Osama Manzar

| Digital Empowerment Foundation

| Founder & Director

Osama Manzar is a global leader on the mission of eradicating information poverty from India and the global south using digital tools through Digital Empowerment Foundation – an organization he co-founded in 2002.
With over 25 years of experience, Osama has worked in the areas of journalism, new media and software enterprise before he established DEF to digitally empower the masses (so far 20 million directly) with a footprint of 1000 locations and 9000+ digital foot soldiers across 130 districts in 24 States. A British Chevening Scholar and an International Visitors Leadership Program Fellow of the US State Department, Osama is a social entrepreneur, author, columnist, impact speaker, angel investor, storyteller, mentor, and sits on several government and policy committees in India and abroad working in the areas of Internet, digital inclusion and misinformation.
Osama Manzar was instrumental in conceptualizing National Digital Literacy Mission, a DEF initiative that later got adopted by the Indian government. He also was a part of the team that developed one of India’s biggest schemes called Common Service Centers. Recently, in 2020 government of India declared PM-WANI to decentralize and democratize last-mile wifi based on DEF’s Wireless for Community program conceived by Osama. He also contributed to designing a video call based mentorship program for tribal girls in remote areas called GOAL which got adopted by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
He has co-authored more than six books, including Internet Economy of India and Netchakra: 15 Years of Internet in India. His latest book as a co-editor is COVID-19 – The New Normal: How to Survive a New World Order. Osama has instituted 10 awards for recognizing digital innovations for development in South Asia.
He served as a Member of Advisory Board at Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) and a Member of the Board at APC (Association of Progressive Communication). He is a member of Media & Information Literacy Experts Network (MILEN) and a Member of Global Network Initiative (GNI); Board of World Summit Award (WSA); Ibtada; Society for Labour & Development (SLD); Down To Earth; Missing; Swaraj University, Proto Village and Protsahan Sanstha.
Osama Manzar has travelled to more than 10,000 villages across India and 50 countries and specializes in advising digital models for underserved communities. He writes regular columns in various publications including Mint.

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