I was completely intrigued by the idea of the use of computers in the villages, and what a focus group would be like. Turned out, it wasn’t drastically different from what we have back home, besides the fact that it was in a different language, it was at a very rudimentary level and the concept of computers and communication was very new to them.
The ICT (Information, Communication and Technology) work in the villages today is focused on computer training in MS Office tools, Google email and Google translate usage, and Internet surfing and web-browsing. Also, Desktop applications (DTP) like Photoshop, Pagemaker, etc. are being used for photo editing for desktop publishing, posters, banners, wedding cards, greeting cards, and likes. Digital photography and photo editing training is new in the villages. Data entry is one other training that is big in the villages – the applications are called Member Management Systems (MMS) and Member Information Systems (MIS). Just like software, members are also getting trained in PC hardware – learning about the various computer parts, assembling PCs, troubleshooting issues, installing software, and getting the computers up and running. Tally Accounting Software was one that kept coming up in the context of accounting. It is very widely used amongst farmers, RUDI and other small businesses to keep track of various costs and incomes. Master Trainers are also teaching the youth members to fill online job applications to advance in their careers.
Newer technologies include: use of Google hangout to share opinions and learning, e-learning programs for distant learning and standardizing curriculum, e-medicine for remote diagnosis of illness and prescriptions by doctors, Digital Money via Mastercard for payments via cellphones, Community radio and text messages for broadcasting information, Skype for communication, etc.
Phew, it was overwhelming to learn that there were so many applications of technology in the rural areas. And they are constantly looking to grow…