When a little 'tech' goes a long way... Part 2 Feb. 23, 2015, 10:07 a.m.
Summary :After a year of training 55 rural women leaders in North Karnataka we go back to hear stories about how they have been using technology in their lives.
'A little “tech” goes a long way' isn't just a catchy phrase (assuming you think it might be!). Fifty five rural women leaders who head their own community-based organisations in North Karnataka helping women sex workers, like themselves, access learning, health and protection from violence and abuse; are changing the way society views the worker of the world's oldest profession.
We had put out the first part of this 3-part series (which you can read here) that explored their initial apprehensions to adopting technology as part of their lives. Now, a year after their series of trainings to use technology and the internet, they have not just adopted it, they OWN it.
Changing the 'programme'
The Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) works to reduce the incidence of HIV amongst high-risk groups and builds awareness on sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health. KHPT works with several community-based organisations such as the ones the 55 women leaders run.
The State Women and Child Development Minister Uma Shree was addressing the community-based organisation leaders when she noticed several of them taking a video of her while she was speaking. She remarked how “things have changed – no one would have even thought of the women having access to technology before.” Hema, one of the women leaders who has gone through the Magic Slate programme says that others find it “strange to see us use and talk about technology with ease. It's not something they expect. Community-based organisations from other parts of Karnataka ask us how we have come to use tablets and the internet.”
Parvati from Kumta works on food security issues and had to make a presentation of key points faced by people in her district. She recorded videos testimonials of various families and presented these videos as part of her presentation. “It made a huge impact – everyone usually presents these things with text. But this really made everyone sit up and listen.”
Sakeena from Kumta is a member of the Planning Committee of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW). The APNSW advocates sex worker rights at the global level and supports the work of organisations run directly by the sex worker community themselves. The APNSW staff based in Bangkok are happy to now have someone in India who they can communicate with, with relative ease. While Sakeena cannot speak or read English very well, she now uses the internet and is able to exchange correspondence on a regular basis. “I take the help of Samraksha staff sometimes to read and respond to mails, or she will Whatsapp me with an audio message. Many times we also get on to Skype to have a longer discussion”
This is the second-part of the 3-part series of A little 'tech' goes a long way. The final part will be published over the next week.