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# About Janastu
We are currently working in several villages in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh where we are building a webinar device (based on raspberry pis) for collectives and groups of college-going girls who have not been able to continue their vocational education and schooling because of the ongoing pandemic. This is a substantial contribution to edu-tech as it seeks to address the problems of connectivity and schooling that are faced by about 75% of the households in the country. Through a low-cost and accessible setup, we are creating technology that is community-driven and for the use of groups, thereby working towards goal of self-directed learning as well. While these webinar-pis can be used for educational seminars, online/recorded classes, students in Durgadahalli have used pi-based consoles to learn computer programming as well. Our aim is to create an open-source solution that helps with connectivity, archiving and annotations. We would like to start a tech-circle amidst the young girls in the villages so that they can maintain and adapt these webinar-pis themselves.
In addition to this, we are working on Papad, a hypermedia annotation tool that can be used across devices and in regions with low internet connectivity and low-literate populations. Tools like papad have significant potential in creating and disseminating knowledge that is audio-based, and therefore accessible to populations with lower literacy levels.
Our past work with community owned mesh networks and radios began with *Namma School Radio* where we converted old phone booths into radio nodes, powered by *Raspberry Pi* devices. The servers were powered by solar panels. Through our project Follow the Sheep, we helped nomadic shepherding communities keep track of their trails and land. In addition to this, we have built mesh networks in remote hill stations in Karnataka, and are currently exploring the potential of the same in Mirzapur.
Servelots began in 1999 when a group of computer scientists came together to provide low-cost and user friendly software solutions to small enterprises. In 2002, Servelots initiated ***Janastu*** that provides innovative open source solutions to not-for-profits and communities. Janastu has been granted 12A tax exemption for its work on “Software Commons”.
We have worked regionally, nationally and internationally with a wide range of partners: with Mitan on renarration of Bio Cultural Protocols and the Follow Sheep project; with the Alternative Law Forum on renarration of the Minimum Wages Act; with Maraa on community radio policy technology application; with Development Alternatives on community radio audio-tagging and indigenous archives; with NCBS on the 25 years exhibit of the archives; with IIHS on a media monitoring service; with Gottingen on the Democracy Archives; with Bogazici University on renarration web research; with the Freifunk group on mesh networks; and with Reseau Billital Maroobe of Niger on developing an IVR box for BCP dialog initiation with their shepherding communities.
Since then we have been encouraging the use of mesh for services such as archives and annotations for low-literate community needs for media making, archiving and retrieval using a number of approaches. With Servelots, Janastu organised AntHillHacks, a gathering of artists, techies, educators, environmentalists, local villagers and students from nearby schools to come together at a hill location and deliberate over a Wi-Fi mesh network and its potential (https://anthill.janastu.org). With Development Alternatives, we worked on tagging of community radio material by the community so as to help ease navigation of audio content. Hackergram residents and ‘[namdu1 radio](https://www.namdu1radio.com/)’ team developed it further by engaging the community locally.
More on Janastu community networks' work at: [https://j.mp/janastu-mesh](https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P6ZPBfVRi4QpU1yyoP2NBPEwqa1wxkh2wWOayzpA-lM/edit).