Reliance Foundation announces tie-up with W-GDP and USAID to bridge gender digital divide in India
The W-GDP Women’s Connect Challenge (WCC) supports private sector-led approaches that seek to close the gender digital divide, expand business opportunities, and empower women
Mumbai: Under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, a new partnership between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Reliance Foundation aims to bridge the gender digital divide in India.
The partnership was announced at a W-GDP event on Tuesday, hosted by Deputy Secretary of State of the United States Stephen Biegun and with special guest, Ivanka Trump, Advisor
to the President of the United States, and Deputy USAID Administrator Bonnie Glick. The event was live streamed at www.state.gov.
Trump said, "The W-GDP Fund was created to source and scale the most innovative programs to advance women’s economic empowerment. We are leveraging the resources and expertise of the US government and the private sector so that activities have enduring, deep effects on the communities they reach."
John Barsa, Acting Administrator, USAID, said, "Global prosperity will remain out of reach if we exclude half the population. At USAID, we believe investment in women is key to unlocking human potential on a transformational scale. The W-GDP Fund at USAID is financing innovative solutions to close the economic gap between women and men and help our partners advance on their Journeys to SelfReliance."
At the event, through a virtual video message, Nita M Ambani, founder and chairperson, Reliance Foundation, said, "I am delighted and proud to announce that Reliance Foundation is joining forces with W-GDP, through our partnership with USAID. Together, we shall launch the W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge across India, in the autumn of 2020. At the heart of this partnership, is our shared goal to help bridge both the gender divide and the digital divide in India."
The W-GDP Women’s Connect Challenge (WCC) supports private sector-led approaches that seek to close the gender digital divide, expand business opportunities, and empower women. As part of the programme, W-GDP will partner with the Reliance Foundation to create an India-specific expression of the WCC and incorporate the lessons of previous W-GDP WCC Rounds.
In 2016, Reliance launched Jio, which is now the largest digital services company in India, and the second largest in the world. In February 2019, the White House established the W-GDP Initiative, the first whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment. W-GDP seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.
In a bid to mitigate the problems faced by villagers and make technology accessible and familiar to them, the Reliance Foundation has since 2010 carried out various philanthropic initiatives. It has reached out to 12 million people in 12,500 villages and 74 urban locations.
The programme also focuses on building institutions owned, controlled and run by the community, and specific interventions like water harvesting, mixed farming, marketing, etc.
The intention is to build what Hillier describes is a forward-thinking “Athlete-centric model” that can revolutionise the entire competition process in India.