Ten organisations across India have been selected as grantees through the Women Connect Challenge India, launched by Reliance Foundation and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Women Connect Challenge aims to bridge the gender digital divide by providing innovative solutions that will increase women’s economic empowerment through technology. It aims to improve women’s participation in everyday life by meaningfully changing the ways women access and use technology.Over Rs 11 crore has been invested in the initiative and of this, Reliance
Foundation has supported Rs 8.5 crore. Over 3 lakh women and girls across 17 states will be the beneficiaries of this initiative.The ten grantees are Anudip Foundation, Barefoot College International, Centre for Youth and Social Development, Friends of Women’s World Banking, Naandi Foundation, Professional Assistance for Development Action, Society for Development Alternatives, Solidaridad Regional
Expertise Centre, TNS India Foundation and ZMQ Development.
The solutions address women farmers, entrepreneurs, members of Self-Help Groups to address social and cultural barriers to bridge the gender digital divide.
Speaking on the occasion, Founder- Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani, congratulated and welcomed the ten winners saying, "Reliance Foundation has also been working in partnership with USAID towards bridging the gender digital divide in India. Technology is a powerful means to address and eliminate inequality ", quoted the press release.
The WomenConnect Challenge India was launched in August 2020. From a pool of over 180 applications, 10 organisations were selected with grants between Rs 75 lakhs to 1 crore each, for over a period of 12 to 15 months.
In January 2021, USAID and Reliance Foundation jointly hosted a Solvers Symposium bringing together semi-finalists and external experts for capacity building while brainstorming on the gender digital divide in India.