Ganga Bhandari responded to Oxfam Asia’s call for young people to blog about urban development issues. Here she explains how an independent project she has set up is providing rural Nepali women with access to computers as a step up to access work and take advantage of business opportunities.
In the 21st century everyone wants to simplify their life with the use of digital media. Simply put, digital literacy is the ability to effectively and critically navigate, it is the ability to use and create information. Computer literacy is a person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in the today’s digital environment.
We are determined to plan for and promote the role of young Nepalese girls and women in the field of ICTsI am a 26-year-old graduate of Tribhuwan University. I grew up in Sukrabare in Eastern Nepal. I am a woman volunteer leader of the initiative and crowdfunding campaign “Young Information Technology Graduates Minds”. We are determined to plan for and promote the role of young Nepalese girls and women in the field of ICTs with the help of e- literacy training, and the recycling of e-waste. We also plan to organize innovative idea sharing conferences and expos so that a greater number of women ICT students can become exposed to international trends and skills opportunities in the area.
Our project is focused on the collection of used laptops or desktop computers from individuals and organizations that are willing to donate them, we then refurbish them and set up computer labs and provide e-literacy training to public school students and female-headed households in remote areas of Nepal. Many of these people have never seen or used a computer. We have already set up two computer labs and held four digital e-literacy training courses and we are looking for more funding to carry on our work.
The training applies new knowledge gained from digital environments using a range of digital technologies. As literacy rates are also low in Nepal it makes sense to provide digital training alongside literacy programmes. As digital lifestyles become more prevalent, technologies like mobile phones, voice over IP telephones, video, pictures, television, gaming devices and smartphones are converting the consumers to more digital lifestyles.
We want to prompt women in particular to use computer software and hardware, skills which are sought after in today’s globalised marketOur main objective is to plug the digital divide between the computer literate and computer illiterate groups. We want to prompt women in particular to use computer software and hardware, skills which are sought after in today’s globalised market. Finally, I want to establish a “Beauty Soft Developing House,” where only women and young people are employed as coders, focusing on a user-friendly social security mobile apps and a website providing agricultural support.
One of the main challenges in the remote areas of Nepal is supplying power for the computer labs. We are selecting schools that have been connected to electricity, either through stand-alone micro hydro-power plants or through the national electricity grid supply. In the second phase, we plan to use funding to install solar power to provide electricity for running computer labs in schools.