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Top CSR initiatives boosting digital literacy in India

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National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) is a campaign that aims to digitally educate at least one member of every family in rural areas. From 2014 to 2016, two Schemes titled ‘National Digital Literacy Mission’ (NDLM) and ‘Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (DISHA) were implemented by the Government of India with a target to train 52.50 lakh candidates in digital literacy across the country.
In 2017, a scheme titled ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA)’ was approved by Union Cabinet to usher in digital literacy in rural India by covering 6 crore rural households (one person per household).
Despite all these, digital literacy is still inadequate among the rural and underprivileged sections in India, the ratio of women and elderly people being even sadder. The digital education gap in urban and rural areas is far from being bridged. However, MNCs operating in India as well as Indian corporates are working to bridge this gap across the country through various CSR initiatives. The CSR Journal takes a look at the top CSR activities boosting digital literacy especially among the underprivileged in India.

L&T Finance Ltd’s Digital Sakhi programme

Leading Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) L&T Finance Ltd. is empowering communities through its ‘Digital Sakhi’ CSR programme. The aim of the programme is to create awareness on Digital and Financial Literacy amongst the rural population.
As per a recent announcement by L&T Finance Ltd., the  Corporate Social Responsibility initiative has empowered over 42 lakh community members so far. The programme which was initiated in 2017 has expanded its geographical footprint in 7 states namely, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka and Kerala with a cadre of 1,370 trained Digital Sakhis over the years.
In FY 2023-24, under the programme, LTF has empanelled 400 Sakhis in Uttar Pradesh (Gorakhpur), Bihar (Supaul), Tamil Nadu (Madurai), and West Bengal (Murshidabad). In FY24, Digital Sakhis have helped empower over 11 lakh rural communities by promoting digital financial inclusion, providing impetus to 2,400 women entrepreneurs, as per a statement by the company. They further claim that across existing and new programme locations of Digital Sakhis, there has been a 12 percent increase in the adoption of digital payments among the community members, promoting a cashless economy and enhancing financial inclusion.

Mankind Pharma’s ‘Digital Smart Class’ initiative

Leading pharmaceutical company Mankind Pharma is working to enhance the quality of education in remote areas through its ‘Digital Smart Class’ initiative. Under their CSR arm, this comprehensive programme has established 220 smart classrooms across government schools in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.
The Digital Smart Class initiative is a strategic effort to bridge the digital divide in education and provide underprivileged students with access to modern learning resources. The smart classrooms are equipped with integrated teaching devices, the Kyan system, which can convert any surface to an interactive board and multimedia playing surface, enabling a more engaging and immersive learning experience.
The initiative spans across 170 schools in 23 clusters, benefiting thousands of students in remote areas. Mankind Pharma has collaborated closely with local authorities and educational institutions to ensure the successful implementation and sustainability of the smart classrooms.
Key highlights of the Digital Smart Class initiative:
– Establishment of 220 smart classrooms across Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.
– Provision of integrated teaching devices and multimedia content for interactive learning.
– Comprehensive teacher training programmes to ensure effective utilisation of the smart classroom technology.
– Three-year project management and maintenance support to ensure sustainability.

CSR of Coal India for digital literacy in Jharkhand

In an announcement made earlier this month, world’s single largest coal producer Coal India Limited is taking its commitment towards quality education a step further by commissioning smart classrooms in 70 Government schools. This is in continuation of a similar initiative launched for 11 districts of Jharkhand in January this year.
The project worth Rs. 2.42 crore will be executed by EdCIL (India) Limited, a PSU. The initiative is expected to improve the learning outcomes among students as well as reduce the digital divide that exists between students of government and private schools.
BridgeIT initiative has been created with the aim to bridge the existing digital divide

BridgeIT programme – CSR of TCS

BridgeIT is a unique initiative created to bridge the digital divide that places socially and economically underprivileged communities at a disadvantage. The programme creates digital entrepreneurs who use IT to help local citizens avail essential digital services in education, adult literacy, unemployment and social discrimination. It attempts to address prevailing social inequities in India by proactively reaching out to women, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) communities.
Launched in 2014, BridgeIT has a footprint across 30 districts in 10 states. The programme offers budding entrepreneurs the skills, mentoring, technology, tools and resources required to set up a Digital Service Centre from where they can provide services such as generating and updating documents (such as Aadhar cards, Pan cards, and voters ID), enrolling for different government schemes, filling in online forms and cash withdrawals/deposits from the bank to fellow villagers.
In FY 2023, the programme had 347 active digital entrepreneurs with 146 of these being women.

VAHDAM’s Digital Learning Centre in Darjeeling

VAHDAM India inaugurated 3 digital learning centres in Darjeeling in June 2023 under its flagship CSR initiative, TEACH Me where the company directs a minimum of 1% of its revenue towards the education of its children across the country.
VAHDAM India partnered with BYJUs amid COVID in October 2020 to provide top-quality digital learning to children in remote tea gardens absolutely free of cost owing to the lockdown and schools remaining shut. This ensured that children could access and continue with digital learning at par with the best in the country.
The first digital learning center was inaugurated at Miriam School, Darjeeling. The second learning centre was inaugurated at the Badamtam High School where BYJU smart TVs and android boxes were installed to support the digital infrastructure and learning. The third learning centre was inaugurated at the Risheehat High School.

On International Women's Day 2024 Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages completes its multi-state initiative of empowering 25,000 women

CSR of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages for financial and digital literacy of women

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages announced the successful completion of its multi-state women’s empowerment initiative to provide financial and digital literacy training to 25,000 women. This monumental achievement marks a significant leap forward in narrowing the gender divide in financial inclusion and digital adoption, resonating with HCCB’s pledge for women’s empowerment announced in August of last year.
The initiative was conducted in partnership with the Y4D foundation. Spanning across the diverse landscape of 12 Indian states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, and Odisha, the program adopted a dynamic classroom-based methodology. It was designed to cater to the varied needs, interests, and proficiency levels of women from different backgrounds, enabling them to harness the power of finance and technology.
The curriculum was designed to cover a broad spectrum of vital skills crucial for thriving in the new economy. From the fundamentals of banking and account setup to navigating the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), from savvy investment strategies to leveraging online banking, the program also spotlighted government initiatives aimed at supporting women such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Sam Riddhi Yojana, and Nari Shakti. The digital literacy component was equally comprehensive, encompassing Mobile Banking, Digital Market Linkage, and Cyber Security. Thus, paving the way for participants to secure a robust livelihood and contribute significantly to household economics.

CSR of Infosys in Manipur

The Education Department of Manipur signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Infosys Ltd. in the presence of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Education Minister Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh in November 2022. The MoU was signed for implementation of Infosys Springboard Platform across government schools in the state.
‘Infosys Springboard’ is a free online platform powered by Infosys Wingspan that democratises the fundamentals of these skills with modular learning that is focused on digital literacy, competency and proficiency. It is a flagship intervention which aims to empower people, communities, and society. Through this initiative, Infosys plans to empower over 10 million learners with digital and life skills by 2025. The reach will include students across India in the age group of 10-22 years as well as lifelong learners. The content hosted on this platform is aligned with New Education Policy 2020. It helps the learners get access to a variety of topics that also include professional and vocational skills.
MOU signing between Lotus Petal Foundation and DLF Foundation to implement Vidya Sahyog E Remedial Classes

MoU between DLF Foundation and Lotus Petal Foundation

Lotus Petal Foundation signed an MOU with DLF Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the DLF Group in April 2023, to implement Vidya Sahyog interactive E-Learning remedial classes in English & Maths and one on one counselling support to students and their parents under the DLF CARES Education Support Programme, a flagship initiative of DLF Foundation.
DLF Foundation’s flagship education programme ‘DLF CARES’ was established with the premise that every child has the right to quality education and the primary objective is to nurture and handhold them to realise their potential and become productive and responsible citizens of tomorrow.

Vi Foundation and Ericsson’s Robotic Lab in Pune

With the objective of building a future ready talent force from the school level onwards, Vi Foundation, the CSR arm of Vi, in partnership with Ericsson India set up a state-of-the-art Robotic Lab in Sayajinath Maharaj Vidyalaya and Jr. College, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune in January 2023.
This is the first among the ten labs to be set up by Vi Foundation in the six states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Gujarat.
At the event, Vi Foundation also inaugurated a library, and felicitated select students from its vocational training centre. Equipped with robotic kits, 3D printer, laptops and a projector, the Digital Lab is designed to assist students of standard 6th to 9th through their first experience of the world of programming and new technologies. It aims to improve the students’ education and employment prospects across Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) by providing an exciting learning experience and developing skills such as teamwork, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking.

Walplast Welfare Foundation’s collaboration with K.C. Mahindra Education Trust

Walplast Welfare Foundation proudly announced its collaboration with K.C. Mahindra Education Trust in February 2024 to support Project Nanhi Kali’s Digital Equaliser For Girls (DEFG) Program. This initiative aims to empower young girls across Maharashtra by providing essential resources and training in digital skills. Building on their commitment to championing gender equality, Walplast Welfare Foundation will support 750 girls from Standard IX to XII across Nashik, Wardha, and Nagpur districts for the programme.
The DEFG Programme addresses the digital gender gap prevalent in India, equipping participants with critical digital skills essential for academic success and future career opportunities. Through comprehensive modular training covering various aspects of digital literacy, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication, girls are prepared to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Mirae Asset Foundation’s initiative for BMC schools in Mumbai

Mirae Asset Foundation (MAF), the CSR arm of Mirae Asset’s businesses in India under its Educational Infrastructure Support Program (MAF EISP) in collaboration with Extramarks Education Foundation, Noida, announced in January that it has installed seven new digital classrooms with smart interactive panels in four BMC schools in Mumbai’s Andheri and Vile Parle. This collaborative initiative, part of the Infrastructure Support Program of the Foundation is aimed to benefit more than 2000 students.
The seven new digital classrooms are equipped with LED-based Interactive flat panels. These seven smart interactive panels, with integrated Extramarks Educational Content are aligned with the New Education Policy (NEP) Guidelines 2020.

Spreading Happiness InDiya Foundation’s Digi Green classrooms

With an aim to empower young students, Spreading Happiness InDiya Foundation (SHIF), a non-profit collaboration between cricketing icon Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and Schneider Electric India is on a mission to provide access to digital education in more than 150 Rural Indian schools by 2025 under the SMITA Programme. Through this association, they also aim to introduce the concept of Digi Green wherein they will provide access to digital education infrastructure powered by solar energy and create awareness among the children of the country about the conservation of energy and the environment.
The solar-powered “Digi Green” classrooms use the latest technologies to conduct virtual training for students. Through this seamless combination of solar energy and technology, the “Digi Green” classrooms are eco-forward and help save money for schools in terms of running costs, while also providing virtual training modes to optimize learning outcomes. Since these classrooms are run completely on solar power, it has a ‘net-zero’ carbon footprint, further enabling the schools to earn carbon credits.

CSR of Lenovo in Karnataka, Manipur, Sikkim, and Meghalaya

Lenovo, the global technology leader has collaborated with Meghshala Trust, a not-for-profit, to promote education technology and to support teacher training and value education systems across India. The company is supporting the Meghshala Trust in implementing e-learning classrooms in Karnataka, Manipur, Sikkim, and Meghalaya.
Through the collaboration, Meghshala has reached 3333 schools in Manipur and Karnataka and boasts of 10,175 users 18,000 downloads on their free Meghshala app. Meghshala’s digitized content with e-lessons empowers teachers to be instructional leaders in the classroom reaching out to the farthest communities in the Indian landscape. This partnership alone has impacted over 210,000 students and 7000 plus teachers across India.
In 2021 and 2022 Lenovo supported Meghshala by providing tablets and smartphones for teacher training and student use, helping reach more than 1,800 schools and 4,900 teachers in Karnataka and Manipur.