Citizen Journalism Click here for details
  • EverydayMumbai
  • Morango
  • Jan Ki Baat: Citizen Reporting Network
Communication, Advocacy & Development Activism Click here for details
  • Explaining India’s Laws
  • Dhwani Rural Information Systems
  • Sahapedia
  • ComMutiny- The Youth Collective
  • Morango Films
Community Mobilization Click here for details
  • BBC Media Action (Bangladesh)
  • Development Consortium| Love Matters India
  • Janwaar Castle
  • Youngistaan Foundation
  • IT@School Project, Govt of Kerala
  • Odisha Livestock Resources Development Society (OLRDS)
Crowdsourcing, Crowd Economy and Crowd Funding Click here for details
  • Karvaan: A Roving Book Project
  • Janaagraha Centre For Citizenship and Democracy
  • Yuva vikas Samiti
  • Feminism in India
  • iSAFE Alliance
  • Bytes for All
Public Relations Click here for details
  • Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation
  • UP Police
Social Commerce & Enterprise Click here for details
  • Jaipur Rugs
  • iShippo
Women Empowerment Click here for details
  • I Will Go Out
  • Bindi Bottoms


The Grand Jury for the 4th edition of the Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2017 was successfully held at The Hill Fort Kesroli – Neemrana Hotels on 17th-18th March 2017. This year we received 162 good nominations across 09 categories. The virtual Jury members managed to filter 123 valid entries to 71 for the final evaluation by the Grand Jury. A panel of 12 Jury members looked into the filtered nominations.

The list of Winners and Special Mentions will be revealed on stage at the 4th Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2017 at India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road on April 29, 2017.


Osama-ManzarOsama Manzar
Founder & Director
Digital Empowerment Foundation

Chairman of the eNGO Challenge, mBillionth Awards, Manthan Awards and Social Media for Empowerment Awards, Osama Manzar is a convert social entrepreneur, inspiring speaker, mentor and believer. Osama founded Digital Empowerment Foundation with the objective that there should be universal digital literacy and digital access to all to overcome information gap and parity and help build equitable society. He is a Member, Working Group, Internet Proliferation & Governance for Ministry of Communication & IT and was a Member, Task Force on Growth of IT, ITES & Electronics HW Manufacturing Industry, Ministry of Communication & IT, India. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) of the Universal Service Obligation Fund under the Indian Department of Telecom. At the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Manzar is a member of the Screening Committee for the Community Radio Licensing. Manzar sits on the Boards of the World Summit Award, the Society for Labour & Development, Ibtada, the Association of Progressive Communication, ProtoVillage, and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). A British Chevening Fellow of 2002, Manzar has authored NetCh@kra: 15 Years of Internet in India. Other titles by him include e-Content: Voices from the Ground; Internet Economy of India; India’s Best e-Contents, and Development & Digital Inclusion. He writes a weekly column in the Mint and Hindustan, and has previously written columns for Gaon Connection. A physics graduate, Manzar has a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and is credited for covering at least 200 ICTD case studies in India and South Asia. Fluent in English, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and Persian, Manzar tweets @osamamanzar.

MeinardusDr. Ronald Meinardus
Regional Director South Asia,
Friedrich Naumann Foundation

Before joining the Regional Office in New Delhi in 2014, Dr. Ronald Meinardus served the Foundation in that position at the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Cairo, Egypt for seven years. Earlier, he represented the Foundation in Greece, South Korea and the Philippines. A journalist by profession, Dr. Meinardus is also a political commentator and blogger and enjoys writing about developments in the region and beyond.

NatashaNatasha Badhwar
Columnist and Filmmaker

Natasha Badhwar is a writer, filmmaker and media trainer. She is also co-owner of the online fashion brand, Ochre Sky. Natasha writes a popular column, “My Daughters’ Mum” for Mint Lounge, where she documents contemporary family and relationships in today’s socio-political landscape in a candid and personal style. An independent media professional, Ms. Badhwar is a content and communications consultant with Oxfam India, Water Aid, Edelman and Sheroes. She was also India’s first female news videographer in 1995 and has worked with NDTV for 13 years where she was Vice President, Training and Development in 2007. She takes Documentary film-making and Videojournalism workshops at Delhi University, Centre for Science and Environment and the Express Institute of Media Studies.

MaliniMalini Gupta
Program Director,
RBS Foundation India

At present Malini is working with Royal Bank of Scotland as Vice President, RBS Foundation. Currently responsible forCoordination and overall management of RBSFI CSR interventions, including strategy, financial and programmatic parameters, innovations, staff management, compliance, capacity building, stakeholder management and RBS staff engagement in CSR; in 20 projects across 8 states.

Malini is a competent development professional with 24 years of experience in grass roots, national and international rural and social development, including strategic partnership development, strategy design and dissemination, institution building,organisation development, programme management, programme finance, communications and CSR.

SameeraSameera Jayawardena
Program Manager
ICT Agency of Sri Lanka

Sameera has been working in the ICT field for past nine years and engaged in different areas of e-Development such as ICT capacity building, e-Government, Rural ICT development etc. at national level in Sri Lanka. Obtained his Bachelors Degree with Honours in Computing and Information Systems from London Metropolitan University, UK in 2005 and Masters in Management (SJP) in 2012 with modules on IT Project Management and Human Resources Management.

He privileged with holding key positions within his younger days of his career.Managing the first ever full fledged Computer Literacy Initiative of Sri Lanka, “eDiriya” was one of his flagship projects. Over 45,000 rural youths have benifited through this project.

Sameera was given the responsibility of coordination and managing e-Government policy of Sri Lanka since 2011. He also managed the review process of the formulation of new e-Government policy and served in the e-Government policy review committee (2012) too. He has been elected as an executive council member of the Computer Society of Sri Lanka. He was assigned to manage the National e-Government strategy formulation project for the next e-Govrnment e-Development phase for Sri Lanka at age 31.

Saikat1Saikat Datta
The Centre for Internet and Society

Saikat Datta is an award winning journalist for over 20 years as an editor and an investigative reporter with several news organisations. He has been a defence correspondent with The Indian Express, an assistant editor with the Outlook magazine, Resident Editor with DNA, member of the Editorial Board with Zee News and Editor (National Security) with Hindustan Times.

Saikat’s investigative reporting has been awarded the International Press Institute award (2007), the Jagan Phadnis Memorial award (2008) and the National RTI award for investigative journalism (2010).

He is also the author of India’s Special Forces (2013), a seminal book on the history and the future of India’s special operations capabilities.He writes regularly in various publications and his research papers have been published by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) and the National Security Guards (NSG), among others. He regularly conducts training sessions on hostage rescue operations for Mumbai Police’s crack anti-terrorism outfit, Force One. His core areas of research are around counter-terrorism, intelligence, cybersecurity and the use of special forces in strategic roles.

He has also worked for two years in the corporate sector as Vice President and Head of De-risking Strategies for Reliance Industries, working on cybersecurity and counter terrorism projects.

He is currently a Consulting Editor, Director with the Centre for Internet & Society and a consultant on cybersecurity with IIM, Bangalore. He is also a senior fellow with the Internet Democracy Project and a Visiting Fellow with the Observer Research Foundation’s National Security programme.

RinchenRinchen Dorji
Ministry of Information & Communication

Rinchen Dorji is the Director, Department of Information and Media, MoIC, Bhutan.Before joining MOIC, Dorji was the Director of Intellectual Property Division, MoEA for 4 years and was the Chief Industries Officer of MSME Division, Department Of Cottage & Small Industry, MoEA from 2009 till 2012.

Dorji has Masters degree in Economics and he is a member of the RCSC Selection Interview panel and member of the Civil Service Common Examination (CSCE) Review Committee. He has Co-authored the book “How to start a Business in Bhutan”, designed a “Basic Bookkeeping manual” for the Department of Revenue and Customs

He has been a part of Department of Industry – Small Business Resource Center, Entrepreneurship Promotion Center and has organized and implemented following vocational skills training programmes in different part of the country.

RaminderRaminder Singh Rekhi
“National Rural Livelihood Mission,
Ministry of Rural Development

Raminder Singh Rekhi has a rich experience of over 27 years in retail, agri processing, artisanal handicraft and the government sector, especially in understanding value chains from production to the market levels. November 2014 onwards, Rekhi has been working with the National Rural Livelihood Mission under the Ministry of Rural Development as the National Mission Managar/Lead (Non-Farm Livelihoods). In his role, Rekhi helps plan and operationalise schemes for SHGs engaged in non-farming related livelihoods. He is also looking after operationalising a Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme that aims to support 85,000 rural entreprenerus across 47 blocks in 17 states. Prior to joining the NRLM project, Rekhi has been the CEO of Aadhaar Wholesale Trading and Distribution Ltd and the Industry Crafts Pvt Ltd. He has also been a Consultant to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission of the Asian Development Bank project, and has held various other key positions in various sectors and organisations.

MaheshMahesh Venkateswaran
Lead – Industry Partnerships & SIMO Project.
National Skill Development Corporation”

Mahesh Venkateswaran works with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), part of the Government’s Skill India mission. He leads industry partnerships to strengthen the ecosystem through greenfield/brownfield projects across various sectors and mobilize CSR contributions for skill development projects. He also setup and led the Innovation fund focused on early stage funding for entities addressing skill development challenges until recently. Prior to joining NSDC, Mahesh led a 400+ strong team working on integrated rural development projects and social enterprises focused on employment, agriculture and dairy sector based in Jharkhand. An engineer from the 2001 batch of Vellore Institute of Technology, he has a master’s degree from the US and worked in research and consulting till 2009.

NakulNakul Shenoy
The Mind Reader
Beyond Magic

With his imagination kindled at age five by ‘Mandrake The Magician’ comic books, Nakul first took stage as a 15-year-old entertaining large gatherings with his magical shows. Two decades later, this expert magician and hypnotist enthrals audiences like few others can, and progresses along in his self-professed dream to be “a real-life Mandrake”.

The only Indian to be awarded memberships to the Psychic Entertainers Association (USA) and the British Society of Psychic Entertainers (UK), Nakul is a Wizards Award member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (USA). He has also held memberships to the American Hypnosis Association (USA), The Magic Circle (London), and the International Magicians Society (USA), among many other accolades.

Having influenced thousands of business leaders, high achievers, and celebrities through his shows around the world, Nakul counts entertaining Azim Premji and opening for Tony Buzan among his most coveted performances till date. When not travelling in and out of airports, Nakul lives with his wife and three kids in Bangalore, India. A compulsive reader of books “on every topic under the Sun and beyond”, he haunts Twitter as @nakulshenoy.

RamanRaman Kalyanakrishnan
TATA Trusts

Raman has been part of the Tata Trusts since January 2016. He comes with more than 21 years of industry experience in sectors of Telecom, Technology and Retail. He has wide exposure in the areas of Strategic Planning, Operations, Sales and Marketing.
Prior to joining the Tata Trusts he was heading the Practice of Technology & Social Sector at the consulting firm, Tata Strategic Management Group. As part of the Consulting work in Social Sector at Tata Strategic Management Group he has worked with clients such as Unicef, Tata Trusts, Save the Children Foundation to help build intervention strategies that leverage technology for scaled up benefits.
In the current profile he is responsible for interventions in increasing digital literacy, providing digital based livelihoods, providing access to curated content and innovative outreach using community media.
He has done his Mechanical Engineering from College of Engineering, Guindy and Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from SPJIMR, Mumbai.

SaloniSaloni Malhotra
Founder and Director,
DesiCrew Solutions

Saloni is currently working on building the Sushrat Foundation, a healthcare NGO that aims to improve efficiency in government hospitals. Saloni is also Founder and Director of DesiCrew Solutions and is former Vice President of Paytm.

Saloni founded DesiCrew, a socially motivated business process outsourcing company with a double bottom line (financial and social development), DesiCrew connects global clients with low cost back office centres in rural India, she stepped down as a CEO in March 2012 but continues to participate on board.. She also co-founded Safecity, a citizen’s initiative platform to share information on sexual abuse in India..

She is an engineer from Pune University and completed a one year academic scholarship program on social and digital innovation from Lund University. Saloni began her career with Dentsu WebChutney. She is a Fellow of the Famous V Class of Ananta Aspen Centre’s Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellowship and a member of Aspen Global Leadership Network.Aspire Circle Fellow.

She is a Board Member Goonj, a not for profit that converts waste to useful resource, Mentor Traveller Kids, a young start-up that creates edu-taiment toys for 7-12 yrs olds and Advisor to Start Up!, a social business incubator in Delhi.

DeepakDeepak Maheshwari
Government Affairs – India, Symantec

Deepak Maheshwari heads Government Affairs in India for Symantec and acts as the nodal point on policy, legislation and regulation. A seasoned public policy professional, he has a keen interest in the interplay of technological innovation with socio-economic development. An oft-invited speaker and panelist, his articles, opinions and reviews have been widely published. He is a charter member of the IEEE Experts in Technology & Policy and vice chair of BSA. He served as elected secretary for ISP Association of India (ISPAI) for two consecutive terms, co-founded the National Internet eXchange of India (NIXI) and helped form the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). He has previously worked with Microsoft, MasterCard, Sify & HCL. He graduated in engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and also has a law degree.

Over the years, Social Media has proved itself mightier than the sword. Each sector, be it commercial, educational or developmental, are embracing social media channels not only to connect and convey but also to make a difference. The South Asian people are struggling with many challenges i.e, poverty, gender discrimination, terrorism, unemployment, massive under development are name to few. In this age of Information technology, most of the south Asian countries are experiencing biasness and slavery due to lack of social rights and poor governance.
With these problems, common men of South Asian countries need a platform where they can gather and speak without any fear on the issues which are forbidden to discuss openly. Social Media has provided them freedom of expression. It is gradually becoming an empowering and growth tool in the region. With “Social Media for Development & Change, Digital Empowerment Foundation is greeting the very spirit of social media and the potential it possess. This initiative will not only recognize and honor best social media initiatives for empowerment but also bring Social Media experts and government agents from 8 South Asian countries on one platform who will share their best practices and success stories with participants to inspire them.

The program is unique because:
1. It will work out concrete ways to increase understanding, cooperation and peace among the region;
2. It will give social media practitioners a platform to scale up their dreams;
3. It will benefit the communities with the fruit of ICT revolution through various workshops and action-
oriented sessions which will prove helpful for them to gain full social inclusion;
4. It will promote healthy and constructive communication among participating countries.

Objectives of the program:
1. To synergize efforts and dialogues on social media and how it can become an efficient tool for real work and inspire others to utilize it in bringing positive change;
2. To make a vast pool of talent of Social Media evangelists to share and feed knowledge so that decision making can be improved;
3. To recognize, honor and encourage best social media practices through “Social Media for Development & Change” Awards;
4. To organize 4 workshops on different project locations to impart knowledge on social media tools in order to empower communities and continue the spirit of subject Live;
5. To create a regional network of Social Media Experts to facilitate the use of Social Media among participating countries and create regional cooperation,collaboration and network;
6. To demonstrate the best social media initiatives, practices and success stories from 8 South Asian Countries during main event;
7. To provide attendees a wider forum for strategic alliances, partnerships building and structured network opportunity;
8. To build a tribe of followers through social media that grows organically and can contribute in overall development of the region;
9. To create effective community network that will share authentic information on social changes and developmental activities through social media;
10. To provide a platform to the existing as well as upcoming social media initiatives for scaling up.

Mission :
The award aims to foster the utilization of Social Media for social empowerment while harmonizing cross-border relationships by creating a regional network of Social Media enthusiasts.

Who can apply :

  • Any Individual, NGO/NPO, Corporates, Students, Teachers, Farmers, Startups, Corporate, Government Organizations, Mobile app Developers, Marketing experts can apply.
  • The Social media presence of the initiative should be minimum six months old at the time of applying.
  • Nominations are welcome from the following South Asian countries: Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan.



  • There is no limitation regarding the platforms, cost or channels the projects work with.
  • Entries should focus on execution and impact rather than level of reach and engagement.
  • Award nominations from past year winners for the same project will not be considered

General Guidelines:

  • There are no charges applicable for nominating any project in Social Media for Empowerment Award.
  • There are no limitations on submitted number of Nominations from any organisation i.e. One can submit’n’ number of nominations for different projects from the same organisation.
  • Any partner to Social Media for Empowerment Award is eligible to apply for the Nomination process of any of their project as Jury is completely independent process, irrespective of Social Media for Empowerment program stakeholders.
  • Any False information submitted about the project will immediately led to permanent disqualification of the Nominee.
  • There is no limitation regarding the platforms, cost or channels the projects work with.
  • One project shall only be submitted for one category.
  • The same project can be applied again if it is not a winning entry of past years.
  • Irrespective of the product/project language, all producer and project information must be in English.
  • Any applicant shall receive an acknowledgement mail to their email address after submitting the Nomination form successfully.
  • Any applicant may edit/modify the details in the Nomination form till the last date of accepting the Nomination form using their credentials.
  • The fields marked mandatory in nomination forms are necessary to fill by the nominee.

Evaluation Criteria: Nomination forms must be filled out entirely. Judging will be scored on:

  • Quality of Content & Relevance
  • Impact & Sustainability
  • USP & Strategic Value
  • Ease of Use: Functionality & Navigation
  • Execution value & Implementation
  • Overall Experience
  • Accessibility
  • Cause behind the initiative



Community Mobilisation: This category recognises group or community efforts and initiatives that use various platforms of social media effectively for social and developmental purposes.


Public Relations: This category recognises efforts where social media has been used as a PR tool to successfully and effectively put across views and right messages to the desired constituencies.


Women Empowerment: This category acknowledges social media practices that are breaking the stereotypical image of women and projecting women-related issues to find a way towards their empowerment.


Social Games & Entertainment: This category recognises innovative initiatives on social media, which have enabled joy, fun, entertainment and games at the touch of tap.


Social Commerce & Enterprise: This category is dedicated to recognising those pioneers who are using social media to attract global audience and leverage them for their socio-commercial products and services.


Crowdsourcing, Crowd Economy and Crowd Funding: This category recognises initiatives and efforts that turned to crowdsourcing, crowd funding or crowd economy to turn their ideas into reality.


Communication, Advocacy & Development Activism: This category recognises efforts and initiatives that use social media mechanism and platforms as a tool for advocacy, building opinions and converting them into development activism.


Citizen Media & Journalism: This category acknowledges initiatives by open media enthusiasts who use social media platforms as a channel to broadcast their views, real time stories and pictures for those who are voiceless and may not have any mainstream media platform.


Online Safety: This category recognises initiatives taken to improve online safety associated with using social media

  • Content and services: Quantify the quality of content and services delivery, relevance of content and its utility value.
  • Impact, accessibility and sustainability: Quantify and qualify the social impact and the commercial viability of the application. Accessibility of the system, technology, interface and its inclusive nature for all kinds of users
  • Functionality/navigation: Please highlight the user-friendliness and interactive nature of the application.
  • USP and strategic value: Please focus on the uniqueness of the idea and easiness of strategy replication.
  • Benefit and utility: Please describe the real benefit to last mile users.
  • Overall Experience: The overall experience of the user about the project or service or content delivery

Each Award Category will be judged by a Panel of Jurors. The Jury Panel comprises eminent experts from the private and public sectors, industries and the academia who are selected on the basis of their overall insight on the subjects and domain. The Jury is always a mix of diversity, language, region, gender and sector.

  • The process of evaluation commences from the closing date of nominations.
  • The initial judging is through an online review of the nominations by the Virtual Jury Panel.
  • In the main Jury, the Jurors’ Panel is expected to go through all the nominations in the final stage and give them a score according to their criteria.
  • Jurors of the respective award categories have the right to modify the judging criteria to suit the respective category in consultation with the Judging Chairman of the Awards.
  • The Jurors Panel, in consultation with the Awards Chairman may transfer any nomination received to another category, to ensure ‘best fit’.
  • The decision of the Jury is final and binding.
  • Jury holds the right to contact any eligible nominee for their doubt/queries regarding the project.
  • The Jurors panel reserves the right to declare ‘Not eligible’ if a nomination does not meet the standards.
  • The final results only will be announced during the Awards Gala.

Partnership and sponsorship opportunities are open for Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2017. Interested to be a part of this event ecosystem? Feel free to write us at

Organiser – DEFIndia

defDigital Empowerment Foundation aims to connect unreached and underserved communities of India in an effort to bring them out of digital darkness and empower them with information access through last mile connectivity, digital literacy and digital interventions. With the motto to ‘Inform, Communicate and Empower,’ DEF aims to find sustainable ICT solutions to overcome information poverty in remote and rural locations of India. In an effort to achieve this aim, DEF has adopted a multi-stakeholder approach and a six-fold path to enable communities, governments, schools, civil society organisations and micro-enterprises to avail the benefits of the Information Age. Under this six-fold programme approach, DEF initiates projects in the areas of Access & Infrastructure; Education & Empowerment; Governance & Citizen Services; Markets & Social Enterprises; Knowledge Hub & Network; Research & Advocacy.



The basis of all freedoms is that of human rights and the rule of law. This can only be true in a society where all life is valued equally, and judged fairly. FNF and her partners promote the value of each individual to live a life of dignity. A society, whose citizens are not able to feed themselves, is not truly free. Therefore, FNF promotes economic liberty through an open market mechanism that is bound by laws that make sure that each actor has a fair opportunity. Thishas been the greatest engine driving human prosperity. In India, economic liberalization has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But the story has only begun as India achieves its rightful place on the world stage. FNF believes in the creativity and responsibility of every individual. Open societies need clear and just rules so that liberty is neither unduly constrained nor exploited. We are working to help create transparent, accountable and responsive governance systems. These will make India’s urban spaces into zones of creativity and dynamism, where citizens are empowered to shape the future. FNF believes that the pursuit of liberty is an essential goal of humanity. The pursuit of freedom is balanced by the responsibilities that all individuals assume over their actions. It looks to create a world where an individual has the greatest liberty possible, without interfering or undermining the freedom of any other individual.

Event Partner- Inomy

inomyINOMY is a Media and Technology company providing services like e-content, e-learning, Documentary Film Making, Web and Online Software Development, Web Designing, Designing, Printing and content development at various levels. It was formed in 1999 to focus on the emerging new economy, information economy, and knowledge society. INOMY started with publishing e-newsletter and later expanding itself in publishing e-books, and other formal electronic.

csw-logoCrowdsourcing Week (CSW) connects people with the latest ideas and best practices in crowdsourcing and crowd innovation globally. CSW help organisations to transition and thrive in the new economy through our worldwide conferences & summits, online educational programs, workshops and consultancy. Crowdsourcing Week is committed to help organizations transition into a more open, connected, and socially productive society. The focus is on how crowdsourcing can address the needs of today’s leaders to bring about meaningful change. The big, ambitious goal is to get everyone thinking about collaborating with their stakeholders to create shared value

Strategic Partner- Mint

Mint or nothing-with taglineMint is one of India’s premium business news publications – 76% of Mint readers do not read another business paper, making Mint a critical reach vehicle for the top end audience. Mint is the clear No.2 among business papers in terms of readership. Representative of an integrated newsroom, is Mint’s online portal and is among the fastest growing news websites in India. Livemint provides daily national, international and business news, tracks market movements and detailed coverage of significant events. The site has evolved multimedia features like videos, podcasts and slideshows. Mint comes out with a premium weekend magazine Lounge that focuses on the lifestyle, passions and other related interests of readers. Lounge is known to avoid run on the mint stories and is immensely popular.

Live Streaming Partner- GoNews

GOGoNews is India’s first-of-its-kind app-based television news channel that delivers personalised news to viewers on their smartphones and smart TVs at a time of their choosing. The recently launched channel is collaborating with content generators in rural India to offer news and stories, not more than 90 seconds long, which often go unreported or which are not available at other commercial news outlets. The narratives are specific, crisp and compelling; and cover a wide variety of Indian and global subjects from politics to public policy; from agriculture to the arts; from technology to travel; from environment to entertainment; from economy to enrichment of life. It is also the first digital news platform in the country to adhere and abide by the self-regulatory mechanism of the News Broadcasters Association.

What is the SM4E Awards and what does it aim to do?

Social Media has provided freedom of expression to people. It has become an empowering and growth tool in the world. With “Social Media for Development & Change”, Digital Empowerment Foundation is greeting the very spirit of social media and the potential it possess. This initiative will not only recognise and honor best social media initiatives for empowerment but also bring Social Media experts and government agents from 8 South Asian countries on one platform who will share their best practices and success stories with participants to inspire them.

The program is unique because it works out concrete ways to increase understanding, cooperation and peace among the region and give social media practitioners a platform to scale up their dreams. These awards benefit the communities with the fruit of ICT revolution through various workshops and action- oriented sessions which will prove helpful for them to gain full social inclusion and promote healthy and constructive communication among participating countries.

The main objectives of the program is to synergize efforts and dialogues on social media and how it can become an efficient tool for real work and inspire others to utilize it in bringing positive change. This awards will help to make a vast pool of talent of Social Media evangelists to share and feed knowledge so that decision making can be improved and recognize, honor and encourage best social media practices through “Social Media for Development & Change” Awards

Who is eligible for applying for this award?

The SM4E Awards is open to any of the following entities from any SAARC country provided the person, group of persons or organisation has implemented some digital intervention for development and empowerment of marginalised communities using mobile technology:

  1. Governments
  2. NGOs
  3. Individuals/Students
  4. Entrepreneurs
  5. Industry (Private Sector Companies/PSUs/Corporates)
  6. Academics and Academic institutions

What is the process of competing for the awards?

Nominations can only be submitted online at

Which SAARC countries are eligible to participate in the SM4E Awards?

All the eight SAARC countries can participate. These eight countries are:

  • India
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Bangladesh
  • Maldives
  • Bhutan
  • Nepal

Can anyone not based in any one of the eight SAARC countries apply for the awards?

Yes, of course. Any project which has been developed or has the customer base/target market in any of the SAARC countries can apply for the award.

Is there any entry fee?

No, there is no entry fee. Any interested participant can apply, in multiple categories, following the guidelines.

Can I enter the awards if I am a previous winner?

Yes, but it should not be for the same winning project. Any previous winner can apply with a different project.

Will I be getting any acknowledgement receipt for my entry?

Yes, when any nominee submits complete nomination form along with all the supported documents/material, we send an acknowledgement receipt to the nominee.

Can I submit multiple nominations for different categories?

Yes, any Nominee can submit multiple products/projects for different categories.

Can I submit one project under 2 categories, if it fits?

No, one Nominee can apply under the best fit category and the project will be considered for that only. Same project cannot be submitted under 2 categories. But the Jury has the right to change the category of the project/product to ensure the ‘Best Fit’.

What is the process of withdrawing from the nominations?

Any nominee is required to send an email requesting the withdrawal from the award process quoting the reason for such withdrawal.

In what form is supporting material allowed?

Digital files may be submitted for all categories. Files in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF are allowed & videos, audios in .wmv format. Kindly visit the Guidelines section to know the required supported documents.

Can I send the supporting material later after submitting the nomination form?

Yes, any nominee can send the supporting material to the given email address within two days of submitting the nomination form online. The SM4E Awards Secretariat will send a mail regarding the same.

Will my supporting material/shared material remain confidential & returned to me?

Any information or material related to the products/projects & organisation will remain confidential & will not be shared with any external entity. On request, the material will be given back to the nominee after the final presentation before the Grand Jury.

When will the judging process start?

The process of evaluation commences from the date of closing of nominations. Entries will be judged on the predefined evaluation criteria.

What are the evaluation criteria for the product/project?

Content & Services – Quantify the quality of content and services delivery, relevance of content and its utility value

Impact & Sustainability – The social impact & the commercial viability of the application/product.

Functionality/Navigation – User friendliness & interactive nature of the application & its features.

Interface & Visual Design – Usability as well as the Design of applications and devices having larger user preference, aesthetic value with multimedia.

USP & Strategic Value – Uniqueness of the idea & the easiness of strategy replication.

Execution & Implementation – Procedures of carrying out & executing the innovation, idea according to the market demand.

Accessibility – Cost effectiveness matching social and economic capital of different user groups with diverse needs in different income brackets.

Overall Experience – The user base & overall user experience regarding the application/content.

Is it mandatory to fill all the fields in the nomination form?

It is necessary for the participant to fill all the fields that are marked as mandatory or else the form will be considered as incomplete and might be rejected. In any case, however, we suggest that you give as much information about your nominated project as possible to facilitate proper evaluation by the Jury members.

When will the shortlisted projects be announced?

After the Grand Jury is over, the shortlisted nominations are contacted individually through email/phone from the SM4E Awards Secretariat.

When will we know about the final results?

Final Results will be declared during the Award Gala on the final event day, scheduled in April

Is setting up a stall mandatory for all the finalists/nominees?

Yes, we encourage all, particularly the shortlisted nominations, to put up their stalls during the final event so that their outreach is maximised and there is greater networking amongst them and all the industry stakeholders attending.

What is the time limit of the presentation on final event day?

Five minutes will be given to the participant to present the project (excluding 3 minutes of interactive query session).

Is there any mandatory query session after presentation?

Yes, after the presentation there is a Query session. Judges as well as the audience can ask questions from the presenter on their presentation or the product.

Will I get the transport/accommodation facility?

No, we request you to please make the necessary arrangements on your own. We can facilitate you in terms of suggesting the accommodation nearby the venue.

Who is eligible to apply for volunteering for the final event?

Any person who has interest in SM4E Awards is welcome to volunteer for the final event.

Is there any certificate given to Volunteers?

Yes, certificates for volunteering will be provided to the volunteers from Digital Empowerment Foundation. Some token money is also given to the best performing volunteer.

What are the date and timings for the SM4E Awards 2017?

April (Date to be decided)

By when can we register online to attend Awards Gala?

Online registration is open till April.

What does the registration charge include?

It includes:

  • Delegate kit (with all information collaterals)
  • Meals (available at venue)
  • Attendee pass to all sessions plus Exhibition

If I am not a nominee, how can I get a speaker slot at the event?

Please write to us at a requesting for getting a speaker slot. Please attach the brief profile of the person who wishes to speak at the event.

Can Press & Media attend these awards?

Yes, Press & Media are welcome to the final event day to cover the best practices in use of mobile technology for development. There are 2 free passes available for the Press & Media. Please carry your ID card.

How do I contact someone at the SM4E Awards?

You need to write to us at informing us of your interest in the subject line of the mail. Our team will contact you within 2 working days.

How does my company join the SM4E Awards?

To join the SM4E Awards, please register yourself online from Dec, 2016 onwards.

Are there sponsorship opportunities within the SM4E Awards?

Yes. The SM4E Awards has several sponsorship and promotional opportunities available from Jan 2017 onwards. To know our current sponsorship details, please contact