BT and the British Asian Trust extend partnership to empower 200,000 adolescent girls through digital and life skills

BT and the British Asian Trust announced they will work together for a further three years to empower 200,000 adolescent girls with digital and life skills at an event yesterday hosted by the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, at his residence in New Delhi. In addition, the partnership will also work with 500,000 stakeholders including parents to change gender norms and improve support for equal opportunities for girls and boys.

The social impact partnership supports India’s policies on skilling, education and digital literacy by delivering programs that will empower girls to change their social and economic situations, and in turn boost the national economy. According to one estimate, raising women’s participation in the labour force could add 27% to India’s GDP.[i]

The partnership between BT and the British Asian Trust has already reached over 1 million girls in India. The partnership has helped girls access digital and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) skills and employment opportunities, while overcoming gender barriers in their communities. In 2019, this initiative was awarded the ‘Social Impact Project of the Year’ at the UK-India Awards during UK India Week in London.[ii]

The three-year partnership, which will run to 2025, will reach young women across high-need communities in Delhi/NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata by: 

  • bridging the gender gap in education, digital skills and STEM 
  • supporting employment of young women through skilling, entrepreneurship and placement support
  • changing community and social norms around genderand creating safe spaces for adolescent girls to engage, learn and grow. 

The project will be implemented by local organisations Breakthrough India, ETASHA, Going to School, IT for Change, Katha, Mentor Together, and People for Action. 

Richard Hawkes, CEO of British Asian Trust said: “Extending this partnership with BT means a new generation of girls and young women can gear up to run the world – in teaching, engineering, robotics or any field they wish. Giving them digital skills, access to job opportunities and tackling gender barriers supports them to take control over their own destinies and drive change in their communities, and beyond. We are grateful to BT for recognising this need and supporting such important work shaping future generations.” 

Pooja Lamba, VP & Director, Global Delivery Capability, BT Global said: “The digital transformation of India has potential to drive the economic empowerment of women and contribute to greater gender equality. This partnership has already achieved significant successes in bringing opportunities to young women from under resourced communities, supporting BT’s manifesto commitments to bring about a more inclusive society by championing digital inclusion.” 

Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said, “Girls’ education is one of the UK’s top global priorities. I’m delighted to see this commitment by BT along with the British Asian Trust which will help 200,000 teenage girls, with improved education, better employability, and enhanced life skills. BT and the British Asian Trust are also partners in the Pledge for Progress initiative by the UK in India to promote gender equality and mobilise real change.”