DEF’s flagship project, Community Information Resource Centres (CIRCs) is community-oriented infrastructure and information hubs built to create digitally literate, information-empowered and equitable communities across the country. The digitally equipped CIRCs primarily offer digital literacy, digital services, information services, citizen services, besides facilitating access to government schemes and entitlements, to create information-rich society under a sustainable model.
As implementation partner, DEF has set up 10 CIRCs in rural and remote locations within the remote districts of India. These CIRCs are striving to uplift the social and economic status of the communities they serve. These centers are also acting as platforms where issues of the marginalized communities can be heard and discussed.
Established in rural and remote locations of India, CIRCs have adopted an entrepreneurial approach to ensure sustainability of the centers in the long run without compromising the social empowerment and inclusion of the marginalized communities. For this purpose, local youth has been identified and trained to become the service provider or the SoochnaPreneur (Information + Entrepreneur) using the available digital resources at the CIRC and MeraApp.
Developed using cutting edge technology, MeraApp is an Android-based mobile app that provides rural India’s vulnerable population with a catalogue of welfare schemes, with comprehensive information on entitlements. Users, assisted by SoochnaPreneurs, can either view the information categorized by provinces and welfare area or enter their socio-economic details to allow the app to display a list of schemes that suits the information fed into it. A bilingual app that runs on online and offline modes, MeraApp has been envisioned as a platform to empower rural and remote populations with access to information and bring them closer to their rightful entitlements, thus bridging the digital divide and encouraging social and financial inclusion. Further, the app also allows users to submit grievances directed at various government portals and track the status of the complaint.
DEF and USIPI aim to:
- Provide functional digital literacy training to rural and marginalized communities
- Impart digital-based vocational skills to open livelihood opportunities
- Build awareness, outreach, networking, promotion and marketing through ICT & digital tools
- Provide easy access to affordable digital services like printing, scanning, lamination & browsing
- Provide citizen services like e-ticketing, e-banking and other online services
- Provide information on government schemes, entitlements and policies
- Facilitate use of G2C services and schemes through e-Governance platforms
- Evaluate interventions on the ground by analyzing their benefits and challenges
- Showcase replicable and scalable models for rural socio-economic development
- Recommend policy changes to improve socio-economic conditions of marginalized persons.