Fellow Since 2004
This profile was prepared when Ananya Raihan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Ananya’s idea is simple: Help marginalized rural communities participate in the social and economic mainstream by bringing people the information they need in a format they can use. Through D.Net, an organization he launched in 2001, Ananya is creating the infrastructure for a vast clearinghouse of Bengali-language information and resources that can be accessed through a variety of mediums—telephone, community radio, the internet, even printed materials—at locally-run village information centers, or Pallitathya Kendras (PKs). Because the network is designed around existing technologies, start-up costs for PKs are low, and revenues from the sale of information and related services can ultimately sustain them. And the emphasis on local ownership means a new business opportunity for the community.