DRUV bridges the digital divide by delivering on-demand content through television
DRUV (meaning North Star) is an all new community development program that serves to use innovative technology to help transform the lives of rural and remote populations in India. The project has been launched in Rajasthan, India and will be expanded to other states in the country soon. DRUV is about internet connectivity and its mission aims to create accessibility to affordable and informative content by bringing digital connectivity to television screens with a view to make a difference to the quality of life of the underprivileged and underserved populations. The access to curated digital content does not require a browser. There is no need to use keyboards that are confusing for people with low literacy levels and low digital literacy levels. Using a simple TV like remote for interface significantly reduces the barrier of literacy levels required for accessing digital knowledge. A set top box that communicates to the internet over a dongle or wifi and connected to the TV converts it to a convenient access point for digital knowledge by enabling information and transaction. Project DRUV is an initiative of Tata Trusts in association with Prodea Systems.
Working with Prodea
This progressive partnership combines the philanthropic and entrepreneurial vision of Tata Trusts to Prodea’s technological expertise along with Digital India initiatives to target Rajasthan’s technologically deprived communities. The partnership will address some of the prevalent challenges that rural communities in developing countries face, namely:
- Highly distributed populations with very limited access to technology
- Very high illiteracy rates which make traditional written communications impossible
- Lack of awareness of entitlements of government benefits by a majority of people who are in need of it, due to high illiteracy rates and limited or no access to information
- Low smart phone penetration with access typically with the male of the household, providing no benefit to women and children
Additional services and solutions provided by the partnership include:
- Broadcasting and education on natural disasters or contagious disease outbreaks.
- Financial inclusion
- Family planning information
- Education initiatives from Kindergarten to Grade 10
- A distribution channel for other social programs
“It is an honor to partner with one of the most trusted and respected organisations in India – Tata Trusts. Together we are going to empower people to elevate themselves from poverty to prosperity through education and knowledge,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of Prodea. “We have created an entirely new model of community development that, until now, did not exist. We are proud to be able to contribute to a tangible demonstration of how technology can transform the lives of even the most remote populations. While we have seen progress in the availability of the internet – many underprivileged populations cannot benefit from the connectivity because of the digital divide observed in these types of communities. We are proud to be able to provide a first ever implementation of a concrete and demonstrable solution to the digital gap that is keeping 4.5 billion people offline.”