Safe Sisters Fellowship Program – India, 2023

The Bachchao Project conducted the second edition of the Safe Sisters training of trainers (TOT) India program between April and November 2023. This year, five individuals from across India were trained on how to understand and respond to the digital security challenges they face in their work and daily life. All the participants were women, or queer, and had significant work experience across their communities.

An open call for applications was sent out over our website and social media accounts.This focused within underrepresented communities, and ten individuals were shortlisted for a virtual interview. From this group, five individuals were shortlisted for the final program. Owing to technical network complications, one participant had to delay joining the cohort, while another one had to step down and were replaced by an earlier interviewed applicant. The remaining three participants were trained together, with a second set of sessions held later. All participants went through the same training sessions, and had the same objectives.

The intention of the training program was to equip trainers with digital security skills and knowledge that they can pass on to their communities, creating a self sustaining cycle. It focused on skill building and not just tool usage. This ensures that even when trainers are in different situations, they are able to adapt what they’ve learnt to the current environment. It blended theory and hands on experience, helping trainers carry out their first independent training. The program also focused on a culture of continuous learning, and building community. Owing to network issues, the cohort had to be split into two. This contributed to fewer group activities, unfortunately.

There was an initial training period where the fellows got familiarised with the topics and exercises. After this, we conducted additional trainings for fellows who wanted more information on certain topics. The fellows were encouraged to set up their trainings while keeping the fellowship trainers in the loop. We held follow up calls for all the fellows and discussed their plans for the communities they work with, and assisted them in the setting up of workshops, if they required help. All of the fellows successfully carried out needs assessments for their target groups, and were able to carry out trainings where required. The fellows did one training each, either offline or online, for the program. A total of 73 individuals were trained by the fellows. Fellows also submitted reports upon completion of their trainings.


“The training session revealed that the majority of transgender individuals lack awareness of digital security measures, making them more vulnerable to online threats […] The Safe Sisters Fellowship program is excellent, providing valuable training and raising awareness about digital security. The facilitation and support provided were commendable.”


“As I embarked on the path of the Safe Sisters Fellowship 2023, little did I know that it would be a transformative journey, reshaping my perspective on online security and empowerment. The program’s commitment to equipping marginalized individuals with the tools to navigate the virtual world securely and confidently has left an indelible mark on my understanding of digital well-being.”


“[…] the successful Safe Sisters Fellowship training exemplifies the transformative power of customized, collaborative, and inclusive digital capacity-building programs. It underscores the resilience and determination of individuals, even in the face of limited resources, to acquire the skills needed to advance their mission and create a positive impact in their community. This success story is a beacon of inspiration for future initiatives aiming to empower marginalized and underrepresented groups in the digital age.


“The field of journalism has seen dramatic shifts in recent years, with the digital landscape becoming an integral part of the profession. However, with this shift comes the pressing need for digital safety and security. As a journalist with experience in gender-integrated forums, I recognized the importance of creating safer digital environments for women and gender minorities in journalism. This journey led me to host a digital safety workshop as part of the Safe Sisters Fellowship program, and the experience was both enlightening and fulfilling”.


“I feel proud of getting this fellowship opportunity and to gain knowledge on Digital Hygiene, safety, security and methods to mitigate online harassment. The methods used for TOT training sessions were impact [sic], in a shorter time covered more information and however as a fellow it’s our responsibility to work further, plan region wise, use the alternative and suitable words while sharing and spreading this important piece of knowledge for the community in rural setup”