Year: 2015 to ongoing
Partners: Nokia, Microsoft, mPhasis, Ericsson, UNDP
In India, there are more than 2000 traditional skill-based clusters covering various skills from textile designing, handicrafts, and glass, leather and brass goods to wooden industries. Out of 2000, there are 470 handloom clusters in India. The handloom industry is a traditional cottage industry in India. In the country, the handloom sector is providing the second largest employment after agriculture. According to the National Handloom Census 2012-2013, the sector is providing employment to about 65 lakh people in the country. However, the handloom-based clusters are unable to sustain their livelihoods, enterprise due to its very nature of being unorganized and dispersed structure, lack of education, lack of inadequate working capital, inadequate infrastructure, poor institutional framework and absolute disassociation from modern technologies including digital and Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The Digital Cluster Development Programme (DCDP) model, ideated and implemented by DEF includes decentralized use of digital and ICT tools in critical aspects of cluster development, especially improving and scaling up weaving skills, making new designs, archiving of designs, marketing, grooming entrepreneurial skills and adopting sustainable approach.
The DCDP model adopts holistic development approach that can only improve the livelihoods of handloom community but also strengthen their socio and economic needs of the community.
The total number of households in India engaged in handloom activities (weaving and allied activities) is 31.45 lakhs, according to All India Handloom Census. India’s handloom tradition has been passed from generation to generation instead of documenting or no traditional schools for
imparting their skills. Moreover, handloom weavers are mostly unconnected as they are living remotest villages and don’t know how to use digital connectivity for scaling their existing market.
The community owned wireless network connectivity model, known as Chanderiyaan at Chanderi district of Madhya Pradesh state inspired DEF to adopt handloom clusters enabling handloom weavers to use the digital connectivity for scaling up their existing weaving skills and to sustain their lives.