Social Media empowers you in a way it gives you a platform to communicate your perception, views, thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions in a simple or artistic way. Not only confined to this, it is also an important approach to business that is rapidly expanding. It acts as a bridge between the business and the consumer. Social Media is a communication channel easily accessible to nearly everyone with Internet access.

Social Media has become the most promising tool for development and empowerment in the recent years, world over to promote vision, purpose, and activities; spread news; build support; attract volunteers and donors; and engage with interested segments of the population.

With the 5th edition of Social Media for Empowerment Awards, DEF greets the spirit of social media and the potential it possesses. This initiative not only focuses on and honors the best social media initiatives for the empowerment of the deprived and marginalised sections but also brings Social Media experts and government agents from 8 South Asian countries on one platform to share their best practices and success stories with participants to inspire them.

On the other hand, we’ve seen social media being used as a popular tool to disseminate hate speech, especially hate speech based on religion. It is also used by nefarious elements for propaganda-based hate messaging, in a manner whereby it often becomes viral, making it difficult to identify the source and hold the user responsible. This trend is not unique to India. It is visible in various other countries as well. South Asian countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, too, have seen freedom of expression being curbed by not just the state but also by extremist groups who claim to be protecting their country, their religion or their communities.

These incidents confirm that social media plays a critical role in creating and spreading hate speech, and has been used numerous times for promoting communal and religious hate speech with a clear agenda of provoking violence.

Social Media aficionados, who are enthusiastic to gain insight from social media experts and willing to share their own ideas and practices, are invited to attend the Awards. The SM4E Awards provides all the participants and attendees an opportunity to connect and become a part of social media experts’ network to gain a greater understanding of social and digital media uses as well as share their own best practices and experiences.


  1. It works out concrete ways to increase understanding, cooperation and peace among the region;
  2. It gives social media practitioners a platform to scale up their dreams;
  3. It benefits the communities with the fruit of ICT revolution through various workshops and action-oriented sessions, which prove helpful for them to gain full social inclusion;
  4. It promotes healthy and constructive communication among participating countries.


To synergise 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

• To make a vast pool of talent of Social Media evangelists to share and feed knowledge so that decision making can be improved;

• To recognize, honor and encourage best social media practices through Social Media for Development & Change Awards;

• To organize workshops on different project locations to impart knowledge on social media tools in order to empower communities and continue the spirit of subject Live;

• 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;

• To demonstrate the best social media initiatives, practices and success stories from 8 South Asian Countries during main event;

• To provide attendees with a wider forum for strategic alliances, partnership building and structured network opportunities;

• To build a tribe of followers through social media that grows organically and contributes in overall development of the region;

• To create effective community network that shares authentic information on social changes and developmental activities through social media;

• To provide a platform to the existing as well as upcoming social media initiatives for scaling up.

Blogging & Vlogging

This category recognises the initiatives which used blogs and vlogs to successfully and effectively put across views and right messages to the desired audience.

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.

Community Mobilisation

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

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. Initiatives taken to improve online safety and security associated with using social media will be nominated under this category.

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.

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.

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.

  • Any Individual, NGO/NPO, Corporates, Students, Teachers, Farmers, Startups, Corporate, Government Organizations, Mobile app Developers, Marketing experts who uses Social Media as a platform 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.
  • There are no charges applicable for nominating any project in Social Media for Empowerment Summit and Awards.
  • There are no limitations on submitted number of Nominations from any organization i.e. One can submit more than one nomination for different projects from the same organization.
  • Any partner to Social Media for Empowerment Awards is eligible to apply for the Nomination process of any of their projects 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.

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

  • Content & Services: Quality of content and services delivery; relevance of content and its utility value.
  • Impact and Accessibility: Social impact & the commercial viability of the application.
  • Functionality: The user friendliness & interactive nature of the application.
  • Strategic Value: Uniqueness and comprehension value of the idea & strategy.
  • Benefit & Utility: The real beneficiaries of the Campaign/Project.
  • Cause behind the initiative: What is the major reason behind initiating the Project/Campaign?
  • Overall Experience: Challenges they came across during the execution of the Project.
A networking platform to promote best social media innovations through the strong Social Media for Empowerment Awards fraternity.
Promote your brand at the Awards Gala by becoming a sponsor and showcasing your solution that addresses specific needs of emerging markets in South Asian countries.
An immense platform to showcase the best initiatives in social media across South Asia, including wider target audience during the awards, conference and exhibition.
Association with Social Media for Empowerment Awards to identify and explore the most innovative and challenging social media innovations in the smallest regions of the world.
Get an opportunity to speak about your initiative and experiences of using social media for the empowerment and development of the country.

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.

Co Organiser- Facebook

FacebookFounded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them. To know more about Facebook –

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.

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.

Outreach Partner- Salaam Namaste Community Radio

salamThe first Community Radio of Noida and Ghaziabad -Salaam Namaste [A Unit Of Institute Of Management Studies,Noida. Salaam Namaste had won the National Award by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ,India this year for best programming in Community Engagement Category. Catering to Community needs and Community service ,the radio station broadcasts educational programes,social awareness programes, local talent programmes and creates a powerful vocal platform where local dignitaries solve grievances of local people .This Radio station brings voices of Junior Rj’s,connect with culture and heritage and also inspiring stories of community. A Radio which becomes ‘Voice Of the Voice less’.

Institutional Partner- World Summit Award (WSA)

salamThe World Summit Award (WSA) is a global activity to select and promote the world’s best e-Content and most innovative ICT applications. It offers a worldwide platform for all who value the creative use of ICTs and who are committed to making today’s information society more inclusive. WSA was initiated by Austria in 2003 in the framework of the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and is organised by a global partner network, coordinated by the International Center for New Media. WSA partners come from governments, private sector and civil society in over 178 UN member states.

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