Tag Archives: social service

eduVARTA – SMS-based education/jobs info-service for rural college students

eduVARTA is a new

eduVARTA provides informational SMS updates to rural and semi-urban college students with a focus on educational, jobs, and skills information. The idea is to empower students, and increase the opportunities they get, in terms of more education, employment and self-employment opportunities.

eduVARTA hopes to reach 5 lakhs rural and semi-urban college students (11th std. and up). Considering that the people behind this initiative are the same as those behind SMSOne, which is already reaching 5 lakhs rural and semi-urban households with local updates and ads, it should not be difficult for them to achieve their target quickly.

There is a pressing need for a service like. While students of colleges in cities like Pune are very aware of what is going on in the world, and usually end up getting decent jobs, there are millions of students elsewhere who are so devoid of information, basic skills, and confidence that even a little trickle of information can pay huge dividends. And, at this time, there is no better way to reach this population than SMS.

The eduVARTA website points out that provide the students with this kind of information:

  • Notices, announcements, alerts, decisions
  • Courses, admission, fees, due dates
  • Trainings, workshops, seminars, guest lectures, camps, study tours
  • Researches, articles, references, books, publications
  • Competition, Events, youth festivals, programs, gathering
  • Exams, competitive exams, results, forms
  • Sports, magazine, cultural, social committee activities
  • Higher education, job opportunities
  • Facilities, needs, demands
  • Achievements, appointments, success news, sad news
  • Alumni news, guest visits
  • Scholarships, awards, prizes

And the information comes from the following sources:

  • National Innovation Foundation, IIM, Ahmedabad
  • CIET, National Center for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi
  • Stanford Mobile Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Network, USA
  • Youth Employment Summit, USA & New Delhi
  • Youth & Sports Committee of Planning Commission, GoI
  • Digital Empowerment Foundation, New Delhi
  • NASSCOM Foundation, Mumbai
  • Development Communication India, New Delhi
  • Nehru Yuva Kendra Sanghathan (NYKS), New Delhi
  • National Service Scheme (NSS), Maharashtra
  • National Youth Awardees Association
  • Universities, Researchers, Career guidance organizations
  • and many individual honorary contributors…

A few days back, at the mbillionth awards 2011, eduVARTA was given the VODAFONE “Mobile for Good” Award by VODAFONE INDIA Foundation & Digital Empowerment Foundation. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 10L.

Check out the eduVARTA About Us Page to find out more about them.

Pune Students – Become a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador

Wikipedia wants lots of Indian students to be involved in contributing to the Wikipedia, and with this in mind they are starting an ambitious program in India. And this will start with a large-scale, high-impact pilot in Pune.

The basic idea is to recruit “Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors” in Pune, who will find, recruit and train students to be Wikipedia editors, and organize campus events around Wikipedia activities.

This is planned across all colleges and universities in the Pune municipal area. It is not focused on any one academic subject area – but cover as wide a range of subjects as possible. Those in India but outside Pune can register their interest in applying, and are welcome to attend training sessions that the Wikimedia Foundation will conduct in Pune (details of which will be provided to successful applicants.)

This is your chance to change the world, and at the same time significantly improve your resume.

Details are as follows.

About Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors

This will be unpaid, volunteer work. You will need to work approximately 3 to 5 hours per week, through the semester. You can be an undergraduate/graduate/post-graduate student, faculty/staff member, or anyone geographically close to the college/university – the main qualification is that you must enjoy teaching people and spreading your passion for free knowledge.

Last year, there were Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors in Harvard University, Georgetown University, Indiana University, UC Berkeley, and many other schools in the United States. Now, for the first time, they are expanding outside the USA, and Pune has been chosen as a test for this program.

Typical Activities for a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador

Before the term starts: Help identify and recruit instructors on your campus who would be interested in incorporating Wikipedia-editing into their classes.

Before and during the term start:

  • Work with interested instructors on your campus in adapting existing teaching methods to include Wikipedia-editing.
  • Provide face-to-face training and support for the participating instructors’ students on Wikipedia-related skills. This means doing in-class presentations, possibly holding office hours, and in general providing in-person mentorship for students. Prior Wikipedia expertise is not required for the role, as the Wikimedia Foundation will provide training for all Campus Ambassadors – but would be useful
  • Organize engaging on-campus events to encourage editing (and continued editing) of Wikipedia
  • Think of creative ways for promoting Wikipedia in your region
  • Help recruit new Wikipedia contributors on campus, possibly through the creation of a Wikipedia student club
  • Set up a Wikipedia help desk on your campus
  • Be a point of contact for new contributors and channel the feedback to the Wikimedia Foundation and its chapters
  • Recruit and train new Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors

What do Wikipedia Ambassadors get?

  • Increase your knowledge about Wikipedia, free knowledge, and collaborative writing
  • Learn and develop communication, teaching, and leadership skills
  • Create a name for yourself and network with a great team of people within one of the most significant online communities ever
  • Work closely with college/university teachers/professors
  • Receive Wikipedia swag (merchandise: maybe T-shirts, maybe mugs) to give out at events.
  • Receive funding for running events for food, soft drinks, etc.
  • Potentially receive sponsorship to other Wikimedia events, such as Wikimania

Requirements – Who can apply?

You must have:

  • Passion for Wikimedia’s values and mission
  • Patience with people who have varying levels of computer literacy
  • Knowledge about how to edit Wikipedia or the willingness to acquire this knowledge
  • Understanding of how teachers/professors design teaching programs, or the willingness to gain this understanding
  • Ability to transform complex technical information into actionable steps for beginners
  • Ability to give positive, encouraging and clearly targeted feedback to the people you interact with
  • Ability to motivate and excite others
  • Genuine interest in teaching people and organizing events
  • Convenient transportation access to the university campus
  • Willingness to be a public figure (for example, to make known the connection between your real name, your Wikipedia username, and your face. Your role is providing face-to-face guidance to professors and students, so comfort with being “public” is very important)

How to Apply

Interested? Please complete the application and email it to

  • ambassadors-ind [at] wikimedia [dot] org – Campus Ambassador Program India

For any questions, email Annie Lin, the Campus Team Coordinator, at alin [at] wikimedia [dot] org.

More details

See the Wikipedia Campus Ambassador webpage for full details.

Please spread the word

If you know enthusiastic, passionate students who want to do something more interesting with their life than just working in an outsourcing company, please forward this to them. Or maybe you know professionals who’re so interested in education that they spend significant time every week in a University – they would make good ambassadors too.

We owe it to the students of Pune, and to ourselves to make this program a resounding success.