DigiSupport, an initiative of Digital Empowerment Foundation and Axis Bank is an extension of the Digiprayas project to spread the awareness on and services of digital-financial tools to the rural areas over 14 states in the country. It aims to educate and empower the villages and local communities with a focus on social and green banking services. The project seeks to reach out to more than 50 villages and directly impact 30,000 beneficiaries located around the rural branches of Axis Bank.
The project will enable all the stakeholders to make cashless transactions using digital banking services, conducting awareness programs on digital-financial literacy, internet banking and other financial services and products offered by the bank through rural leaders known as DigiPreraks. The DigiPreraks will engage in providing literacy through tablets and screening videos along with conducting awareness camps, health check-ups, aadhar seeding, plantation drives, yoga camps and blood donation drives to mobilize the community.
Thus, the program not only aims at educating the rural communities but also enhancing the existing knowledge and skills of the people in the current e-financial tool and connecting people to the digital banking system.
The DigiSupport was designed to incorporate the youth-led model tested in the Phase I-DigiPrayas Project with an innovation to make the access and use of the digital tools more portable and efficient. 50 young local village leaders also called the DigiPreraks were selected to drive the digital-financial programmed in their respective village. Each leader was trained in using and transacting the digital financial content to the community and equipped with digital tools to include; Tablet, Mini-Projector, Portable Speaker, Pen-drive and internet connectivity all compact in a portable-backpack. In order to give the DigiPreraks a sense of identity and ownership with the mission, Axis Bank also provided them with unique t-shirts and caps. The digital financial leaders mobilized the community to spread the awareness and trainings through community meetings, public gatherings, digital financial literacy workshops, rural campaigning, health camps and plantation drives and awareness programs. The leader engaged with the community through formal and informal ways and built trust and positive relations with the community. He was also given monthly targets to complete his awareness and training program and was closely monitored through digital apps and offline techniques. The DigiPreraks also share case stories and challenges through messaging-groups which are then addressed by the managers. The model is effective and so far has yielded positive results.
The DigiPrayas project was conducted across 12 states and 50 primary villages. The villages with low or zero degree of banking facilities, low literacy levels and lack of awareness on digital and financial tools were selected across the North, South, West and East operating zones of the Axis Bank.
- In the North zone the states included Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh covering Dadiya Rampura, Nawalri, Anantpura, Mokala, Bolanwali in Rajasthan and Sakra village in UP.
- In the South zone the states included Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha covering Kodur, Vallabhraopale, Thotacherla in AP; Ariyakoshti, Moongilpadi, Sendamangalam, Semmedu, Kalpakkam, Manamthavizhnthaputhur, Veeramudaiyanatham, Kuruvikarambai in TN and Badapodaguda, Batasona, Sunabeda villages in Odisha respectively.
- In the West zone the states included Gujarat and covered Moti khavdi village.
- In the East zone the states included Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Tripura and Assam covering Khabra, Kaesth Kawai in Bihar; Baraon in Jharkhand; Kotulpur, Khatra, Garbeta in West Bengal; Mangan in Sikkim; Kunjaban in Tripura and Moran in Assam respectively.