WomenConnect Challenge: The Commitment to Gender Inclusive Digital Transformation
Photo Source: M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation

DevGlobal’s Community Building team is dedicated to fostering vibrant, inclusive communities in service of humanitarian missions and ambitious development milestones.

In the dynamic digital inclusion landscape, democratizing access to technology is critical for closing the gender digital divide. The WomenConnect Challenge India (WCCi), launched in 2020 by USAID and Reliance Foundation, stands at the forefront of this transformative mission. WCCi strives to support innovative solutions by local NGOs in bridging the gender digital divide. Funded by Reliance Foundation and implemented by DevGlobal and DAI through USAID’s Digital Frontiers program, the challenge seeks to empower women by expanding digital and economic opportunities and facilitating community empowerment. The involvement of DevGlobal’s Community Building team in WCCi, spanning Round 1 and Round 2, showcases a commitment to realizing these objectives.

DevGlobal, in collaboration with DAI, has played a pivotal role in enhancing WCCi’s impact and fostering a collective effort towards digital inclusion through the design and management of the WomenConnect Challenge India Community of Practice. The Community of Practice has emerged as a vital hub for bridging the gender digital divide and fostering sustained collaboration and growth among WCCi awardees.

The Community of Practice (CoP) serves as a dynamic ecosystem for WCCi grantees. Its core objectives are to build deeper knowledge of the gender digital divide, promote best practices in digital inclusion, foster partnerships, and act as a catalyst for capacity building and long-term sustainability.

In support of these objectives, DevGlobal designed and implemented a Community of Practice website, womenconnectindia.com—a secure, online platform accessible to WCCi awardees. The site has been influential in fostering engagement, resource sharing and collaborative learning, and laying the groundwork for future awardees to view the existing collection of knowledge products, stories, case studies and insights.


DevGlobal and DAI’s strategic approach included the integration of specific monthly themes. These themes, chosen in consultation with awardees, guided the learning and engagement components throughout the program. Activities, including webinars, blog exercises, and surveys, were designed to maximize knowledge dissemination and retention, fostering an environment of continuous learning.


“[The CoP] is making us more engaged. It is influencing us more in the perfection of the work, the outcomes of our project.” – Round 2 Awardee

“This was the most active CoP that we have been part of.” – Round 2 Awardee

“It gives me a sense of, we are not alone in this, especially when it gets challenging….Because we have these webinars and blogs, we keep reading each other’s [blogs], so it makes us feel of sense of camaraderie that there are others who are trying to figure this out. They also must have faced these challenges and they were able to overcome.” – Round 2 Awardee



A standout feature of the CoP initiative was the introduction of the WCCi Speakers’ Series. These Speakers Series showcased webinars, featuring digital inclusion experts, have been a cornerstone in organizational learning, ideation, and innovation. The webinars have enriched participants’ perspectives, contributing to a vibrant exchange of ideas and insights.

DevGlobal and DAI also introduced blogging exercises wherein awardees were encouraged to reflect on webinars and the applications of these insights in their own work. This engagement strategy not only improved comprehension of the themes but also empowered awardees to communicate their perspectives and experiences. The 43 blogs written by awardees this year have covered a variety of themes, including Cyber Harm, Protection and Safeguarding, Human-Centered Design, and Sustainability for Digital Inclusion Initiatives.

The WhatsApp Group also emerged as an essential component, fostering real-time communication and knowledge-sharing. The awardee WhatsApp Group served as a central hub for promoting blog posts, discussion pages, and other announcements, creating a space for immediate interaction. Simultaneously, the Knowledge Bank, housed on the CoP site, became a repository of relevant resources, enriching participants’ understanding of digital inclusion.

To keep the community engaged and informed, DevGlobal developed monthly newsletters which were circulated to awardees and stakeholders. These newsletters showcased resources, active CoP contributors, and activities from each thematic cycle.

DevGlobal gauged the impact of CoP activities through the deployment of webinar surveys and thematic cycle surveys. Awardee responses to these surveys provided valuable insights into the effectiveness of webinars, speakers, and themes. Additionally, qualitative interviews were conducted to understand direct experiences and impacts of the CoP initiatives, ensuring a human-centric approach for shaping future strategic plans.

DevGlobal’s commitment to excellence is further exemplified through strategic and operational recommendations we have outlined for the future. Emphasizing continuous improvement, these recommendations underscore the importance of refining strategies, enhancing communication, and adapting to the evolving needs of the community.

We are proud to see the WomenConnect Challenge India Community of Practice evolve into a vibrant space for empowerment, camaraderie, and collaborative growth—serving as a testament to the power of collective action in driving positive change.


Client Testimonials:

“I have been working in close collaboration with the DevGlobal team, on various projects, for more than four years now, and it has been a pleasant experience throughout. The team takes ownership in their work and strives to go above and beyond to deliver. Their work across two rounds of Women Connect India Challenge has ensured smooth operationalisation of the grant through well planned and implemented symposiums; and their work in setting up and running the grantee community of practise, which is now being transitioned by USAID for its continuity beyond its support through the Digital Frontiers project, demonstrates the high quality of their output. Dev.Global has consistently exceeded my expectations and I look forward to working with them in the future.”
– Ritesh Datta, Advisor – Gender | Digital Inclusion, DAI UK


“Over the past two years, my experience working with DevGlobal has been very positive. I am most proud of the active community DevGlobal and DAI were able to build through the Reliance CoP site – complete with interactive webinars, high-functioning chat rooms, and blog contributions from participants. I especially appreciate the detailed and organized handover document that will help us to not only maintain but grow this active platform and community. Due to these successes and my experience working with the team, I would recommend DevGlobal to others.”
– Lauren Grubbs, Program Specialist, USAID