Reliance Foundation empowers rural communities through its digital information services

Benefits over 8 Lakh knowledge seekers by connecting them with knowledge providers in Odisha

Bhubaneshwar: As a part of its rural transformation initiative, Smt. Nita M. Ambani led Reliance Foundation (RF) runs a program called Reliance Foundation Information Services (RFIS) in 11 states of India. This program helps empower rural and marginalized communities through the means of expert knowledge and technology.Since its inception in 2013, RFIS uses multiple-communication platforms (mobile platforms, cable TV, Radio, multi-location audio and video conferences, print) to address knowledge gaps in rural livelihood issues with the support of multi-stakeholder knowledge partnerships.o The thematic areas cover agriculture, livestock, fisheries, disaster management, government schemes, insurance, employment, health, education, weather and civic services. Livelihood advisories (image / text / audio / video) related to these topics have so far reached more than 50 lakh individuals (farmer, fisher folk, livestock farmers, rural youth, women) through various mobile platforms. These advisories are disseminated through nine regional languages – Odiya, Telugu, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Guajarati. The 11 states being covered under this program are Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
Key Principles behind the design of the programme:o To address the information poverty on various localized issues by providing tailor-made, quality answers to rural customer questionso To provide the right information at the right time from the right source for making timely decisions to move up the value chain for higher income generation or knowledge empowermento To develop a framework for various need based dissemination through technological platforms with the objective of sharing localized content in all languages.
Three core principles: Multi-stakeholder partnerships, usage of appropriate technological platforms to reach target audiences and advise on best practices instead of reinventing the wheel.
RFIS Knowledge Partnerships:o RF Information Services is presently working with two kind of partners (i) Grassroots Network Partners (mostly community based organizations – NGOs, village panchayat, farmers clubs, fisher folk associations, agriculture department contact farmers network, farm science club members of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, etc.) and (ii) Content and Capacity Building Partners (government departments, academic institutions, research institutions, individual experts, Veterinary hospitals, hospitals, banks, etc.).o RFIS programme networks with more than 700 knowledge providers (Universities, Research Institutions, Government Departments, Hospitals, Banks, Traders) and 295 grassroots (NGOs, Associations, Societies).Current Status of RFIS programme in Odishao RFIS programme services (Mobile audio advisories or Help Line or Field based servicers or Multi-location audio / video conferences or Print Media advisories services or combination) reaches 30 Districtso Livelihood and national priorities based awareness advisories reach more than 8,00,000 individualso More than 64,000 queries answered through various interactive and Toll Free Help Line sessionso More than 80 knowledge providers provided localized livelihood advisories content, government schemes / subsidies, providing clarifications to target audiences queries and supporting at field in the form of acting as veterinarians, field based demonstrations and providing advisories at fieldo More than 7,100 animals saved from various seasonal diseases with the support of Department of Animal Husbandry and various milk societies (eg. Greater Ganjam Gajapati Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd (GGGMU), Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation, etc.)