Project Name: Community IT Centers and Organizing Women Workers in Gujarat, India
Grantee: Natascia Boeri
Funding Cycle: 2013-2014
Project Status: In progress
About The Project
This project will expand community IT centers developed by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). SEWA is a labor union for women in the informal economy based in Gujarat, India. Its community IT center program was developed to provide a digital platform that connects workers and organizers in rural villages. The centers bring the latest communication technologies to rural areas in Gujarat – places that have never had access to Internet. Programs are streamed live from the IT center hub to village centers allowing women to discuss and learn from each other. The centers were designed with the belief that through collective action women can organize across villages to overcome the common barriers they face. Community IT centers are an innovative way to organize women despite cultural, economic, and geographic restraints. This project will expand the centers by developing a website for women in the villages to access SEWA resources as well as upload and share documents that they create themselves. The website design will be a collaborative process; the project lead, SEWA’s Research Director, and members of the villages will work together on its development and content. In addition, a training module will be created on how to develop community IT centers for other organizations.
Bio: Natascia Boeri is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the Graduate Center. Her dissertation work examines the changing dynamics of women’s societal roles as a result of their participation in the informal economy. Focusing on the experiences of home-based workers, she is conducting research with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad, India.
Photo credit: SEWA.