The GICT Awards 2005 ceremony will be held during the 10th AWID International
Forum on Women's Rights in Development on October 27 to 30, 2005 in Bangkok,
Thailand. A knowledge-sharing session will also be organised in conjunction
with the award ceremony.
The 2005 GICT Awards focused on information and communication technology
initiatives which promote women's economic empowerment and development in
Asia Pacific. Economic empowerment was defined as the ability to overcome
marginalisation and oppressive social norms, provide choices and
opportunities for women, provide strong encouragement for women to fulfil
their potential, and enable women to acquire the voice and capability to
counter their lack of socio-economic-political power in the community.
Emphasising this focus are three major criteria: the use of ICTs to promote
women's economic empowerment and gender equality; upscaling of initiatives
and community-centred technologies; and the promotion of cooperation and
GICT AWARDS WINNER: HELPING WOMEN HELP THEMSELVES
The winning project, the Pallitathya Help-Line Centre (Call Centre for the
Poor and Underprivileged), was conceived by the Development through Access to
Network Resources (D.Net) <http://www.dnet-bangladesh.org> organisation in
2003. It was based on assessment findings which showed that lack of timely
and relevant information was a major bottleneck to rural development, and a
leading factor in the exploitation of the underprivileged, particularly
The Help-Line deployed women in the community as "Mobile Operator Ladies" who
move from door-to-door to enable other women ---mostly housewives--- to ask
questions related to livelihood, agriculture, health, and legal rights via a
mobile phone, while Help-Desk operators respond to the women's queries with
the use of a database-driven software application and the internet. To expand
the information database, resource persons from government, non-government
organisations, health groups and human rights organisations partnered with
D.Net to provide a steady stream of responses to frequently asked questions.
With women's economic empowerment as its centrepiece, the Pallitathya
Help-Line Centre directly addressed the community's information needs on
health, education, livelihood, employment and agriculture, while keeping the
beneficiaries' anonymity intact. As mobile operator ladies, women were
consciously given a crucial role as "infomediaries," increasing their
self-worth, their potential to earn, and their knowledge about various
issues. Women help-desk operators also enhanced their knowledge of issues and
considerably improved their communication skills. Women who availed of the
Help-Line service professed a higher self-assessment and realisation of their
potential and worth in society, increased incomes, and increased authority
over spending decisions.
Dr Ananya Raihan, Executive Director of D. Net said in describing his
organisation's reaction to the award, " I saw the light of inspiration in
their eyes. He added, "We would like to go a long way. At this early stage
this recognition will facilitate us to work more and achieve the ultimate
For its efforts, D.Net's Pallitathya Help-Line Center will receive a cash
prize of US$8,000, while the two runners-up will each receive US$3,000.
Representatives of each project will also be supported to attend the AWID
Forum, where more than 2,000 women's rights activists, academics, policy
makers and students from all other the world are expected to converge.
GICT AWARDS RUNNERS-UP: BUILDING BUSINESS THROUGH ICTS IN INDIA AND MALAYSIA
"Putting ICTs in the Hands of the Poor",
<http://www.datamationfoundation.org/economic.htm> a theme project of the
Seelampur Community ICT Centre project, is a tripartite alliance among
Datamation Foundation Charitable Trust, the UNESCO, and the
Babul-Uloom-Madrasa, an orthodox Muslim religious school in India. Seelampur
is a Muslim minority ghetto marked by extreme poverty.
A modern ICT centre was set up within the Babul-Uloom-Madrasa to provide a
venue for Muslim women to learn from interactive multimedia packages on
vocational skills, small businesses, and human and legal rights. The ICT
Centre also established support mechanisms in the form of capacity-building,
marketing and financial networking for the women to engage in
Skills and vocational modules in CDs made available to the women of Seelampur
ranged from tailoring, embroidery, candle making and liquid soap making to
management of courier and tiffin centres, basic literacy, confidence-building
and personality development. The Centre also established a local community
website called eNRICH <http://enrich.nic.in/>, where women get basic computer
training and record their concerns on health, education, livelihood, and
other matters related to the community's needs.
The eHomemakers of Malaysia, was founded in 1988 as the "Mothers for Mothers"
network which empowered home workers, teleworkers, home business owners and
those who wanted home-based careers to improve their socio-economic status.
Through the eHomemakers website <http://www.ehomemakers.net/en/index.php>,
community members are able to network with each other via the Xchange
section, print newsletters, organise activities to advertise their products
and services for free, teletrade, barter exchange, and find teleworking
assignments, while working within their homes.
Sections such as Homebiz Management, Home-based Profiles, and IT Tips and
Tricks enable women to efficiently work from home, pursue entrepreneurial
ventures, and sustain home businesses. A Forum Board facilitates networking
and exchange of ideas and actual experiences, while experts in business
development and entrepreneurship respond to frequently asked questions. The
eHomemakers network targets women in the low-income group, including
unemployed single mothers with young/disabled children, the disabled and
chronically ill to work at home, through the strategic use of ICTs.
GENDER AND ICT AWARDS 2005
The GICT Awards 2005 <http://www.genderawards.net/> was open to civil society
organisations, community-based groups, networks and social movements in Asia
Pacific, with women, particularly, girls, as target beneficiaries. The Awards
were founded in 2003.
The Association for Progressive Communications Women's Networking Support
Programme (APC WNSP) is a global network of women who support women
networking for social change and women's empowerment through the use of ICTs
The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) is the leading international
multi-stakeholder network committed to harnessing the potential of
information and communication technologies (ICT) for sustainable and
equitable development. Ranging from grassroots practitioners to
policy-makers, GKP members and partners are innovators in the practical use
of ICT for development <http://www.globalknowledge.org/>.
The Gender and ICT Awards is supported by the the Swiss Agency for Development
and Cooperation (SDC) <http://www.sdc.admin.ch/> and the Department for
International Development (DfID), United Kingdom <http://www.dfid.gov.uk/>.
For more information about the Awards, please write to: