Case Study III. Datamation Gender Resource Center, India

Datamation Foundation was founded in 2001 as a non-profit, apolitical organization to empower poor people in Delhi. Datamation addresses issues of gender equality, youth empowerment and poverty alleviation. In 2003, Datamation started a Gender Resource Center (GRC) in a high-density, low-income area in New Delhi in order to holistically reach the needs of women and girls. The GRC includes the Seelampur ICT Community Center, which trains women and girls how to use ICTs to improve their living conditions.

Management and Financing
The Seelampur Community ICT Center is funded by UNESCO and Datamation Foundation, and works in parallel with other UNESCO initiatives. It partners with NGOs, government, universities, private companies, media and technology groups.

The Community ICT Center focuses on economically and socially disadvantaged women, communities and youth in India and other developing countries.

The GRC provides holistic programming for women and girls, including programming on education and skill-building, health, legal rights, micro-enterprise and entrepreneurship, information-sharing and networking, and non-formal literacy. Vocational training programs include fashion design, media development and basic computer literacy, beauty culture, and arts, crafts and painting. Further, the GRC offers monthly health camps (with access to doctors, medicine and referrals), nutrition and AIDS awareness camps and legal awareness sessions twice a week.

The GRC also runs an information center where beneficiaries can ask about old age pensions, loans and financial aid. The information help desk organizes weekly meetings about benefit schemes, self-help groups, life skills and awareness programs, and it has Internet connectivity. The GRC also advocates and assists women with issues such as feticide, dowry, family violence and injustice. It partners with the Delhi government to ensure welfare schemes reach the most marginalized women of the community.

ICT Community Center
The Community ICT Center deploys innovative IT solutions for skill enhancement. It uses interactive multimedia tools to support vocational and life-skills training to poor girls and women, including awareness building on health issues and food preservation and support to professional activities such as tailoring and quilt-making. It is equipped with a server, four computers with Internet access, a scanner and a printer.

In addition, the local community needs-based browser "EnRICH " links the community to information, including 40 different income generation specialties and health care modules that will enable young people and women to lead healthier lives and earn sustainable incomes.

ICT Programming
The GRC has two programmes based on ICTs for marginalized women. First, there is a basic computer literacy program. The students learn how to make documents, files and folders and how to save, cut and paste text and graphics. They also learn how to work in MS Word. Secondly, an advanced media design and development programme has been created for those who have already been trained in e-literacy. In this programme, most women have completed the primary computer literacy course. They learn how to use software such as Quark, Corel Draw and Photo Shop. For one project assignment, they make cartoon stories of local issues. They also learn desktop publishing, web designing and multimedia, and Page Maker.

Future Viability
The ICT Center experiences ongoing challenges. For instance, it struggles with mobilizing the community, inspiring beneficiaries to feel ownership of the center, finding suitable volunteers and training local staff. To address these issues, a trained researcher feeds regular findings into the project to assist in adapting the access model to suit the evolving usage needs of the community.

Despite ongoing challenges, in January 2010, the ICT Center had 51 beneficiaries, who undertook training in Basic Computers and Media Development. In addition, another 61 beneficiaries took the Beauty Culture and Health Care training, 44 took Fashion Design, 50 took Arts and Crafts, and 32 beneficiaries took training in the Non-formal Education programme. In addition, 300 beneficiaries attended the monthly Health Camp (11 referrals), 395 attended the weekly Health Camp, 135 took the Nutrition and AIDS Awareness Camp, while 152 beneficiaries attended the legal awareness program, and 403 beneficiaries used the Information Help Desk.