June 2024

Aparna Madva Empowers Rural Community in a Journey with SAGE Program


Aparna M has been selected as a senior ambassador in the Sustainability Ambassadors Global Exchange (SAGE) program, spearheaded by the Nordic Center based in Denmark. She will join a 3-month training program as part of a global network comprising participants from seven countries and thirteen Indian states, collaborating on sustainability initiatives. Aparna spoke to Naviiina about her participation in this noble cause. Here are the excerpts:

Significance of the Achievement

This achievement means a lot to Aparna both personally and professionally. The motivation for participating in the SAGE program comes from my current research work which is doing a study on building an easy-to-use and economic approach for Artificial Intelligence (AI) aided oral knowledge management in communities using colloquial language. “I have gathered a basic understanding of the hurdles to the integration of digital platforms in rural communities. I believe that it is important to use the current technological advancements to promote sustainable practices among populations with varying digital literacy. Also, this opportunity would help me learn about various aspects of promoting sustainable practices as a responsible citizen,” she says.

Mission on Bridging Traditional Practices and Modern Technology for a Sustainable Future

Through SAGE, Aparna’s mission is to bridge the gap between traditional practices and modern technology and empower local populations. This initiative not only enhances communication, education but paves ways to economic opportunities. This whole project contributes towards a more sustainable and resilient future.

She adds, “From a set of challenges provided to the ambassadors, I am planning to work on the challenge: How can we leverage digital platforms and local knowledge in an integrated approach to support ecologically sustainable rural communities? I aim to develop a digital toolkit that thoroughly examines the existing knowledge system to promote sustainable practices and the enabling societal structure in rural communities using research methods. This toolkit will facilitate effective information exchange between decision-makers and rural communities and help bridge the gap among various stakeholders.”

Leveraging a Diverse Network

As the SAGE program involves participants from 7 countries and 13 Indian states, Aparna wants to leverage this diverse network to enhance her work on sustainability. “I am thrilled to be collaborating with such a diverse group of individuals from various backgrounds and expertise, including public health, design, agriculture, and wildlife studies. I think being a part of this interdisciplinary program will provide valuable insights into different approaches to sustainability.”

Answering a query about if her key experiences that lead to get selected as a senior ambassador for the SAGE program, she says, “I conduct research in community knowledge management, Natural Language Processing (NLP) in low-resource and colloquial languages, and semi-supervised learning approaches. Since SAGE is a multidisciplinary program, and the ambassadors come from various backgrounds, I believe that my motivation to apply my expertise to sustainability-related areas helped me in the selection process.”

Long-Term Goals in Sustainability

The progress towards a sustainable society can be enabled by first understanding the localized knowledge and practices and identifying the institutional barriers. She aims to experiment and understand how we can leverage digital platforms to disseminate already existing approaches and encourage best practices with multiple stakeholder participation. The SAGE program would be a good starting point for her to explore more regarding this. She is looking forward to participate in the human-library sessions as part of this program. “It will help me to interact with experts from various cross-disciplinary backgrounds, and I hope that this experience will enrich my knowledge,” she adds.

Aparna’s selection as a senior ambassador in the SAGE program marks a significant milestone in her journey towards promoting sustainability and harnessing technology for community development.

** Aparna Madva is a MS by Research scholar in web science lab at IIIT Bangalore and currently working as a Project Associate in the Bharatiya Bhasha NLP group.

Her work focuses on an architecture for management of oral knowledge management for low-resource, colloquial Kannada. Aparna’s research interest is in using AI for knowledge management and discourse analysis in communities, semi-supervised and few-shot learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) in Indian languages.


The International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore is a technical and research university in Bangalore, India. The Institute is a registered not-for-profit society funded jointly by the Government of Karnataka and the IT industry under a public-private partnership model.

For more details: Visit www.iiitb.ac.in

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