states until now and more than 12 million rural women in India are a part of it today.
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