Media Development Course (UNESCO)

Datamation Foundation is a non-profit NGO which works in Delhi and the other parts of India for the focused issue of women and youth empowerment. Foundation has been supported by various international partners for its noble work. UNESCO, Queensland Technical University, Australia, Adleide University, Australia, Microsoft, World Bank and many other multistakeholders helped the Datamation for its vision. Currently Datamation Foundation has been working on the women & youth of Seelampur site for their entire empowerment. This project is run in the Seelampur in association with UNESCO, QUT, Australia, and Australian Research Council. The main theme of the project is to do the empowerment of the people and the poverty alleviation of the area. With the help of Ethnographic action research foundation could recognize the socio-cultural cum economical demands of the area. Foundation opened an ICT center with local partner madarsa Babul Uloom at Jafrabad to train the marginalized women for vocational trainings & life skills by using the concept ICT (Information, Communication & Technology). Many girls and women came out from their shell and learnt basic computer courses, embroidery, stitching, cutting & tailoring etc there. Later on after learning the mentioned courses women started doing jobs outside or even in local areas for income generation.

Now a days the Datamation Foundation has introduced a new art of income generating by incorporating Media & Technology in the slums of Seelampur. This art is known as Digital storytelling, which used to be a digital film of approximately two and half minute. “Digital story telling” is a unique concept of engaging the people for a creative work which even provides them a platform to do advocacy of their unheard issues and it also helps them to generate income. The concept was introduced by UNESCO in association with Datamation in Seelampur. Many workshops have been conducted to train the people in DST learning for income generation. Its replication has been done in Juvenile jail at Kingsway camp, Delhi and even in Stree shakti camps, organized by Social welfare department, Delhi. Ms Sarita Sharma is the Managing Trustee & Mr. Chetan Sharma is the founder trustee of the foundation whose endless efforts could do a lot for the various communities up to now.

(A newspiece about the initial workshops of DSTs, uploaded on the website of UNESCO and was translated to French and Spanish for the larger outreach.)

About Digital Story telling (DST)

Digital story telling is an approach that combines oral storytelling with digital media technologies. It’s a structured process which narrates personal testimonies of the people. Ideally it supposed to be the best of about 3 minute duration. It’s a fine art of incorporating personal narratives with creative documentation through combining technology. Images, Sound & text give it a form of a small documentary or short film. It can be screened through computers, projectors, televisions or webs. The storyteller who is even less educated can do production of digital story by taking responsibilities for writing, recording and editing.

DST works in people’s life through

  • Life skills development
  • Better understanding for the current happening in local society.
  • Income generation
  • Peace making
  • Making Healthy environment for better life style
  • Preserving the dying local art,literature,culture and ethics
  • Giving them voice to fight for their
  • Linking them directly with Media, Corporate world, Govt & Non Govt. Sectors, Multimedia-IT sectors, Advertizing etc.
  • Reflecting their personal issues and stories relevant to their lives
  • Improving personality and communication skills
  • Exploring and experimenting with more digital technology for learning and sharing across the globe
  • Globalization of localization

Aims & Objectives of the DST formation

  • Disseminate issue oriented information through DST to different target groups as a means of addressing the problems of society
  • Adopt innovative means of information sharing & capacity building by DST production & dissemination
  • Influence policy makers & civil society about the various issues of the society
  • Cultivate mutually beneficial networking relationship with multistakeholders

Who can learn the art & Science of Digital story telling?

  • A computer literate creative person with no age bar
  • Creative School going kids
  • Creative college going students
  • Creative housewives
  • Creative professionals belong to formal & Informal sectors of the job
  • Creative social workers
  • Creative religious leaders & Scholars
  • Creative old & retired people
  • Creative teachers

Empowering the Underprivileged through the use of ICTs”

Project description( Empowering the Underprivileged through the use of ICTs Seelampur, Delhi)

Organization Details:Datamation Foundation as part of UNSECO’s Major Cross Cutting Theme Programme on Eradication of Poverty entitled “Empowering the Underprivileged through the use of ICTs” set up a Community Multi-Media Centre (CMC) in Babul-ulm-Madarasa located in extremely impoverished and backward Seelampur-Zaffrabad predominantly Muslim neighborhood in the fringes of North-East Delhi in March 2003. Average family size in the area is 8 to 10 and monthly family incomes range from Rs.4,000-5,000. Most people are engaged in the informal sector and small businesses. The school dropout rate amongst the girls is over 60%. Women get married early and are not permitted to step out of homes unaccompanied.

The objectives of establishing CMC in Seelampur were to test the hypothesis that after attaining a level of empowerment; language or education are not the barriers for the Minority Muslim women to access ICTs for unleashing their ‘latent’ communication need apart from a need to ‘creatively’ express themselves. The Project wanted to further ensure that by a systematic delivery of mentoring counseling and training materials in the local languages; it is possible the semi-literate and neo-literate, marginalized Minority Muslim women from the ghettos to earn sustainable livelihoods enabled by ICTs

Objective of Project: The Datamation Foundation and UNESCO wanted to provide appropriate ICT enabled support mechanism viz. capacity-building, marketing and financial linkage for the women engaged in informal sector of the economy encompassing small and petty businesses. Moreover ICTs could help overcome Muslim women’s perpetual cycle of poverty, social exclusion and low bargaining power by building their capacities and vocational skills.

The project also wanted to test if ICTs could play an enabling role in empowering the Muslim women to deal with age-old social problems such as the denial of equal status to the women in the society, dependence on the family for all decisions ranging from various personal decisions viz. reproductive rights, career and vocational options. Towards this end effective multi-media training, learning and counseling materials in empowerment; basic literacy and vocational skills enhancement were proposed to be deployed.

Towards this end; the Datamation Foundation set up a Community ICT Training-cum-counseling center in the Babul-ulm-Madarasa with UNESCO’s support. The Center located in the Seelampur-Zaffrabad ghetto was opened for the Community use in March 2003. Till date, the project has reached out to more than 2000 women from the Seelampur Community.

Scope of Project: Due to traditional linkage between the learning, teaching process and the enabling role of ICT on the same apart from the crucial role of Islamic clergy; it was decided to co-locate the CMC within the premises of Madarsa instead of a public place. The women were provided separate entry to the institution. Extensive community mobilization was done with the help of a Mentor Mother who reached out to the Community for enrollment of the women in the ICT Center. Community mobilization drive commences apart from ensuring enlistment of the women as “canvassers” and “community mobilizers”

Integrated with the technical aspect of the project; is the ongoing ethnographic action research process facilitated by the London School of Economics and the Queensland University, Australia. We also provided weekly updates based on ‘immersion’ and ‘community animator’ concept for understanding in-depth impact of ICTs on the women and their families. The updates were posted on the ictPR website as well as field notes apart from posting notes on the forum.

The Foundation developed over 654 self-paced, interactive multi-media empowerment and skills development CDs. In-built evaluation procedures were integrated in the CDs. The CDs ranged from health, nutrition, life-skill topics; apart from empowerment; rights, duties and responsibilities of the women; life skills, adolescence, confidence-building and personality development. Consolidating on the ‘innate’ design, arts, crafts and workmanship most people including those of Seelampur possess; the project deployed over 40 different skills and vocational modules ranging from tailoring, embroider, candle making, liquid soap, management of courier and tiffin centres, stationary items, paper bags etc. The Foundation enabled formation of the Self-Help Groups after the women had completed the learning on the modules. Multi-stakeholder workshops were conducted for exploring mutual synergies and linkages.

The Foundation also started the process of identifying commercial opportunities for the beneficiaries of the project. Participation in various exhibitions, events apart from direct marketing of the arts and crafts produced by Seelampur women was organized. A portal has been set up for the marketing of Seelampur arts, crafts and services. Payment gateway, fulfillment, order servicing have been activated.

Apart from multi-media CDs; UNESCO and NIC local community browser eNRICH a generic, customizable, web-based solution designed to facilitate Seelampur women’s knowledge and communication requirements on their own, without requiring any special technical skills. Seelampur women were able to quickly build their own gateway website, enriched with their own local content.

The Seelampur CMC has successfully demonstrated forging of a diverse, multi-sectoral, multi-specialty Multi-stakeholder Platform (MSP) for public good. Despite the heterogeneous nature of partners; keen desire to deploy and implement successful ICT4 Development models in public interest has enabled below partners,apart from the Datamation Foundation & the Babool-ulm-Madadrsa to work together on the project:

  • --Microsoft: Microsoft has tested Hindi Operating system amongst the Seelampur community and used test results for their product development.
  • --CISCO: CISCO is in the process of commencing their basic networking and advanced hardware maintenance program for the Seelampur Community.
  • --One World South Asia (OWSA): The Seelampur Site is a OWSA Open Knowledge Network (OKN) partner. As OKN hub, the Datamation Foundation in partnership with the local communities has been producing and disseminating vibrant, innovative local knowledge pieces via printed newsletters, web-sites, cinema slides, radio jingles and short films.
  • --Govt. of India and the Govt. of Delhi : The Govt. of India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s PNDT Cell’s initiative on controlling sex selection abortions and campaign against female foeticide is being implemented from the Seelampur CMC. The Govt. of Delhi is also a very important stakeholder in this process.

Information on various welfare schemes of the Govt. of Delhi and Govt. of India such as registration of the Life & birth, Property Taxes, Admissions for the distance learning education programs conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Gets accessed and processed at Seelampur CMC.

  • --National Informatics Centre (NIC): The local community browser Enrich developed by the NIC has been successfully deployed at the Seelampur. The Enrich serves the local information needs effectively apart from providing localized inter-community and intra-community information networking opportunities.
  • --Networking opportunity for the local Artisan Groups and individual Artisans has been rendered from the Seelampur Mart(

After successful operation of one year; the CMC is now being run as a commercial Tele-Centre for rendering commercial services viz. typing, DTP, printing, binding, internet surfing and email.

  • Primary sector of ICT4D Project :Women’s Empowerment.
  • Secondary sector of ICT4D Project : Livelihoods.
  • Project Coverage Area : Seelampur-Zaffrabad is spread over 20 kms. and has a population of over 6.8 lacs.
  • Services contemplated: Empowerment, vocational and skills development with the help of ICTs; practical demonstrations, consultations for improving product design; marketing services for the women with the help of SHG formation. E-Commerce has been facilitated
  • Target Group:Minority Muslim women
  • Project start date : March 2003.
  • Number of years Project has been running Over two and a half years.
Project Implementation

  • Services actually provided: Educational and skills development training; vocational skills enhancement and basic literacy. Marketing linkage services have been rendered by organizing exhibitions and events apart from facilitating E-Commerce
  • Category of basic Computing implemented in the Project :Client Server architecture, hand held computers, scanners, printers. Significantly Plotter for facilitating CAD to enable sharpened project designs is contemplated. Design tablets have been provided as well.
  • Category of basic Data Communication implemented in the Project : Cable internet access.
  • Type of software tools utilized:Local community browser Enrich, skills development multi-media CDs, Design tools.
  • Innovation if any deployed in the Project : First ever organized attempt for ICT diffusion in the area reaching out to the Minority community; apart from formation of the women’s SHG and linking them to markets are some innovations apart from extensive use of local content development for skills development.
  • Technology Model : CAD and local community browser driven; Clients and Hand held computers.
  • Business Model : Initial resources have been committed by UNESCO and Datamation; however the project leverages on the skills, competence of the local women by channelizing these into income generation opportunities.
  • Beneficiaries :

Metrics and Impact

  • Impact assessment of the project: Several universities have carried out Impact assessment studies including One World South Asia, Development Gateway, Outlook Magazine and Indian Express.
  • Independent evaluations or impact assessment studies carried out and name of the project evaluator : Development Gateway
  • Euro-India Development Cooperation Forum have also carried out an evaluation which may be seen at
  • Findings of the evaluation and impact assessment studies : ICTs have had a cascading effect on the lives of the women of Seelampur apart from their families in not only empowering them and building their self-esteem, confidence but also in enabling to enjoy better quality of life.


  • Sustainability, if any demonstrated by the project :With the help of Tele Centre income, sales proceeds of the SHGs selling their arts and crafts apart from the fee paid by the women; the project is sustainable.
  • Replicability, if any demonstrated by the project The project is being replicated in few other parts of the country as well as abroad with the help of participating Islamic Learning Institutions.
  • Project Documentation available if any : ,
  • Lessons learnt from the Project and Conclusions: Seelampur project is a step forward in a globalized world for the women from a poor community trying to find their rightful place. Deploying a multi-pronged ICT enabled empowerment and skills enhancement strategy; the project has provided an opportunity for the women to interact with the external world and come in direct contact with the ultimate buyers of their products.
  • Business Facilitation Centers (MFCs) in the National Capital Region:
  • We have established 10 MFCs in the under-served areas of the National Capital Region viz. Seelampur-Zaffarabad, Trilokpuri, Khichripur, Chilla Village, Ballimaran. Some of these sites are the UNESCO ICT for Poverty Reduction (ictPR) sites. More than 5,000 women have been served, and the Project was awarded by the Govt. of India National e-Governance award 2005.
• To render all possible help and facilities to the under privileged and "un reached" by enabling them to realize their potential.

• To generate employment opportunities in the rural and areas for the "un reached" and economically and socially "disfranchised" by providing technological, social and administrative solutions for sustainable deployment of ICTs through Community Multi-Media Centers and Information Kiosks in an innovative way.

• To partner with various international development agencies, donors apart from private sector and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for the deployment of innovate, "pro-poor" ICT solutions.

• To relentlessly pursue path-breaking objectives and programs targeted towards gender and youth in: --Violence against Women including trafficking, slavery bonded labor and dowry
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