Mirzapur Girls Project
Making 'AsPi'rations Come True with community computing in Uttar Pradesh
Janastu, Medha, Development Alternatives, la Caixa, Work for Progress,
We are currently (2020-2021) working in several villages in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. Janastu and Medha (Lucknow) were selected to deploy social innovation methodologies to reach young girls and open up new opportunities for them. "Work 4 Progress" (W4P) India Programme called to experiment with technology to overcome lack of connectivity, mobility and safety in workspaces faced by young rural women in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Value-driven technology represents a window to the future of work for young girls and their dreams and aspirations. Our project was to create a hyper-local mesh that would be inclusive of women and other low-literate people around the girls in their story narratives, and help develop a process for developing a hyper-media decentralised archive that helps navigate and discover skills in the area so they are collectively gig enabled.
The year 2020 made travel to the area impossible and we worked with out local partner Medha in developing and deploying ASPi: an aspiration device which is enabling young girls to connect with high-end technologies to record narratives and learn new skills in entrepreneurship and communication. The prototype technology is called ASPi (based on unleashing aspirations of young girls), that records audio and visual messages and transmits them over a wider network. The technology began with the idea to enable Medha and Janastu to listen to young girls, while facilitating conversations among them, as they went about their day.
As the girls became more comfortable with the technology, they began synchronising, annotating and sharing their recordings with each other. The initial stories of their daily routines, their families, childhood experiences and incidences evolved to significant topics with the girls speaking of their talent, aspirations and role models.

Mission

Problem Statement

How might we use information and communication technology (ICT) to create virtual co-working spaces for young women (18-25) in eastern Uttar Pradesh, thereby enhancing access to entrepreneurial work opportunities in a rapidly transforming economy?

As part of “la Caixa” Banking Foundation call Challenge Work4progress 2019, Janastu / Servelots in collaboration with Development Alternatives (DA) and Medha is working in the Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh state in India. With a larger objective to encourage rural women, students, young women in traditional labor and skill contexts, typically low literate and unconnected or unable to discover or publish useful content on the Internet, to find purposeful online communities to actively engage with for their collective needs of skill development and entrepreneurial aspirations.

Vision

  • Gig empowering young women in the villages of Mirzapur
  • Creating synergies between skills among the young women and their digitally connected cohorts.
  • Nurturing backward linkages from the aspirations of outgoing students to a cohesive gig empowerment of their communities.

Solution

Aimed at creating synergies between gig empowered young women and digitally connected communities. Nurture an outlook for women to think beyond the convention towards new age income generation opportunities. A tech platform will help enable “self preneurs” engaging with local communities through freelancing opportunities to create a sustainable ecosystem.
Our exercise is to ensure Comfortive, Cohesive, Upskilling, Communicative, Freelancing spaces.

Implementation

Stages

  • Dialogue
  • Co-creation
  • Prototype
  • Acceleration

Process

A Visit to Mirzapur
8 members from Janastu team had planned to visit Mirzapur in march 2020, tickets were booked for both flights and trains. With the covid situation we had to cut short on people and finally Dinesh and Shalini went ahead with the visit.
This visit marked new beginnings for us in UP and since then, we have gone from strength to strength.
Here is a summary of this visit Visit Summary
Here are the photographs of the visit Photos

Outcomes

We are currently working in several villages in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh where we are building a webinar device (based on raspberry pis) for collectives and groups of college-going girls who have not been able to continue their vocational education and schooling because of the ongoing pandemic. This is a substantial contribution to edu-tech as it seeks to address the problems of connectivity and schooling that are faced by about 75% of the households in the country. Through a low-cost and accessible setup, we are creating technology that is community-driven and for the use of groups, thereby working towards goal of self-directed learning as well. "While these webinar-pis can be used for educational seminars, online/recorded classes".

Key Activities Conducted

Index
Activity
Details
1
Humaari Kahaaniya
Link
2
Towards Safe Spaces Online
Link
3
Introducing Wikimedia Projects
Link
4
Activities List for Mirzapur Girls
Link
5
Village Diaries, Songs, Stories, Videos
Link
6
Hamaare Sapne (document in Hindi)
Link
7
Workshops with AsPi
Link
8
Cook and Sell Activity
Link
9
KiFi Film Festival
Link

Reflections and Results

Index
Key Results
Details
1
Mirzapur Update June 2020
Link
2
W4P JAM Stories End of Year 2020
Link
3
W4P Tech Challenge Project Review Meeting
Link
4
Garima Girls Till Now
Link
5
From Ideas To Action - The W4P Project
Link
6
Swarambh (W4P Tech Challenge)
Link

Reading Material

Relevant Blog Articles

Index
Title
Details
1
Journey, Dreams and Everything in Between
Link
2
AsPi Case
Link
3
Papad Audio
Link
4
Sculpting a Webinar Pi - The Pi4 Debacles
Link