The mission of FAT is to empower women by enhancing women’s awareness, interest, and participation in technology. We work towards this by breaking societal stereotypes and attitudes, encouraging and enabling women to feel capable and comfortable in working with technology, and collaborating with other women’s organizations to mainstream the issue of engendering technology.
About This Cause
FAT works with women and girls to close the gender gap in science & technology. Our focus area is building girls’ leadership while teaching them technology skills. We believe that every girl has the potential to be a leader and a changemaker and we use technology education to facilitate this leadership. We are committed to nurturing girl leaders not only through our programs but also within our own team and leadership.
To achieve this goal we have developed a Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) that we run across four Tech Centres in India. Lajpat Nagar in Delhi, Patna in Bihar, Giridih in Jharkhand and Pune in Maharashtra.
We also run a project to build (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) STEM acumen of girls who have not had access to a quality education. The Jugaad (Innovation) Lab in Delhi has been running as a pilot for 2 years now.
YOUNG WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
Our strategy is to support girl leaders in their campaigning for their rights by providing them access to skills, technology, information, and mentorship. The YWLP is focused on teaching new media and technology skills to the girls while supporting their collective and individual actions towards leadership. It is divided into 3 levels.
At Level 1 the girls learn basic computer and Internet skills to break the fear of technology while developing their confidence and skills to use technology for their benefit. They understand their rights, learn to connect with others, access information and develop the skills to negotiate with their family for their rights.
At Level 2 the girls learn to use tech skills to run a collective action in their own community. So far our girls have used new- media tools - films, radio shows and photo stories, with songs, slogans and community action to influence community members to think about life issues from the girls’ perspective.
Level 3 is about taking the leap to become leader with their own communities and within the women’s movement by learning the skills and developing the capacity needed to work professionally for change.
JUGAAD (INNOVATION) LAB
A feminist approach to technology for us means giving more excluded communities design and decision making power in science and technology, whether through a formal course or informal learning. We started a new initiative in 2016 to provide quality STEM education to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds through hands-on learning. The Jugaad (Innovation) Lab has enrolled 44 girls so far between ages 10 to 15 from seven communities across South Delhi.
Currently, 23 girls attend the Jugaad Lab Level 1 group where basic understanding and curiosity on STEM subjects is kindled through hands-on projects. 11 girls have completed Level 1 and 10 of them have moved to Level 2 where they learn higher tech skills like coding, making electronic projects, hacking solutions for problems they see around them while collaborating with kids across countries and with other technology enthusiasts who come to share their skills.
It is going so well that many of the girls have stopped taking private tuition classes after school because they feel their understanding of concepts has improved due to the Jugaad Lab. The Jugaad Lab is popular in the community and parents, who were earlier skeptical, now take immense pride on their daughters achievements and take interest in everything that the girls learn.
SINCE FAT STARTED, WE HAVE SUPPORTED EMERGING GIRL LEADERS FROM OUR PROGRAMS BY GIVING THEM A PAID INTERNSHIP, A HOST OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTANT MENTORING.
TODAY, 12 OF THEM ARE FAT’S TEAM MEMBERS, 3 ARE IN FAT'S MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, 2 ARE IN OUR GOVERNING BOARD AND 8 ARE INTERNS WITH US.
BY INDUCTING OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS INTO OUR TEAM, WE ARE MAKING FAT MORE RECEPTIVE TO THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY WE SERVE.