Google’s Internet Saathi initiative was started in May 2015 in partnership with TATA Trust to reduce the digital gender gap in rural areas of India. Through this program Google is educating and training women from rural India to use the Internet. Google is creating “I- Saathi`s” across villages who are further teaching women and children on uses and benefits of the Internet. This program has trained and aided over 2 lakh women across villages in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The ‘Internet Saathi’ initiative is part of Google’s ‘Helping Women Get Online’ campaign, which is designed to create awareness about the benefits of Internet among women in rural India. The ‘Internet Saathi’ program focuses on training women and larger communities in rural India to explore the various uses and benefits of the Internet. The Saathis then impart training to the rural community in their own and neighbouring villages.
Through Internet Saathi’s, Google aims to bridge the technology gender divide, which currently puts women in rural India at further risk of getting marginalized in the society as the world around them benefits from getting online.
An Internet Sathi said, “Initial obvious questions were ‘What will I do by learning the Internet?’ and ‘How will it help me in my farmwork?’ But I managed to convince a handful of women,” she said.
Another Saathi, Indumati Mahato, said that a pregnant lady in her village had no idea which hospital to go to. “I searched the net and gave her the address of three nearest hospitals where she could go for the delivery. She went to the nearest one, where she gave birth to a twin,” Mahato said.