The mobile van is a unique concept of reaching out to the remotest area and the poorest of people like those in the remote salt pans.

  Training Activities
SEWA's Community Learning Centre has evolved as a multi-purpose training centre running a wide variety of activities to uplift rural, poor women and children who had no access to formal education and livelihood opportunities

The Community Learning Centers are Learning Centers for different needs of different villages:

Skill Trainings
The CLCs provide space for the livelihood cooperatives. Artisans, Gum Collectors, RUDI Vendors, Salt Workers, etc. may have their workshops at CLCs.

Wellness Education
On topics such as child health, nutrition, hygiene,  maternal, etc.

Education on social issues
Such as women’s rights, gender relationships, literacy programs.

Disaster Preparedness Education
On-going community education about the dynamics of disasters and their repercussions, Posters and    short   films, explain to community members where to go when an emergency alarm is heard, Signs around the center inform community members of contingency plans, etc.

Computer Trainings
Each CLC is equipped with 4-5 computers. The curriculum for the training is made on the needs of the members. For example a savings member is given extensive training on excel, whereas a craft member is taught designing. All trainings include the basic computer literacy module and office trainings.

ICT Trainings
use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as there are Internet, Mobile phone, SMS, MMS can build capacities of the women   community in their respective trades, contribute to their development as leaders and implementers and enormously enhance their confidence. Further ICT also provides an additional opportunity of income generation.

Case study
One such example has been Vanitaben (she comes from a remote area of Kutch where one can not find proper conveyance till miles) who had studied up to 7th class only. She was unmarried and living with her mother and had no source of income. When she got to know that SEWA is implementing computer literacy project with Microsoft India, in her village Naredi (there were no computers in Naredi and nearby villages), she showed her interest to join the computer training program which included long travel in challenging circumstances. After receiving training, now she can repair computers on her own. She can do data entry work also by which she earns significant income for her family. She received TOT (Training of Trainers) and is presently coaching other members. Simultaneously she started taking part in the other SEWA activities and this facilitated her to know more about the outside world as she used to come to Ahmedabad every month to attend monthly meeting. This in turn, has transformed her life and boosted her inner confidence. She has been called by the village Sarpanch to help them in their computer work. She is self-reliant and lives with dignity. Even her mother is respected by all villagers. Examples like this have helped inspire populace to seek such trainings. For ex, in each SSK in Mehsana district there is continuous waiting list for trainees. They feel that there should be more computers and training batches. The SSK team has solved this problem when they received hardware training and themselves assembled working computers from old and unusable computers.

Tele Education
This is aimed at skill development, adult
education and informal education. Tele Education   through videoconferences aim to bring access to knowledge at the villager’s doorstep.

SSK met the needs of young women for a creative and safe learning environment where they could work with adult mentors to develop IT skills, explore new ideas and build self-confidence. Similarly, children, who were disadvantaged by poverty and lacked access to resources and opportunities, were also covered under the training program. ICT in this instance was also used to get children back into school by making learning fun. Many children were inspired to re-enter formal schooling system after their learning experience in SSKs.

SEWA realized that one of the most challenging aspects of ICT intervention was computer training. While using a telephone or calculator or fax machine required minimal coaching, the operation of computers necessarily presumed a basic skill. Hence, it was perceived that lack of knowledge of operating a computer   was an obstacle in its more widespread use. The problem was compounded by the lack of self-confidence coupled with the myth that computers are meant only for 'properly educated and urban people' who knew English language. Through trial and error and extended brainstorming sessions, solutions to these challenges were worked out and implemented successfully at SSKs. Each round of training threw up facets not previously experienced, which were then fed back into the training system for the next round, thus ensuring continuous improvement of pedagogy and practice.

The training curriculum was prepared on the basis of the training need assessment. Initially, members received the basic IT training. Members from various activities like craft, micro finance, nursery plantations, adult literacy, salt production, dairy, village development committees were identified for each batch of computer training by the district association office and also at the behest of the members themselves. From amongst these members, few were further identified who received a 'Training of Trainers' and in turn imparted training to new batch of members. This was done with the objective of members providing training to their colleagues as it was observed that when the members themselves trained their colleagues, the latter were more open to learning, did not hesitate in asking questions and motivation levels were higher. Thus, a number of master trainers were trained and these women conducted trainings on basic computer usage.
The table below gives brief details of trainings conducted

Types of Training Numbers of Trainees
Members trained in Computers 8000
TOT Training 1000
Non-Computer Training 25000

In the initial period, while the SSKs were being setup and made fully functional, training programs were held at Ahmedabad and at the district offices. In some cases, an academic institution had trained the members of SEWA at nominal costs, in their premises. This comprised the first batch of fifty women trained on computers. Once the SSK set-up was formalized and equipped, almost all the training sessions were conducted at SSK premises. Thus logistics became easier as these SSKs were more conveniently located for the members. Often, the participants themselves decided about the venue for holding the training session. Care was taken to ensure that a particular batch had maximum trainees from the nearby villages of the SSK. Given the vagaries of nature or at times, a sustained electrical failure, the district association's computer training centre was designated as the venue.

As mentioned earlier, initial training of members was done by tying-up with local IT institutes. These included the LD Engineering College (a leading engineering college) in Ahmedabad as well as private institutes at Bodeli and Bayad. Also, BBIT and DDIT institutes at Anand and Nadiad respectively and ACT (for Multimedia and Hardware) were involved in training programs. However SEWA's endeavor had been to develop more teachers from amongst the trained members themselves so that they could impart the training to others and they could themselves be provided with a livelihood. For the same, some of the members went through a refresher course and were then trained on software packages used in the district office. Data entry in these software packages was taken up by the trained members. This helped in increasing their means of livelihood. An example of such an initiative was software for SEWA's insurance activities. Earlier all the data was being entered in the main office at Ahmedabad, which was very time-consuming. However, after training, the insurance data was entered into the software by the members themselves at the various district offices which was collated and sent to the insurance company. This and more was explained by Bhavanaben Vadesingbhai Rathava of Village Simaliya, District Vadodara. She spoke with the sparkle in her eyes and the dreams that she has in them “I successfully completed the data entry of transactions related to insurance. The impact was that I was asked to help out in using other software packages in the district office, which is further strengthening my capacity. I have now begun to wonder how they make these packages. For now, I am getting employment from using computers but finally, I want to do more, much more, by using computers and other ICT tools.”

Training Programmes-Some Learnings
There were some important learnings from the training imparted to members. One was the development of pedagogy which reflected the rigor applied by trainers and coaches. Trainers at SEWA evolved an instinctively changing pedagogical style over the training sessions which were based on the profile of the members. For example, to demystify the seemingly complicated pieces of equipment, a full computer system was related to a human body, with CPU as the brain, the keys of the keyboard like a human body's fingers and toes and so on. The participants were told that like a human required all parts functioning smoothly to be a functional, complete being, a computer also required all parts to function simultaneously. This type of introduction to technology ensured interest and involvement on the part of trainees.

Thus, though the curriculum remained consistent, the pedagogy and pace of training was flexible and dynamic. At times, the training had to begin with basic English literacy skills and at other times, the practical problems faced by working women who were also home makers and mothers, had to be given due consideration, which resulted in slower pace of teaching. After some explorations and training sessions, it was observed that capacity building for use of technology has to be highly customized, based on many parameters like region, demographic profile, livelihood, motivation levels, scale of activity, etc. Towards this end, a book in regional language, which is icon-based and graphic intensive has been prepared by the IT Centre. Thus a 'one size fits all' approach was discarded in favor of a more process-oriented evolutionary way of teaching.

During training sessions, it also came out that 'older' members (typically about 40 years of age and higher) tended to just pick up the necessary basics like keyboard operations, opining that the younger members should be the frontrunners and given all opportunities in ICT usage. They encouraged their daughters (and sons) and other younger colleagues to use computers in their work and even explored and guided them in the ways modern technology could help them find alternate means of livelihood.

As SEWA learnt from the training sessions where computer training was imparted to its members, it further refined the computer training module. Consequently, a classroom-based module of fifteen days, comprising of basic computer related terminology, keyboard operations, operating system, and simple desktop applications was developed which was imparted to the members. It was ensured that the theory practical sessions' ratio was 1:2. Towards the latter stages of the module, practical sessions were the norm and custom-built work sheets were provided to participants as a practice resource.

However, the course content was not kept rigid and it was modified as per the needs of member groups. For example, artisan groups did not need number crunching exercises. It was perhaps more useful for them to know a simple, designing software. Through this, they could experiment with shape, color and composition and had a 'simulated' design ready for reproduction on the piece of cloth. This was especially significant for better marketability as designs and patterns were iteratively evolved. Using design software for this purpose made the whole process more efficient, quicker and almost paper-less.

At the end of the session, a small examination was conducted, which was more to test their basic concepts, and NOT memory power. Letter grades were assigned based on the performance, which also instilled a fair degree of competitive spirit among the trainees. Participants were provided a certificate of course completion on behalf of SEWA, symbolizing their involvement and enthusiasm in the training. The completion of training gave a sense of achievement to the members.

Saritaben Mukeshbhai Rathava of Village Aleekherava, Vadodara District says “I felt like a 10th grade student because I appeared in an exam after a long time. I was scared, at first, did not know even about CPU or mouse. But, today, I am able to record all my routine activities using the computer.”