Empowering Through Information Technology

Can you imagine a world without computers?  Even those of us, who were born before the advent of personal computing and the internet, cannot survive a single day without logging on to some site or the other.  Well, you wouldn’t be reading this if it wasn’t for the Internet. As we all know IT can have tremendous benefits especially in the areas of teaching students and managing day to day operations.  Since most of our partner projects are rural based, they lack accessibility to proper IT infrastructure on daily basis as well as human resources having basic skills in IT. These reasons and the shortage of money, energy and time have caused IT to be a last priority for our partner projects.

Earlier this year Vibha teamed up with ‘Mahithi’ to conduct IT workshops for our partner NGOS. The goal of the IT workshops was to enable and empower our partner projects to enhance their performance through acquiring knowledge and skills in the field of Information Technology. The workshops were conducted in Jaipur, Chennai, Kolkatta and Pune. Two – Three employees of all each of our partner projects were invited. The participants were accountants, computer staff of administration team, program managers, field staff or teachers.

Each workshop was spread out over a period of 3 days and covered a variety of topics ranging from the importance of IT to the use of Youtube. Following are the highlights of these workshops:

Participating NGOs:

  • Kolkata – Swanirvar, BTS,SKB,AMTA,SVVPS
  • Chennai – Sevalaya, SEA,Vidyarambam,RDO,BCT, Shrishti,Heards,GORD,Sikshana
  • Jaipur – Alamb, GSK,Prayas,RMKM
  • Pune – Corpindia,CTF,AURED,Rachana,DSS,GVT

Sponsorship: Vibha sponsored these workshops (including the cost of the workshops, travel lodging & boarding of the participants, lodging-boarding of the trainers) Mahiti.org conducted these workshops free of cost as well as sponsored the travel cost for the trainers.

Topics Covered: A common curriculum was designed based on the common needs of all projects. However, there were variances in methodology, sequencing and duration of the topics based on the profile of the each group and the expectations expressed by the participants in the beginning of each workshop.

In general, quite a few  topics from the following list were covered in each location:

  • Benefits of IT
  • Challenges of IT
  • Use of Internet
  • Learning to use internet – introduction to Google and Google Apps
  • Google maps & 2) Plugins & its usage practice
  • Blogspots & other networking tools
  • How to create email account & sending test messages
  • Introduction to Wikipedia
  • Use of Wikibooks for children
  • Tools for Children
  • How to create video films, story board, photoediting, video editing
  • Use of YouTube
  • Protecting your system from virus, Anti virus software
  • Ubuntu and Linux, free software
  • Use of Firefox instead of Windows
  • MS Office – Excel  including formulae, sorting and formatting etc
  • Copyright / Piracy/Creative Commons(CC) with open licenses
  • Payment gateways
  • Lipikar – for typing in local language
  • ORCA: reads out for visually disabled

Training in session

General Workshop Information:

The trainers for each workshop started each day with games , debates and discussions in order to make the training more enjoyable for the participants. Participants also got some hands on experience through demos and exercises  on the topics covered.  The trainers did everything they could to ensure that participants get maximum benefit from the workshop.  They adjusted the topics based on interest level  and in some cases they even summarized the information in multiple languages.

The group with the trainers

While the participants seemed to have enjoyed the training, the following questions linger: Will they apply it to their day to day operations? Will they use it to help children learn? Will they need additional help? Vibha plans to follow up with them to find these answers.  Or perhaps we may see an email, a blog post or even a YouTube video from a participant!

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