In a bid to empower more women with digital know how and new age skill sets, Facebook today announced GOAL- Going Online As Leaders, a program aimed at inspiring, guiding and encouraging tribal girls from across India to become village-level digital young leaders for their communities. Spanning across West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, the initiative seeks to nurture and train young girls from India’s tribal heartland across three core areas – digital literacy, life skills, leadership and entrepreneurship.
The program will see 25 eminent people from diverse backgrounds like business, education and health to politics, arts and entrepreneurship volunteering and personally mentoring 4 girls each from tribal communities across the above priority states. Spanning for a period of one year, the program will see on-ground trainers impart digital literacy to the identified girls through a dedicated digital skilling curriculum while the 25 women leaders mentor them via Facebook or WhatsApp on a fortnightly basis. The digital training of the selected girls will be supported by Digital Empowerment Foundation led by Osama Manzar through pre-established community digital infrastructure hubs in tribal areas of the country.
Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director, Facebook -India, South & Central Asia said, “The internet, especially social media over the past few years has emerged as one of the most powerful tools for empowering women from across India’s diverse social economic backgrounds and varied cultural roots. With GOAL, we seek to make the digital medium more accessible and usable for young girls from our resource rich but economically weak tribal communities in the country. We are confident that this network of learners will employ these skills as a means of social and economic elevation for themselves and drive change making in their communities.”
In order to be a part of GOAL, the applicants will be required to be over 18 years of age and of tribal origin. The programme will specifically focus on girls who’ve dropped out of school due to financial constraints, reside near the skilling center to ensure regular participation.
GOAL will provide functional digital marketing and safety skills; equip the participants with basic digital tools; and nurture this network of young girls to instill life skills, leadership qualities and entrepreneurial attitude- readying them to shape the future of their respective communities. By the end of this year-long project, 25 women leaders would have inspired, guided and encouraged 100 girls from tribal communities to imbibe digital skills and life skills to become village-level Young Agents of Change.