Facebook has announced the second phase of its ‘GOAL’ initiative under which the social networking giant is helping tribal girls from across the country to become village-level digital young leaders for their communities.
The second phase of the programme, launched by Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda, will digitally mentor 5,000 young women in India’s tribal dominated districts. Launched earlier this year in March, Going Online as Leaders (GOAL) connects underprivileged young women from tribal areas with senior expert mentors in the areas of business, fashion and arts to learn digital and life skills.
“Through this partnership, the GOAL programme will provide economically and socially marginalised young women with the tools and guidance they need to succeed, using technology they may otherwise have not had access to,” Munda said.
The initiative will include weekly one-to-one mentoring sessions that focus on a range of skills such as digital literacy, entrepreneurship and online safety. Overall, more than 2,00,000 hours of guidance will be provided using the Facebook family of apps including WhatsApp and Messenger. Following the programme, the participants will graduate to the GOAL alumni and will continue to receive support and guidance from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Facebook.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs will also work with district administration and other government agencies to help secure qualified participants with a fellowship, so they can put their newly learned skills to work. More than 125 young women have enrolled for the programme.
Many of these women are using the internet to highlight issues their communities face and have even expressed a desire to set up their own businesses. Facebook India Head Ajit Mohan said about 30-35 per cent of women in India have access to the Internet in India. “We are committed to investing in ways to address this gap and bring the power of the Internet to more women in India,” he added.