Osama Manzar is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, editor, columnist, and new media specialist who is spearheading the mission to overcome the information barrier between India’s rural sector, and the so-called developed society, through Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), the not-for-profit organisation founded to accomplish the mission.
After having run successfully a software company, 4Cplus, Osama decided to sold off his options and concentrate on the social sector using his skills, experience and knowledge. DEF was founded by Osama in December 2002, and has been active at a low scale. However, DEF is now a full time concentration of Osama and it envisages working in the area of ICT for Development, and Digital Divide, in order to help various agencies in the sector to help them execute their jobs effectively. The primary purpose of DEF is to bridge the gap between the ICT and the people who cannot avail it because of the language barrier, and the goal is to make the ICT reach the people of all languages rather than the other way round.
Syed S. Kazi is involved in the field of development sector for 9 years now. He has completed his PhD at the Centre for the Study of Law & Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is currently the Deputy Director at the Digital Empowerment Foundation.
His first stint in development sector started with agriculture and rural development field with an organisation named Centre for Agriculture & Rural Development. During this period, he was involved in field intervention, agriculture resource centres, organising workshops and events, field based surveys and reports, field reporting, meeting and interviewing people for various issues.
He worked with One World South Asia (South Asia office of One World International Foundation, UK) working in the field of ICT and grassroots empowerment and development. During this period he had the experience of working in fields, undertaking field surveys, report writing, data analysis, and coordination for setting up info centres. He acted as the coordinator for Mission 2007 on behalf of OWSA, the Mission an initiative of Govt. of India to set up Village Resource Centres in India.
Niki Shah was the Country Research and Advocacy Coordinator at Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) for the Internet Rights Human Rights initiative. He has 7 years of experience working with public and private stakeholders in the United States and India. Prior to joining DEF, he worked with United Nations Global Compact on development partnerships in the WASH, health, education and agriculture sectors in India, with a specific focus on corporate-social enterprise partnerships. In India, he has worked with YES Bank on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues. In the United States, Niki has worked for the U.S. Congress on foreign policy issues around Africa and global health and with the Corporation for National and Community Service on issues related to health, education, agriculture and community development. He served as the Project Leader for the Global Dialogue Initiative at Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights at Rutgers University focusing on governance and development in South Asia. He is an avid reader, yoga enthusiast and studies Sanskrit language as a form of expression.