NASSCOM Foundation, the social development arm of NASSCOM, India's pioneer IT-BPO industry body, announced the commencement of ConnectIT workshops in Rajasthan at the ConnectIT Day held in the state capital on the 20th of April. ConnectIT is a series of workshops for Government officers and NGO managers aimed at building capacities in using technology for development. The program is conducted in partnership with Microsoft. The first such session was held in Jaipur and will be followed up by similar workshops in Udaipur, Kota and Ajmer.
Speaking on the ConnectIT initiative Ms. Rumi Mallick, National Programme Manager, NASSCOM Foundation said, "With ConnectIT, NASSCOM Foundation will further enhance the capabilities of NGOs and enable them to build a better infrastructure in their efforts to change lives. For government officers, these training workshops aim to be a step ahead in building their skills to effectively implement e-Governance in their departments. The ConnectIT sessions have been a success in Maharashtra, we hope to repeat the same in Rajasthan too"
The inaugural session of ConnectIT Day was graced by Mr. M L Mehta- ex Chief Secretary of Rajasthan and Trustee of Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Mr. M D Shivankar- Managing Director, Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Ltd and Mr. Deepak Maheshwari- Director Corporate Affairs, Microsoft India. This session brought together a panel who led forward thinking discussion of IT/ICTs [Information and communication technologies] potential as a key force to accelerate social and economic development. Panelists' shared their innovative examples of IT/ICT advancing social development.
Mr. Mehta spoke about the current developments in IT and its integration with government services, health services etc. and how it was revolutionizing the service delivery to citizens. He pointed out how e -governance helps citizens and villagers to avail of government services easily and save resources in money and time. He gave various examples in telemedicine, timely agricultural informational services available to farmers, how mobiles help reach information to the villages among others. He emphasized the need for trained manpower to deliver these services and gave various examples of capacity building efforts of the government and the need to further such efforts.
Mr. Deepak Maheshwari spoke about how companies are helping to make technology solutions available to all, by customizing solutions, local language solutions. He gave the example of Microsoft Multi-point server and how this can help multiple users - spoke about the imp of this kind of solutions for schools and offices where a lot of people can work together using one single system. He also spoke about Microsoft activities with NGOs mentioning Microsoft Unlimited potential programme and the Software donation programme.
Mr. M.D. Shivankar emphasized the importance of Training, network (reaching the masses) and supporting research for implementing a government programme. He elaborated the work of Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Ltd in creating learning centres across the state; he quoted C K Pralhad by saying 'eradicating poverty through profits' and 'reaching the masses'. The objective of such learning centres is to infuse IT skills in youth to make their employable. He also insisted on the role of NGOs in awareness building and taking this forward.
All the panelists' emphasized on the need to network and integrate diverse efforts in IT for governance and NGOs. With the current trend towards integration of IT in all spheres of like and work, there is a genuine need for capacity building at all levels and efforts such as ConnectIT would definitely be a step ahead.
Challenges to IT adoption in NGOs and Government Departments and Capacity building for leveraging new opportunities of IT in social development was focused on in the second session.The panelists shared views and debated on the same keeping in mind the common challenges and possible solutions to using technology in development. The session touched upon trends, relevance and opportunities of capacity building for government officers and NGOs. The session was chaired by Dr. Vikas Goswami, Lead CSR Microsoft, India, Bhutan and Nepal. The panelists' included Ms. Rainu Singh, Executive Director, Disha, Mr. Satyen Chaturvedi, Rajasthan Voluntary Health Organisation, Ms. Pushpa Aman Singh, CEO, GuidestarIndia and Mr. Dileep Kumar Yadav Head, IC4D, ARAVALI
All panelists' explained how they have used ICTs in work in their NGOs and the kind of challenges they faced. Some of the key points that emerged were that corporates could come up with more localized solutions like localizing the computer language. More emphasis could be given to how even small organizations could develop their own IT -enabled solutions. Social media as a tool for participation and sharing needs to be empathized. They also mentioned that training distant educators through video conference and e-learning could be given importance.
The ConnectIT workshops which will follow across Rajasthan will enable the participant NGOs to draw on best practices and uses of technology for their own specific environment and areas of effort, and enable them to deliver top-of-the-line service in the areas in which they operate.
About NASSCOM Foundation
NASSCOM Foundation is a charity registered under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 and under Section 12A of Income Tax Act; the social development arm of NASSCOM, the internationally recognized trade body of the Indian IT industry. NASSCOM Foundation aimsto channelize the potential of the IT-BPO industry towards inclusive development of India. For further details refer to www.nasscomfoundation.org