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Cloud Computing

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Meenakshi Gaur:

The metaphor of “cloud” has moved beyond the symbolism of rain and freedom. It has entered the world of IT, where it is symbolic of the Internet. Cloud Computing, stands for the newer and updated version of utility computing that is available at a far cheaper price. A user can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software, and services. They pay the provider only for what they use, like the electricity or water bills. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft said “It’s the next step, it’s the next phase, and it’s the next transition”.

The cloud computing user does not own the physical or software infrastructure. A user avails the rental services provided by the third party. It saves the capital expenditure and increases the utility as the customers pay only for the resources that they use. The payment is based on factors like time taken; the storage space used and the amount of information consumed.

Unlike the conventional hosting format, of installing the needed software in one’s computer, the Cloud hosting provides various services. Its elastic nature allows a user to entail as much or as little of the service they want, at any given time. The hosting service is fully managed by the provider. The consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and Internet access. No personal software needs to be installed. Simple example of cloud computing is Yahoo email or Gmail. The user does not need software to use them. All they need is just an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and software is all on the cloud (internet) and is totally managed by the cloud service provider Yahoo or Google.

Cloud Computing is shared amongst the multiple users thus enables sharing of resources and costs across a large pool of users. Cloud computing applications are easier to maintain, since they do not have to be installed on each user’s computer. They are updated and improved regularly by the provider, making the changes reach the clients smoothly and instantly.

Performance is monitored regularly by the provider, to stay in business. The consumer can chose the provider based on cost, performance and reliability. The commercial nature of Cloud Computing makes consumer the king, who if not satisfied can terminate the subscription.

Cloud Computing is divided into three segments:

* Application- It is the software services. Instead of purchasing the required software from the software provider and then installing them in the computer, the software is hosted directly from the software providers’ servers and is accessed by the user over the internet. It makes the software commercially available to all the users and is managed from central location of the provider.
* Platform- It is the gateway to access any application. A platform allows the users to access applications needed by them over the internet. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have also developed platforms that allow users to access applications from centralized servers. Microsoft acts as the platform on which the user can access Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word and similar Microsoft applications.
* Infrastructure- It is the backbone of the entire concept. Infrastructure provides the physical storage space, application programs to start, stop and accessed by the user. Thus, it delivers computer infrastructure rather than purchasing servers, software, data center space or hardware equipment and the clients buy them through the centralized server provider. The pricing is based on pay-for-what-you-use model like the way electricity; fuel and water are consumed.

Cloud Computing is still in the nascent stage. It definitely is the future, free from the purchase of increasingly expensive software and hardware. It is not perfected yet, as the multiple users increase the complexity of the cloud computing. The centralization of data, can concern the users about the loss of control over sensitive or confidential data. The data is distributed over a wider area and used by a number of computers. Some argue that customer data is more secure when managed internally on the private networks. Cloud computing is also critiqued for the lack of privacy. The information can be monitored lawfully or unlawfully and can be easily accessed by various users. Therefore, it acts more like an open source of information.

In a study conducted by Version One in June 2009, it was found that 41% of senior IT professionals actually don’t know what cloud computing is, highlighting the young nature of the technology. Yet it is the next big trend in the IT industry. It will bring into focus what IT always needed: a way to increase capacity of the present computer system without investing in new infrastructure. It does not need any special training or licensing. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said “It’s a new model…. it’s a powerful model and it’s where the industry is going.” This technology will allow more cheaper, efficient and faster computing. The loopholes once removed will create a revolution in the way computers work.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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