Digital Empowerment Foundation
IDS funded a digital tools training program for migrant workers to diversify their skillset so they have more opportunities for fair employment in the marketplace. DEF worked with 218 individuals in Muzzafarpur, Bihar, 315 individuals in Nuapatna, Odisha, and 268 individuals in Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh.
Digital Skilling of Migrant Workers in India
Of the various sectors that were impacted by COVID crisis in India, the migration population became the most vulnerable communities. The only source of income, their daily wages, were completely shut off during the long period of lockdowns, and no other income generation opportunities were available to them when they migrated back to their villages.
To address this issue, IDS partnered with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) with a program called “Digital Skilling of Migrant Workers”. The aim of the program was to provide training in digital tools for migrant workers to diversify their skillset so they have more opportunities for fair employment in the marketplace. The digital training program aimed to “up-skill” them in such a way that they are in a position to demand better pay for their work. First, DEF conducted a survey to find which areas were the most negatively affected by the pandemic. Once they identified these communities, Muzaffarpur in Bihar, Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh and Nuapatna in Odisha, they conducted a baseline survey of 480 migrants to understand the level of existing knowledge of digital tools. These results showed that very few migrant workers had knowledge of digital tools and their applications. What also came to light was the fact that this group of people didn’t have any knowledge of or access to government entitlements.
After understanding the knowledge gaps and requirements of the migrant workers, training began in the three districts. The training program, a mix of online and offline training, includes the basics of smartphones, Google accounts, UPI payments, safety and security on the Internet, amongst others. Apart from this, they also implemented a specialized training in e-governance to help the migrant workers understand and access government entitlements. This will not only provide them with information about government schemes that they are entitled to currently, but it will also enable them to apply for future schemes that are applicable to them.
At the end of the training program, the workers acquired enough knowledge in digital tools to be able to search for jobs online and apply for government schemes. In fact, many of them will also be able to open their own micro-enterprises because of the training they received. DEF is already running several programs that provide training in digital tools to small scale entrepreneurs which enables them to expand their business. Following a similar model, some migrant workers will also be trained to become small scale entrepreneurs who will set up their own businesses. All of the trained workers will also serve the community by providing peer to peer training.
What started as a relief effort for those in need has slowly but surely taken shape into a full-fledged project to rehabilitate the lives of unemployed people. DEF works across the pillars of Governance, Education, Access and Research & Advocacy. This project is the perfect example of how all the pillars of the organization came together to support those in need.
Project outreach numbers:
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