ICTs for Empowerment
The influx of new media – phones, computers, digital film and video – into towns and peri-rural areas has brought technology closer to the lives of young people and women. Nirantar sees empowering potential in new media, especially for young women from marginalised communities with limited formal education to challenge a social structure that circumscribes the trajectories of their lives to domesticity. New media can also open up new and non-conventional opportunities for them to engage in the public domain. Nirantar seeks to promote the use of technology to enable young women to express themselves with minimal dependence on others. Such factors and the sheer excitement of using computers, cameras etc, mean that empowerment processes related to technology take place at a comparatively rapid pace. Nirantar undertakes capacity building on new media technologies with a strong focus on building an understanding of marginalisation and empowerment, with young Muslim, Dalit and tribal women, as well as with groups who work with young women. Nirantar will also undertake advocacy for the provision of learning opportunities especially for young women from marginalised communities by the State, rather than the existing gender stereotypical vocational skill trainings that are offered. Such vocational options also tend to be highly unsuccessful at enhancing incomes, unlike ICTs, which have the potential to do so.