Digital Empowerment Foundation

Empowers marginalized communities through digital literacy and tools, fostering access to healthcare, education, and livelihood opportunities across various demographics in information-deprived regions

  • Bronze Certified 2023
  • FCRA
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  • Headquarters

    New Delhi, Delhi

  • Since


The Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) is committed to uplifting marginalized communities by providing enhanced access to healthcare, education, ski Read morells, and livelihood opportunities. Through digital literacy and tools, DEF aims to make technology accessible to diverse demographics, such as women, youth, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. The organisation's mission is to empower information-deprived regions by utilizing digital interventions to enhance access, consumption, and production of online information. DEF follows a six-fold path with a vision to eliminate information poverty and social backwardness. This involves ensuring internet access and digital literacy, promoting awareness of rights and entitlements through digital tools, facilitating improved opportunities in health, education, and livelihood, digitally empowering micro-enterprises, establishing a knowledge network, and advocating for internet access as a fundamental human right. DEF actively engages in digital empowerment through 1000 Community Information Resource Centres and 10,000 digital foot soldiers across 24 states and 135 districts. Its impact extends to over 30 million people, including those below the poverty line, women, artisans, youth, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. The organisation is dedicated to adapting and prioritizing access to digital tools in the ever-evolving digital era.


  • START Programme

    Imparting digital and media & information literacy to first-generation Internet users is the goal of START, a digital learning and MIL toolkit. Developed through years of hands-on training in rural and tribal communities, START offers a 45-hour curriculum covering 30 topics, including computer basics, application use, media & information literacy, and online security. With a pedagogy focused on hands-on training and gamification, efforts are ongoing to integrate a MIL module, enhancing users' abilities to access, analyze, and understand information. Plans involve transforming the entire curriculum into an audio-visual format for comprehensive inclusivity.

  • SoochnaPreneur Programme

    Soochnapreneur, a rural entrepreneurship project by DEF in collaboration with Qualcomm's wireless reach programme, addresses the information needs of India's 67% rural population. SoochnaPreneurs, equipped with an Android app named MeraApp, serve as information entrepreneurs, providing comprehensive details on Government welfare schemes and entitlements. The bilingual app, functioning online and offline, empowers vulnerable populations by facilitating easy access to their rights and benefits. MeraApp not only categorizes information by provinces and welfare areas but also enables users to submit grievances to Government portals and track complaint statuses, fostering social and financial inclusion.

  • DigiKargha Programme

    India's craft traditions, crucial for cultural identity and sustenance, involve around 70 lakh artisans officially, but unofficially, the figure rises to approximately 20 crore, forming the backbone of the non-farm rural economy. In collaboration with CSR groups, the Digital Empowerment Foundation initiated projects under the Digital Cluster Development Programme (DCDP). Inspired by the Chanderiyaan model, these projects focus on leveraging Information Communication Technology (ICT) and digital tools to enhance weaving skills, designs, marketing, and entrepreneurship, creating sustainable livelihoods in handloom clusters across various states since 2015. DEF established the DigiKargha Foundation (North) in 2017, aiming for digital empowerment and socio-economic sustainability in these clusters.

  • Humara MIL Kit for the Multiverse of Digital Fallacies

    This toolkit, integral to the Digital Empowerment Foundation’s Media and Information Literacy (MIL) initiatives, aims to equip individuals with the skills to interpret information critically and become proficient creators in the digital realm. Addressing the challenges of misinformation, online trolling, stereotypes, and prejudices, the toolkit provides accessible learning through comprehensive modules, interactive elements like games and role-play, and a unique comic book. It empowers marginalized communities with essential digital literacy, promoting critical thinking, online safety, engagement through gamification, storytelling, representation, and fostering community building in workshops and training sessions.

  • Smartpur Programme

    Smartpur envisions a holistic and digitally integrated ecosystem for creating ideal smart villages in India. The concept emphasizes integrating technology into existing practices to enhance daily lives, governance transparency, household economic prosperity, and access to services and information. It goes beyond mere internet availability, focusing on the optimal utilization of digital tools for social, ecological, and economic impact. Adopting a rural entrepreneurship model, Smartpur engages rural youth and community support to establish hub and spoke centres in identified clusters, providing essential services under pillars like education, health, governance, livelihood, finance, and entertainment, fostering a model smart village.

  • Training & Workshops

    Since 2007, DEF has been empowering communities through various training programmes. The digital literacy initiative within the CIRC project offers a 40-hour programme for rural youth, women, and children. Digital skills for employment provide hands-on training for rural youth, enhancing employability. eNGO capacity building imparts ICT skills to NGOs. Barefoot Wireless Network Engineers training equips local youth with basic wireless technologies. Other programmes include social media for empowerment, ICT for rural entrepreneurship, Digital Empowerment Youth Fellowship, Fellowship of the Loom, digital content creation, digital media for community radio, digital Panchayat capacity building, mGovernance, and eMSME capacity building.

Leadership Team

  • Osama Manzar

    Founder & Director

  • Amitabh Singhal


  • Madanmohan Rao


  • Nahid Jubair

    Deputy Director

  • Arpana Singhal

    Deputy Director

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  • Headquarters

    House No# 44, 2nd & 3rd Floor, Kalu Sarai, Near Naraina IIT Academy, New Delhi, 110017


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  • 2020-21

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  • 2021-22

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  • 2022-23

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