Info-melas by Prakriye and Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS) teams, January-June 2014

In order to inform women about different Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and showcase women who have already used technology, a fair, or an 'info mela' was held in Hunsur on 5th July, 2014. All Mahila Samakhya women from Hunsur attended the mela. In the mela, the use of Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS), Tablet PC, radio and video, as well as animated information, information on Open Education System, department information available on the internet, and information about Namma Mahiti Kendras (NMK) was shared with attendees. Demonstrations on how IVRS can be used to request for information and how this could be useful to them, were carried out. Along with the women from the village, college students and men also attended the mela and asked for information on agriculture, horticulture, Gram Panchayat etc. We also showed them how to take pictures and write on the Tablet PC, and how Kelu Sakhi, the radio programme, is created and broadcast on the radio. Films on Prakriye's work, our work with departments and other women's achievements were screened as well. There was also a stall for school students that informed about them about the functions of the different parts of the body. Another stall explained how information can be sought on the departments' websites. About 700 people came to the info mela, including Hunsur Memeber of Legisative Assembly Manjunath who said that the ICT information given by IT for Change to village women is very useful and essential.

Similarly, an info-mela on community health, video and audio content on ante-natal care, importance of vaccination, details of entitlements under the National Rural Health Mission on the benefits of various government schemes etc was organised by the KMVS team as well. Along with these resources, a presentation about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools for facilitating decentralised planning at the panchayat level was also made to the visitors to the mela. The info-mela was extremely effective in conveying vital health-care related information and ideas of decentralised governance to the members from the community that KMVS works with. These info-melas have played an important role in establishing the importance of easy access to information on government schemes and provisions and have also supplemented efforts at legitimising the presence of info-centres as an important souce of such information.