A development analyst by profession, Dr. M Shahid Siddiqui is currently associated with Digital Empowerment Foundation as in-charge of Community Information Resource Centres across India. Prior, to this assignment, Dr Siddiqui worked as a news producer with Network 18 for over seven years (2005-2012) and also assisted various film directors and producers between 2003 and 2005 for television ad commercials, documentary films and feature films. He has contributed to many analytical columns for prestigious national and international development journals, which include Know Disaster (published from the Prime Minister’s Office) and Vidura (a Press Trust of India publication). He has won the Karamveer Puraskar for Media Activism for social empowerment and Karamveer Chakra for selfless work as a journalist and contribution to social development.
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Hailing from the small town of Katihar in Bihar, Shah Alam was very intrigued by technology and engineering tactics. After buying his first Nokia mobile phone in 2nd year of college, he slowly mastered the basic handset and moved on to a multimedia phone. Today he identifies his existence with mobile phone. He now works with over 10,000 communities across India to make them digitally literate. He has travelled in 28 states and over 1,000 villages in India. From banking to social media, emails to skype, printing and scanning to reading books and watching videos, he does it all via his smartphone. He believes that mobile is the next revolution and is the most promising change-maker for a developing country like India.
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With a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Economics, Chitra has worked as a PGT in Economics in Gen B. C. Joshi Army Public School in Uttarakhand. Having associated with DEF for close to five and a half years, Chitra has been an integral part of different research-based projects in areas including mobile phone/ICT applications for social good, women and Internet rights, women health, education and safety and other related issues. Currently she working in DEF’s flagship initiative called Community Information Resource Centre (CIRC) Programme In her spare time, Chitra like writing poetry under her blog ‘Soulful Chitra’, which has received wide recognition.
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Having completed Masters in Social Work from Aligarh Muslim University, Nabeel has been working in Digital Empowerment Foundation since 2014. Currently he is handling 25 CIRCs and has been strategising, monitoring and smooth functioning of the centes on ground.
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Monika is a young and enthusiastic development professional from the beautiful state of Uttarakhand. She holds a major in social work from Uttarakhand Open University. Prior to joining CIRC, she had worked with Green India Neat India, an organisation working on Environmental Sustainability. She was also involved with Nehru Foundations’ project on Rain Water Harvesting in Ahmedabad. In the past, she has monitored implementation of British Council’s Manzil project and ‘Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hu’. Currently, she looks after British Council’s ‘English & Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE)’ programme, being implemented in selected CIRCs. As a Project Assistance, she coordinates with the field officers working at CIRCs, provides assistance and documentation support to the team at Delhi and local level.
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Ambar holds post- graduation degree in Social Work with dual specialisation in community work and Human Resource Management from Aligarh Muslim Universtity. She has committed herself to the cause of community development and would like to contribute towards society in whichever way she can. Her current work responsibilities include providing HR support to the team, assisting department with their recruitment needs through liaison with office and field staff, inputting into the monthly pay roll, assisting with the production of and implementation of HR policies and procedures.
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Vijay Singh Bairwa
A resident of Delhi, Vijay has completed his Masters in Computer Applications and is a Cisco Certified Networking Associate. With an expertise in networking and hardware technology, Vijay has been rigourously involved in wireless connectivity related projects with Digital Empowerment Foundation. With his dexterity in the area of networking, Vijay has played a major role is establishing wireless internet connectivity in remote villages of Nichalagarh and Alwar in Rajasthan and Guna in Madhya Pradesh. Vijay has also been participating in survey and mobilisation programmes in amongst rural communities.
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Having Masters in Sociology and Hindi Literature, John has a diverse experience in the developmental sector for over 10 years. In the past, he has worked as a Programme Monitor with World Health Organisation and has undertaken planning and management roles in developmental projects at several other organisations. Currently he is handling 25 CIRCs and has been engaged in planning, managing, monitoring and streamlining centre operations. His area of work also includes conducting capacity building and skill development programmes for centre coordinators and trainers.
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Irfan holds a master’s degree in Human Rights from Aligarh Muslim University. Working in development sector for more than five years, he is closely associated with the ground reality of northern landscape of India. Irfan has earned experience in planning, implementing and managing programmes in diverse areas of development, including education and life skills, health, livelihood, gender equality and environment. He had worked as a Monitoring Officer as well as Training and Documentation Officer on ‘Mission Convergence’ a collaborative project with the Delhi Government for the most deprived amongst the underprivileged communities of Delhi. Currently, he is managing CIRCs in the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. His work majorly involves planning, coordinating and ensuring smooth functioning of the CIRCs on ground.
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Jayanti is a mass communication graduate from Delhi University and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising. An ad-copywriter turned developmental writer, she likes exploring communities and documenting stories from ground in the area of digital inclusion, education, livelihood and socio-economic empowerment. She has been creating/co-creating target-friendly content for various mediums including websites, posters, brochures, flyers, booklets, manuals and other awareness material. She collects tales of impact from communities, groups and individuals from rural grassroots, transform them in to written word and publish them on digital platforms, giving the world an opportunity to get inspired.
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A development sector professional with over fifteen years of experience in planning, controlling and directing operations, Rohit is currently responsible in for managing a number of CIRCs and setting-up new ones. With values of forefathers is close to his heart, Rohit wants to help others as best as he can. He aspires to serve the society by taking up socially conscious leadership roles. Before joining DEF, he held a good amount of experience working with street children and special children. A major part of his learnings come from his experience as an officer in Merchant Navy. Rohit is currently working as an Assistant Programme Manager in the CIRC project.
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Shahbaz has been working on the National Digital Literacy Mission project for basic digital literacy being implemented at centres located at different parts of the country. His work involves planning the project operations on ground, which includes teaming with the ground staff in mobilising the community, generating awareness regarding basic digital literacy and well as harnessing maximum outreach of the programme.
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Hailing from village Tilonia in District Ajmer of Rajasthan, Zakir belongs to the third generation of a family that has been dedicated towards social work. Zakir too has wished to take after his family and hence decided to join the social sector. An MA in Geography and ITI in Mechanical, Zakir has been closely associated with the Barefoot College in Tilonia. Later, he received hands-on training in wireless networking in Guna, Madhya Pradesh. Currently he ensures smooth functioning and operations of around 25 CIRCs. On ground, Zakir has been conducting and co-conducting community mobilisations and awareness meetings at villages to inform people about the importance of digital literacy in today’s age.
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With a past experience in networking and hardware engineering, Pankaj joined Digital Empowerment Foundation to become part of the mission of digitally uplifting rural communities of the country. Hailing from New Delhi, Pankaj believes that mere existence does not prove one’s being but the quality of work one does. Serving the community and bringing rigorous changes is what he strives for. As a part of the CIRC project, Pankaj has been connecting with the grassroots by interacting with communities, understanding their needs and aspirations, and encouraging them to make digital a part of their lives.
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Pushpendra belongs to Gada, a small a village in district Satna of Madhya Pradesh. Despite being from a modest household, Pushpendra supported his own college education, and became the first IT Engineer in his village. He has always believed in the principle of simple living and high thinking. He received further training from C-DAC, the institute that has been credited for its major contribution towards invention of supercomputers. However, corporate world never appealed to him and has wished work in the area of social development. Currently, Pushpendra is assisting in operating dCIRCs of DEF.
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Vikas holds a master’s degree in Political Science from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Vikas also earned a Post Graduate Diploma in Conflict Transformation and Peace building from Lady Shri Ram College in 2014. Previously, Vikas has worked as an Intern with the Communication Cell of ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms). Besides academics Vikas has received various awards in inter-College and Inter University Theatre Competitions including IIT Delhi. Vikas has attended and organised workshops on playwriting, acting and direction mentored by the National School of Drama, Delhi. Vikas works as a content writer with the CIRC project.
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Rahul originally belongs to Mithilanchal region in the district of Darbhanga, in Bihar. After completing his B.Tech in Computer Sciences, Rahul decided to join the social sector. In the past, Rahul has worked on the ‘Mobile Phone as a tool for Social & Behaviour Change (MSBC)’ project of DEF and has helped in collecting data from different states of the country as well as conducting secondary research. Currently he has been managing some of the DEF websites. From software engineering to working with rural communities, Rahul discovered his special knack in social work. He is now pursuing Masters in Social Work.
Reach out to Rahul via email at Rahul@defindia.org