Osama Manzar
Osama Manzar cofounded the Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2002 to address information poverty in India due to the digital divide. With over 25 years of experience, Osama had worked in the areas of journalism, new media, and software enterprise before he established DEF. He was a British Chevening scholar, an International Visitor’s Leadership Program Fellow of the United States state department and an Ashoka fellow. Osama played an influential role in developing India’s National Digital Literacy Mission and the Common Service Centre initiative. He is part of the advisory committee of several national and international organisations working on digital rights.

Shalini Kala

Shalini Kala holds an Advanced Degree in Economics, and has worked on issues of agricultural policy reform in India for her M.Phil dissertation. She has 20 years of professional experience in the field of rural development, particularly in the areas of food and agriculture, focusing on knowledge networking, livelihoods and capacity building both in India and the Asia-Pacific region. Most recently, Ms. Kala was at the World Food Programme (WFP) where she worked on design, testing and advocacy of innovative approaches for food aid as a tool of development. She has also been associated with the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and has worked on various USAID projects.

Shobitha Kedlaya

Shobitha Kedlaya holds a textiles degree and a masters in Management studies. She worked in the corporate sector with J.K (Bombay) Ltd and Huhtamaki Van Leer, post which she embarked on an entrepreneurial journey. She set up a corporate gifting company and a designer brand called Inspira. She then moved on to the social sector to join Protovillage – an intentional community based in Andhra Pradesh. Here she practices permaculture and works on building an education model based on “context enabled purpose oriented learning”. Shobitha is also a Bharatnatyam dancer and an author.

Shahid Ahmad

Shahid Ahmad is a seasoned professional with a rich background in technical architecture and project management. His impactful contributions extend across diverse projects in India, where he played a pivotal role as a Technical Expert. Planning and executing software solutions such as HRMS, social welfare applications, survey automation, award management, CRM, and the Learning Management Systems are some examples. Shahid’s proficiency in software product development and delivery has been a cornerstone of success. As a dedicated expert, he is committed to setting expectations, designing FEC solutions, and guiding pilot implementations. His ultimate goal is to ensure seamless ICT tools, reaching 250,000 farm beneficiaries in the second phase of deployment over two years.

Saurabh Srivastava

Saurabh K Srivastava is a development professional and information designer, having experience of more than 14 years in development sector in the avenues of IEC and SBCC. His area of education lies in social development and he holds a post-graduate degree in Multimedia Technology. In his 14 years of work experience, he has extensive and in-depth experience in the areas of digital inclusion, ICT4D and community network-building.

Rahul Karanpuriya

Rahul Karanpuriya, an MBA walkout and former ‘Khoji’ at Swaraj University, is a passionate advocate for self-learning and cultural regeneration. Born in 1987 in Bhiwara, Rahul actively explores alternative education as a learning activist at Shikshantar Sansthan. His love for cycling led to impactful initiatives, including Udaipur’s first cycle marathon. Co-founding Vinayak Enterprises with a mere Rs. 3,000, Rahul turned a profit of almost Rs. 1,00,000. His diverse experiences range from textile companies to soft skill training at Jaipur Rugs. Rahul’s mission involves discovering 52 innovators or “52 Parindey” across India, encouraging alternate careers for a more fulfilling life.

Udita Chaturvedi

Udita Chaturvedi is a Digital Innovation Ecosystem Expert at the International Telecommunication Union. With over a decade of experience, Udita brings a blend of expertise to her role as a former journalist and development communications professional. In her work with various nonprofits in India and abroad, she has led research and advocacy projects focused on meaningful digital connectivity and digital transformation. She has also extensively documented the socio-economic impact of digital inclusion and the effects of digital exclusion, especially among marginalised communities. Udita holds a degree in Journalism from Delhi University, and a specialisation in Print Journalism from IIJNM, Bangalore. She was a Jigsaw Fellow at Alphabet (Google) in 2018.

Rakesh Pawara

One of the founding member of Aadiwasi Janjagruti, Rakesh has worked with UNICEF, BAIF and MSRLM. He has completed his masters in economics and is part of many local organizations in Dhadgaon.