Nagaon is a minority concentrated district covering an area of 3831 sq. km. The population of the district is 2314629, it is Assam’s highest contributor in terms of demography. Moreover, the minority population of the district constitutes fifty two percent (52%). The literacy rate of the district is seventy four percent (74 %); with the males contributing to a 68.27 % and the females contributing to a 54.74 %. Batadrava is a rural area situated in Nagaon, it is one of the eighteen (18) blocks comprising the panchayats of Amlakhi, Batadraba, Bhumuraguri, Bilotia, Dhanaiyabheti, Dhupaguri, Kandhulimari, Katahguri, Kodomoni, Rampur Satra, Saharia, Silpukhuri, Sologuri, Tuktuki and Upper Dumdumia. The population is primarily engaged in agriculture. However, certain sections of the population are also engaged in government services and self employment as a means of earning livelihood. The young generation is mostly literate, attending to schools and colleges in and around the Batadrava block. There are also a few private English medium schools in and around Batadrava catering to the people of the area. However, certain sections of the population are not literate and are also ignorant about their rights and privileges. It is a fast developing rural area offering a lot of potential for positive growth. In this regard, ICT can open new avenues to the people so that they may find a platform to showcase their expertise and take up new opportunities.
The CIRC is focused at serving the community through its entire possible means. One of its primary components is to empower the community through information. In order to empower the community with information, knowledge and news the centre has taken up a few programmes in hand. The various programmes running at the centre are; Basic Computer Application (BCA), Diploma in Computer Application (DCA), Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Application (PGDCA), Women Digital Literacy Programme (WDLP) and Helping Women Go Online (HWGO) Programme. Apart from these programmes the centre circulates important news related to job vacancies, scholarships, government and other schemes and programmes among the community.
The primary objective of the centre is to empower the community with information. More than half of the people belonging to the community are under privileged. These sections of the population are mostly ignorant about the opportunities available to them. Hence, information can be a very useful weapon in fighting this unequal divide. The centre in order to serve the community in its full potential has adopted the concept of involving volunteers from the community. The volunteers have been chosen from all targeted fifteen (15) panchayats. So far, seven (7) male and three (3) female volunteers have been chosen from each panchayats. The centre has pursued this concept so that it can entrust the immensely available information upon its volunteers and the volunteers can disperse the same to the masses. This method creates a multiplier effect where more and more people are touched upon and empowered with this tool called information. The selections of the volunteers are done in purview of their academic qualification, social activeness and social background. An orientation programme is organized for the Community Volunteers to provide them a basic framework in regard to their role and the duties attached to it. They are familiarized with the concept and the agenda of the CIRC wherein they are made to understand their responsibility towards the larger community. The volunteers are key elements in spreading the centre’s service related information within the community; they act as an extension of the centre rooted within the community. The volunteers are the members of the community hence their involvement with the centre as agents of change brings about better reception of the center among the community members.
The centre disseminates information in relation to job vacancies, scholarships, various government and non-government schemes and programmes, etc. The information is put up on the centre’s notice board and the volunteers are immediately notified about the same through SMS. Hence the mobile phone devices and other tools of the ICT such as the mass SMS through the internet are very instrumental in this process. The aspiring candidates and beneficiaries are invited to the centres by the volunteers for detailed information and further assistance. The team based at the centre assisted the students while filling up the form, acquiring the needful testimonials and dispatching the forms in time. The centre is also assisting in the online form submission process of the Axom Madarsa Teachers Eligibility Test (TET). The centre is also in process to provide coaching to the aspiring TET candidates from the targeted panchayats. The centre also circulates information related to job vacancies picked up from leading online job portals and news papers on a daily basis. The centre has been successful at enrolling house wives and working men in its various courses at odd hours of the day and night suiting their convenience through the confidence of the Community Volunteers. The centre also aims at making at least one individual from each household digitally literate. This will enable access to information to each household at all times throughout each day and night. The volunteers are working hard towards achieving this target; and the project has gained momentum.
The concept of Community Volunteers has so far achieved fair success in the centre. It has been treated with seriousness and the centre has achieved better results after the deployment of the Community Volunteers as they are able to reach the community efficiently and to the grass roots. As being members of the community they are received well, they also catalyze the trust building process in between the centre and the community. The inclusiveness of the women volunteers in this project has initiated the building of a cordial relation between the women of the community and the centre.