Home CATEGORIES Education and Skill Training CSR arm of IIFL Group imparted digital education to 36,000 tribal girls...
IIFL Foundation, the CSR arm of financial services group IIFL, runs one of India’s largest girl child education programmes – Sakhiyon Ki Baadi (SKB). Spread across 1200 remote schools in Rajasthan, SKB has been able leverage the digital medium to impart seamless education to over 36,000 girls during the pandemic.
SKB schools are dedicated to educating out-of-school girl children of primarily underprivileged tribal communities, where girl child literacy is in single digits and worse than many sub-Saharan countries. IIFL Foundation’s Sakhiyon Ki Baadi programme brought these out-of-school girls to education fold in remote inaccessible areas, making them the first female members (or in many cases, the first member) in the family to receive formal education.
The Covid-19 pandemic which started a year ago disrupted the education system of 1200 SKB schools managed by 1200 teachers or Dakshas. Lockdown meant field staff could not visit the centres or conduct home visits and meetings with the community members. It led to the discontinuation of education for many girls who with so much difficulty got into schools in the first place. There were reports of girl child marriage in many communities across India. IIFL Foundation decided to ensure that education continues using digital mode.
Madhu Jain, Director, IIFL Foundation said, “During the pandemic, IIFL Foundation focused on turning challenges into opportunities. We revisited our vision and stayed true to our values of integrity and discipline. Lockdown provided us with the opportunity to equip 500 Dakshas with the knowledge to use a mobile phone, engage on online platforms, upgrade their English language skills and develop an understanding of basic financial concepts. This wisdom was then passed on to the students enrolled at the SKB centres through continuous online sessions.”
Most of the Dakshas belong to tribal hamlets and did not have access to or knowledge of technology prior to the pandemic. One by one, the team at IIFL Foundation successfully removed several obstacles such as the absence of a gadget (Android phone), poor network connectivity and lack of technical knowledge among Dakshas. This was achieved by working closely with the community members.
For instance, a community member lent his android phone to the teacher so she could attend training, another community member educated them on how to use a mobile app for attending online training and so on. The Dakshas were enthused to complete these trainings and took measures such as climbing a hill near their house to address network issues, attending sessions in groups to help each other.
To begin with, the Dakshas were brought together over WhatsApp Groups, establishing a two-way communication channel. Thereafter, they were taught to interact and participate in online trainings over virtual platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet. With the newly built digital connect, video tutorials and PDF documents were prepared to facilitate the teaching activities. These study materials were shared over WhatsApp with the teachers. Live training sessions were conducted over Zoom and Google Meet with the students.
Through this robust system of remote working, the training team was able to co-ordinate with the on-field team. Similarly, Block Managers, District Managers, Trainers and Program Managers were connected remotely through several online platforms.
Working remotely allowed the team to define new objectives of the programme (building awareness around the pandemic, ensuring continuity of the literacy programmes) and staying connected.
Thus, it was ensured that the learning never stopped at the SKBs.
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