‘Tathya Apa’ takes digital services to rural women

DHAKA, May 08, 2017 (BSS) - The women, who do not have access to digital gadgets like internet, computer, email or videoconferencing only a few years ago, are now getting benefit of these modern tools of communication.

The credit for the significant changes goes to the "Tathya Apa" of

Information Centres (Digital Centres) who nowadays are providing necessary information especially to the rural women either from the digital centres or going to the doorsteps of the women requiring digital services.

The services include information related to health problem, commodity market, use of balanced fertilizers and pesticides; and filing of online job applications. One can also get necessary assistance for legal aid in case of being tortured.

Three Tathya Apas give services in one Digital Centre in every upazila. A Tathya Apa sits in a Digital Centre, while the remaining two visit homes with laptops. Under the scheme, a call centre has been set up at the main building of Jatiya Mohila Sangstha. Women from across the country can get information on the six issues from the experts by dialing 10922 to the call centre.

Some 2.70 lakh women took services from 39 Tathya Apas of 13 Digital

Centres in the last four years. Most of the women go to the "Tathya Apa" for health related problem and jobs. Like Nilufar Begum, a housewife of Kotalipara in Gopalganj, who was scared about some abnormality of her breasts.

Initially, Nilufar thought she got breast cancer. So she didn't want to disclose the matter to anybody fearing social trauma. She, however, informed it to Tathya Apa on the day when she visited Nilufar's house. Tathya Apa instantly launched internet in laptop and showed her the matters of breast examination with photos from websites.

She also demonstrated the symptoms of the breast cancer that could be seen when it develops in one's body. With the help of Tathya Apa, Nilufar got advice from physicians and eventually was cured.

Sabitri Das often visited Tathya Apa to know whether there is any news about the job of her daughter. She used to take the help of Tathya Apa in filling up the job application form of her daughter.

Besides the service receivers, many rural women are also choosing the

profession of Tathya Apa. Like Sonia Aktar of Gopalganj Sadar upazila, who has become a Tathya Apa after completing post graduation degree from Gopalganj Bangabandhu College. She took one-year computer training and joined Kotalipara Digital Centre as an information assistant in November 2012.

"We provide internet-based information from 12 unions of Kotalipara," said Sonia adding that the services are highly appreciated by the people.

Nazneen Aktar, another Tathya Apa of Bheramara, Kushtia, has been

working as an information assistant after obtaining post graduation degree from Jagannath University.

Both Sonia and Nazneen said they are not doing only job, they are also working for women empowerment. It gives us pleasure, they said.

The government launched the Tathya Apa Project on July 5 in 2011 to

provide digital services to rural poor and underprivileged women. The first phase of the project run by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs ended in December 2015.

The main aim of the project was to take information services to the

doorsteps of the grassroots women. The work of the scheme commenced in 13 selected upazilas of seven divisions with a budget over Taka 13 crore.

Director of Tathya Apa Project Mina Parveen said as the first phase of the project was a success, the government decided to go for the second phase in 490 upazilas.

"We hope that we could launch the second phase of the project by this

year," she added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)