5 Dec 2009

Up-scaling and Replication? 150 Experiences

This paper was presented at e-ASIA 2009, December 3rd, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Niranjan Meegammana, Shilpa Sayura Foundation, niranjan@info.lk
Rasika Sampath, e Fusion pvt ltd, rasikabin@info.lk
V Murali Khrishna, Haldummulla Nenasala, murali@info.lk
Keeriagolle Dhammasara, Talakumbura Nenasala, dhammasara@info.lk
Gayan Pradeep, Mahiyangana Nenasala, gayangayani@gmail.com
Gamini Chamara, Shilpa Sayura Foundation, chamara@info.lk
Subash Dhanajaya, e fusion pvt Ltd, subash@info.lk

Abstract
Successful Telecenter based ICT4D projects encounter enlarged challenges, due to increased demand for up-scaling and replication that emerge from innovation and impact. The vertical and horizontal up-scaling and replication challenges existing project strategies, organization capacity and hierarchy to reach sustainability. This paper examines the knowledge emerges from Shilpa Sayura - local language e leaning project up-scaling and replication success with references to the experiences, challenges and lessons learned to emphasize how new forms of partnerships catalyzed an evolutionary process of Up-scaling and replication to ensure long term sustainability and hope to initiate a discussion on challenges of Up-scaling and replication to influence policy and future design approaches of Telecenter based ICT4D projects,

In conclusion, Up-scaling and replication challenges project strategies demanding changes to overcome socio-economic, geographical and policy barriers. Committed individuals significantly increase potential for ICT4D success and wider institutional base is required for up-scaling and replication. Successful pilot projects undergo a transition phase of survival needing collaborative action. In up-scaling and replication stage wise approach is important. Creating local support structures are important and require formal arrangements. Ownership sharing is a vital strategy to facilitate emergence of local leaderships to strengthen the human line up needed for Up-scaling and replication process for long term sustainability.

Download Full Paper
ICT4D Up scaling and Replication-paper41.pdf

29 Sep 2009

Sustainability Index - an Applied Methodology for Evaluation of Heterogeneous Telecenter Networks

Sustainability Index - an Applied Methodology
for Evaluation of Heterogeneous Telecenter Networks

Niranjan Meegammana
Team Leader, Sri Lanka Telecenter Community, 27th NITC ‘09 Conference






ABSTRACT
Sustainability Index (SI) is a new methodology used in M & E to assess sustainability position in 60 Nenasala Telecenter Network in Uva province, Sri Lanka. Sustainability Index defined as Telecenter, Zonal and Regional Network ranking system derived by monitoring quantitative and qualitative indicators of Nenasala performance, which helped directing M & E Team to initiate appropriate Network Actions for technical support, content & services deployment, capacity building and advocacy resulting Nenasala Network sustainability Index improvement from 2.8 to 5.1 in one year. This paper describes Sustainability Index, It’s application and discusses results to suggest It is a useful methodology for M & E of Telecenter Networks, requiring further research to be developed as a standard instrument to evaluate Telecenter Networks.



1.0 INTRODUCTION
Sustainability Index (SI) is a new methodology designed to evaluate the performance and sustainability of a heterogeneous Telecenter Networks. This methodology designed through research and development to assist in an M & E process done by e fusion private ltd, on an assignment given by Information and Communications Technology Agency (ICTA) to improve the sustainability of Nenasala Telecenter Network in Uva province, which had faced critical sustainability issues.


The Uva province is situated south east of Sri Lanka, (see figure 2.0) challenged with transportation, communications, and highest poverty. The 60 Nenasala are distributed across region. “Nenasala in Uva are quite common in infrastructure but unique by location, ownership and technology skills and the community they serve has a special significance in their uniqueness.” (Niranjan M, Impact Monitoring & Evaluation for Developing of Sustainable Tele Center Networks, 2009)

2.0 MATERIAL AND METHODS
The objective of SI was to provide a unique performance indicator for each Telecenter, Zone, District and Region to monitor and asses the changes resulted from the network development process implemented by the M & E Team. The research model designed took the network it self as the base learning model to monitor and capture periodic data on performance to understand issues and initiate collaborative network action based on shared strategies developed with evaluated community.

2.1 SUSTAINABILITY INDEX
Sustainability Index (SI) describes 10 levels Telecenter capacity of sustainability assessed from monitoring data. Based on learning from sustainable Telecenters A SI of 6 is targeted as minimal proof of Telecenter Sustainability.

SI - Description
1 - Telecenter is operational
2 - Has Management Capacity
3 - Telecenter Communicates
4 - Has Technology Skills
5 - Initiates Social Change
6 - Reached Financial Sustainability
7 - Takes Zonal Network Leadership
8 - Takes Regional Network leadership
9 - National Network leadership
10 - Global Network leadership












2.2 ASSESING SUSTAINABILITY
SI for each Telecenter derived by monitoring sub characteristics of five key areas of Network participation, content and services, service quality, quantity served and revenue generated. Number of workshops participated, collaboration with network members, technology skills, management, service quality, number of users, community involvement, revenue and costs were some sensitive characteristics measured to asses the financial and social sustainability of Telecenter and forming Network.

3.0 ANALYSIS



Figure 4.0
During the period of 1 Year Uva Nenasala Network SI grew from 2.8 to 5.1 (figure 4.0) and the poor performing Nenasala reduced from 32.5% to 18.3%. This resulted from many Nenasala becoming operational with Shilpa Sayura e learning deployment.Talakumbura, Thanamalwila, Siyambalanduwa and Girandurukotte Nenasala used e learning effectively improve their social sustainability and financial profitability.

Talakumbura Nenasala which was not operational at the beginning grew to SI of 7.0. is resulted from Technical, management, leadership training, deployment of Shilpa Sayura e Learning and involvement of the community which lead to improving financial profitability. Haldumullla Nenasala with M & E process developed as a National network leader obtained SI of 9.0.

At the same time Olagangala, Perahettiya, Kabillegama stayed at SI of 1.0 due to poor performance, lack of management and network participation. The SI was found to be much sensitive to availability of a capable Nenasala operator. The continuation of the same operator for a longer period improved Nenasala with M & E and effected performance when they leave. This situation improved by training a second row of operators. The Technology training on Virus care, Hardware maintenance, Sinhala Unicode and online communications, business planning, project development, Web designing and School ICT improved Telecenter as well as impact on the average network SI. The zonal leadership in Thanamalwila, Mahiyangana, Buttala, Madagama and Haliela improved the zonal SI and overall network performance.
(See Table 1.0 and Table 2.0.)

3.1 CHALLANGES

The unavailability of Internet and poor quality services hardware services, non availability resources like Multimedia projectors, Notebooks, replacement hardware and non corporation of some Nenasala impact Network SI falling behind anticipated level of 6.0.

3.2 IMPACT OF SUSTAINABILITY INDEX


SI was a unique indicator and helped early identification of Network issues to initiate appropriate Network Actions to direct technical support, content & services, capacity building and advocacy in M & E Process as well as indicated the effectiveness of strategies and lead to process and policy changes which improved the sustainability of Uva Nenasala Network.

4.0 CONCLUSIONS
Sustainability Index is useful methodology to evaluate the results of M & E for developing of Telecenter Networks and It could be applied to study Network growth directions and requires further research to be develop an instrument to measure National Telecenter Networks sustainability.

5.0 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ICTA, UVA Nenasala and E fusion RIT.

6.0 REFERENCES
1.) Meegammana N., Sampath R., “Impact Monitoring & Evaluation for Developing of Sustainable Tele Center Networks”, Sri Lanka Evaluation Association, April 2009
2) .Gómez R. and Hunt P., “Telecentre Evaluation a global perspective”, Report of an International Meeting on Telecentre Evaluation, IDRC, 1999
3.) ICTA UVA RIT Assignment Reports, 2009

16 Sep 2009

E3 - 4: A Lesson from e-India 2009 Awards

Project E3 winning e-India award has a significant value to all Nenasala operators as it's the highest level of honor received by a Nenasala operator, who is in the bottom of the pyramid of Telecenter movement. As we have witnessed and experienced, Telecenter based ICT4D projects has to stand on ground, long before winning an award, it has to reach the grass roots to make the impact and initiate the change for Human development. With regards to the project E3, this last bit of activity was done by Telecenter Operators. Although they are in the bottom of the pyramid, their value creates rewards and fame for many.

The term "community involved" now need to change as "community owned" to provide a better meaning of empowerment. How can we transform good initiatives to become large impact objects? how can we share the ownership with those who participate and help others to rise? Murali Krishna is my example hero of this story, and there are others in Nenasala pipeline who could be world examples for Celebrating Telecenter Success.


E3 Acknowledges Photo credit to Dr. K. P. hewagamage, Head of E Learning , UCSC

The backgound story is here!

Project 'E3' submitted by Shilpa Sayura, Sri Lanka won one of the two awards, in Best Telecenter Civil Society Initiative of the Year category, at e India 2008 Awards, held in International Convention center, Hydrabad, India on August 26, 2009. Accepting the award speaking in Tamil Language, Murali Krishna said "The honor of this award goes not only to me, but to all Nenasala operators in Uva and Islandwide Nenasala" The thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa , ICTA, Shilpa Sayura and Nenasala Operators who supported this common E3 endure that improved Uva Telecenter Network sustainability from 2.6 SI to 5.1 in an year providing a new domain for Telecenter Development.

Project E3 formulated through Shilpa Sayura experiences and Knowledge shared by ICT4D experts from worldwide, field researched by through Uva Province Regional Impact Team (RIT) for Nenasala Telecenter M & E Assignment of ICTA. E3 provides an open participatory flatform for Telecenter Sustainability Development. E3 was presented in Telecenter Forum e-India 2009 and went to win an Award.

More on project E3 : opens a new window
More on project E3

Back to the story ...

Murali Krishna became known to us four years ago, a humble Nenasala operator with Tamil ethnic background, but he managed a Nenasala in a Buddhist temple becoming a good example of ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka. Working with our team he grew with shared knowledge and expertise, became a network leader in Project E3 and Shilpa Sayura.

As a result, He was apponted by ICTA as an ICT ambassador at 1st Nenasala Convention 2008 together with 19 others. He collborated in Shilpa Sayura pilot implementation, innovated revenue for Nenasala, partnered in sup scaling and replication in 150 Nenasala. He helped, motivated peer Nenasala operators, and won confidence as a leader; finally they selected him as their president of their community. a formal body formed by RIT M & E process. At elections he got equal votes but the Rev. Dhammasara Himi who had got equal number of votes said "Murali should be the president!". Making his first speech in Badulla, Murali Krishna said "Nenasala is my lifeline", it's local meaning says many things about him. When Murali Krishna took part in e-India 2009, he represented him peer community of Telecenter Operators, not him.

What exactly Project E3 and Shilpa Sayura did for Murali Krishna and his peer Nenasala Operators. In E3 the third 'e' stands for e leadership, youth development is one major aspect of e leadership. Project E3 & Shilpa Sayura created an enabling environment for Murali Krishna to emerge and we provided resources, guidence, training, opportunities and finally shared what we owned with him to unleash his potential and He rose to the top. I think it's the meaning of empowerment. Murali Krishna is only an example; Trust me, We have more leaders on the line up; It would have been great if we could support all of them to go e-India 2009, where people learn and emerge unleashing their full potential.

I remember e-India 2007, where Shilpa Sayura first crowned with i4D Award. It changed the whole dimensions of Shilpa Sayura and we went to the top taking 20 Telecenter pilot to 150 Telecenter knowledge network by now and now we not only create content for e learning but taken certain responsibilities for Nenasala development partnering with ICTA. I hope same thing will happen to Murali Krishna and his peers in time to come. Sri Lankan Telecenters are in a transition stage now, as the World Bank project is ending. But we have developed a safety net by empowering leaders of Nenasala, and we are confident that they have the will and potential to become Real Telecenter leaders of tomorrow provided some support is made available. One major component of that support is knowledge leadership and mentoring for upcoming leaders.

The lesson we learn from Murali Krishna’s case is that, real leaders are out there in bottom of the pyramid which most of us hardly feel or not see. It's time that we look at from bottom up on the subject of empowerment, and create more space for real leadership to rise and take better roles in Telecenter movement which is an open participatory model shared by all.

I learned that,
CREATING SPACE FOR RISING LEADERS FROM GRASS ROOTS HAS SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON SUSTAINING TELECENTER NETWORKS.

Acknowlegements :
Special thanks to CSDMS Team for Empowering those who were not known to the world,
Probbaly we community need to get together to give them a people Award!





Finally it was also a good tour to go e-india 2009, Lots of learning Interactions, Ideas and more lessons learned! Looking forward to more learning enhancements @ e-ASIA

Niranjan Meegammana
Shilpa Sayura Foundation
http://www.shilpasayura.org



Vijayanagar Kingdom, Humpi has a major influence in Sri Lankas Kandyan Era Art and Archetecture, Had good relationships with Sri Lanka in 15th century.

http://niranjanmeegammana.blogspot.com/2009/09/project-e3-e-india-2009-highlights.html

1 Sep 2009

Project E3 @ e-India 2009 Highlights

Murali Krishna, Manager, Haldummulla Nenasala Telecenter and Niranjan Meegammana, ICTA Regional Impact Team Leader for Uva Province Nenasala took part in the e-India Conference held in International Convention center, Hydrabad, India from August 25-27.

Project 'E3' submitted by Shilpa Sayura, Sri Lanka won an e India Award in Best Telecenter Initiative of the Year category. Following are some highlights of the event.



"E3 is a Typical Example of Empowerment of Grassroots"










































More on project E3

16 Aug 2009

E3 - 3: Developing Culture as Foundation for Future Telecenters

The interesting discussions on administration of internet content took my mind in multiple directions on explicit content related to different forms of knowledge and their use by people of different life styles. These life styles may have existed and evolved from explicit architectural and artistic masterpieces of Khajuraho, Konarak, Ellora and Puri in India (see http://india.shilpasayura.org) as well as Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, and anywhere in the world including Diana and heaven's touch from greece and rome. A popular belief is that they are all educational art.




Looking back my experience in internet content, The ISP salesman first sold internet access for homes for explicit content. I know many people who got into internet for curiosity of xrated material. This was around 1997. But when people began to realize the value of internet; their behaviors changed and such content become an option. People did better things like communication, education, business on internet. The next explicit wave was chat rooms, skype and social networks followed. Each delivers user generated live explicit content, which is impossible to be banned. The xrated business followed every evolving internet trend as it may have been a good money spinner for them.

Until around 2004, There was a general feeling among village people in Sri Lanka, that internet was harmful. When Nenasala Telecenters were setup in remote communities, People found that internet has better uses, especially for education. It’s the Educational content like NASA photos, Yahoo Kids and Minicilip Games were popular in most Uva Province Telecenters before Shilpa Sayura moved in.

Scanning back, I can’t remember any serious explicit content case from any of the 587 Telecenters, So called violent shooting games like “Poject IGI” or "Doom" did not do any harm to children at Telecenters. Probably the Kids had only a little time to kill. I didn’t find any youth or child affected by violence games or explicit content. No parent had complained me so far. (This doesn’t mean that people don’t access such content from Telecenters. We sometimes found such content in temporary internet files and in offline hard drives. When we found, we always asked them to remove such content and made them aware of possible harms that can bring to a mind of a child getting exposed to them. Actually none resisted ethical and cultural develpment at Nenasala.) Generally I could say high majority of Nenasala are free from explicit content.

Why?



The answer is simple. It's the Village Culture. Over 40% of the Nenasala setup in Temples in Uva Province, creates nenasala a strong cultural and moral binding towards the society. Having setup by govenment created owner responsibility. I think Nenasala are much safer than any cybercafe, home or office connection and a camera phone could be more harmful. In this case Temples are ideal locations for Nenasala.



In Shilpa Sayura e Learning, Nava Goviya e Agriculture and Project E3 for Telecenter Sustainability and Knowledge Society, we always allocated a strong stake for culture. Culture was the triple bottom foundation of each of the initiative. Not only from the outlook, but also from inherent philosophies of design, development and implementation. Culture was a key component, filter and enabler.

In Shilpa Sayura content Local Languages, Art, Dance, Music and History content set the perfect cultural foundation for entertaining education to attract Children to Telecenters. Internet is not prime choice of Children. In E3 we used local culture as the foundation for developing e learning, e business and e leadership at Telecenters.

Culture helped building mutual trust and openness in the network, helped to communicate and network people encourage participation and collaboration, in which E3 content played a major role. We found that explicit content can not harm a society bound with a culture, trust, respect and social ethics. What we need is to create awareness on better uses of internet, offer more interesting content and services like e education and e entertainment so that our youth will develop better taste in e content they use.

This is Sri Lankan context. Global context could be different as we are not the only people sharing internet and this wonderful planet

I refer to recent open ICT4D draft paper when considering global context
http://www.idrc.ca/uploads/user-S/12271304441Open_ICT4D_Draft.pdf
By Matthew Smith, Nathan J Engler, Gideon Christian, Kathleen Diga, Ahmed Rashid and Kathleen Flynn-Dapaah of IDRC, possibly shows direction to an evolving doorway leading to a new parallel closely related to our work in Shilpa Sayura and Project E3. The paper initiated a discussion on openness; We are seeing a future of content that could be more open and creative in shaping future social models.

The definition of openness may not only be viewed as the ownership of the content but impact with factors like human rights, freedom of expression --. People may demand generation of content for alternative life styles. There will always be hardliners and softliners and in-betweens. The question is where, how and who will draw the thin red line?

In this discussion, Subash a colleague in my office said “Banning explicit content will create a new government jobs for a Explicit Content Administrators”, (I think he meant a joke). It would be hard for governments to administer morals of citizens in order to create ideal social models by forming more and more new laws.

Instead, we can protect our youth from any harm that can occur from e content as well as e services through awareness, social watchfulness and buiding a trusted, valuble and reliable e content and e services is important. For me, this approach is no differnt from protecting youth from getting into alcohol and tobacco habits.

How ever in Project E3 we have suggested following best practices for Nenasala Operators to avoid child impact from explicit content.

1. Always watch, if there are any explicit material in temporary catche, specially, if the computers are used by adults, children know how to search images and videos
2. Facilitate Internet and content use by Children in groups, never leave them alone!
3. Keep PC monitors tuned opposite the walls, if computers are shared by children and adults
4. Watch! for any strange/ suspicious behaviors among any user
5. Offer entertaining and educating content and encourage valueble content creation
6. Don’t let children below age 16, to use internet or email alone
7. Dont trust google, wiki or any other website with under age children
8. screen pictures in emails with corner of eye screen, learn which lists they subscribed to (child safety is better than child privacy)
9. Make them aware of dangers of internet communications, spams, chat aliases and total strangers
10. Form your own social network for training on net behaviors

With project E3 Nenasala Telecenters get transformed to community e Schools+village business center + a local leader in Socio – Cultural activities. Talakumbura, Siayambalanduwa, Kandiyapitawewa, Nagala, Haldummulla, Kandegedara, Balagolla, Mahiyangana, Mapakadawewa, Andaulpotha Nenasala are best examples among many more Nenasala in Uva Province, and probably they could be future E3 role models, who use culture as their philosophy of social foundation. There are so much to for us to learn from them.

Their magic is done by building strong cultural foundation to develop a Telecenter model centered around trusted network of content and services. Therefore my conclusion is that

culture builds, binds and sustains Telecenter Networks






Niranjan Meegammana
Shilpa Sayura, NawaGoviya + Project E3
http://www.shilpasayura.org
http://www.telecenter.lk
http://www.navagoviya.org

4 Aug 2009

Project E3 Briefing




E3 abstract
E3 designed as a concept, researched on ground to develop a replicable solution that will provide answers to Telecenter sustainability problems. E3 demonstrate that Telecenter Networks are an important development philosophy to shape future rural societies. E3 strengthened Telecenters by developing Telecenter Operators, Improved network wide Telecenter services and developed Telecenter leadership. E3 created impact in rural education, culture, commerce and peace. E3 used ICT4D to catalyze the development of rural societies. Project E3 improved Telecenters social and financial sustainability overcoming challenges in knowledge, resources, structure and change resistance presents a global model and an example of how to build, develop and sustain Telecenter Networks for shaping future knowledge societies


Introduction


Project E3 is a Public-Private-Community Partnership, innovated an adaptable, scalable and replicable solution for sustaining Telecenter Networks. E3 stands for e learning, e business and e leadership, designed to serve emerging digital knowledge needs of rural societies, develop micro economic networks and to address MDGs through Telecenter leadership.

The framework for E3 Shown below


The PrincipalsProject E3 based on open development principals is owned by collaborative and impact community, provides free training, Telecenter tools, e learning content and advice to community initiatives. Paying electrical bills through internet banking, offline e learning, scholarship programs, and community content projects are examples.

Objectives and Process
Aimed at scaling up to 587 Telecenters in Sri Lanka, In the first year, Project E3 helped improving sustainability of 60 Telecenter network in Uva province by improving e services, visibility and usability. E3 developed Telecenter leadership by building local networks to enable peer support and collaboration to improve Network sustainability E3 M & E process integrated with capacity building, technical assistance, and content and services deployment is an assignment by ICTA which collaborated with Telecenters to transform isolated Telecenters to a Knowledge Network.


Developing a knowledge society

E3 reached isolated Telecenter operators, trained and made them local, regional and national leaders to lead Telecenter movement. Project E3 development is significant as Scientific, Technical and Social achievement as the process involved scientific approach to design of a solution, research and publications, Technical solutions that changed how Telecenters serve communities and development of Telecenter community as a knowledge society.


E3 Methods
E3 created benefits for all who participated. Making continued awareness, motivation and encouragement helped facing above challenges. E3 used mixed methods of informal and formal ways in handling bureaucracy and resistance for change. Open dialogs, bogging, group discussion, awareness, training all helped. Working with government and established institution always required formal approaches and practices.


Telecenter Operator Development

E 3 Developed skilled Telecenter Operators to sustain Telecenters. Implemented e learning to improve 150 rural youth communitiesDeveloped Telecenter leadership forming Telecenter CommunityHelped securing more than $ 80,000 funding for projects for the NetworkCreated a Knowledge network among 150 TelecentersInitiated global collaboration for Telecenter Research in Sri Lanka.

E3 Key Project Activities
- Uniting Telecenter operators for professional development
- Establishing a common portal for sharing knowledge
- Empowerment of grass root Telecenter workers to lead the movement
- Development of Technologies and content for Telecenter operator training
- Introduction of a Telecenter Operator certification examination
- Developing a concerned community on Telecenter Sustainability
- Involving Telecenter operators in the process of sustaining Nenasala Network. - The formation of Telecenter community Association to pave the way to expand and share development in other Regional Telecenter networks.

The E3 Development

E3 developed Youth and empowered Women with equal opportunities in training and leadership opportunities. Hardware, networking, web designing like advanced training developed their technical skills. E3 helped increasing their revenue by securing funds for community projects.

Telecenters faced risk of closing became operational and profitable with e learning services for National curriculum, helped youth to pass examinations and helped parents to save money from distance tuition. Networked Telecenters were able to share knowledge and initiate common projects targeting regional farmers, women, culture, environment, education and government services creating a knowledge network, increasing usage and revenue.


The improvements
The improvement of Telecenters benefited communities with improved ICT literacy, communications, and access to knowledge resulting economic improvements. Nenasala operators, who lacked relevant knowledge and skills, significantly improved their communication, technical, management and leadership skills with E3 capacity building program which increased their motivation, collaboration and performance that helped securing of jobs, increased project opportunities to form an empowered collaborative knowledge network for Telecenter development.



Obtained Results
Achievements of the project Project E3 goal is to achieve a Sustainability Index (SI) of 6.0 by November 2009. SI is a 1 to 10 scale indicator that describes the Telecenter and Network sustainability position in E3 methodology. By June 2009, Uva Telecenter Network SI grew from 2.6 to 5.1. Weak Nenasala reduced from 38% to 18.33%. The average number of users has grown from 28 to 101 (364%) and average income grew from Rs. 7650.00 to Rs. 17597.00 (230%) with in a year. This is viewed as significant increase of performance in the network.



E3 Imapact
The impact of E3 shows that Uva TCN sustainability growth by 96% in an year reducing closing risks from 68.3% to 18.33%. E3 formed a Telecenter Think Tank forming a Telecenter community organization to empower Telecenter Operators, involved them in planning, decision making and managing of the Network development process.

E3 Outcomes
As an outcome of the project E3 a new research framework presented to global ICT4D by presenting it in e-India 2009 as a paper and several papers published in international development conferences, is an indication of the acceptance of E3 methodology in Telecenter Sustainability development.

Project E3 design based on several years of Telecenter and e studies, indicates a new direction for Telecenters who are facing a transitional sustainability issues. E3 building local, regional and National knowledge networks has helped Telecenters to develop a collaborative vision using e learning, e business and e leadership to serve rural societies that will help sustaining the Telecenters and Telecenter Networks.

E3 Challenges and how were they overcome?
- Getting the support of Telecenters and establishing a trusted network.
- Bridging knowledge gaps among Telecenter operators.
- Finding of resources to build capacity of Telecenters.
- Retaining operators in Telecenters for continued contribution to the network.
- Establishing common Network practices and standards.
- Developing standards and tools for e learning and e business.
- Collaborating with the government officials who were bound by various rules.
- Limitations in knowledge and skills of Nenasala operators.
- Implementing social innovations suggested by E3 which were new concepts.
- Resistance from Senior Nenasala who were reluctant to change.

During the E3 project design, we anticipated above challenges, and pre prepared with strategies to overcome them. The prime strategy was openness, communication, inclusion, participation, collaboration and creating partnerships in E3.

The Lessons Learned
Project E3 foundation is openness, inclusion, participation and collaboration aims creating benefits for all Nenasala, ICTA, Service Providers, Local and provincial governments, schools, professional bodies and community to enable sharing of knowledge and resources, co-creation of services and share project ownership for motivation, speedy action and increased impact. Project E3 shows a promising direction how Telecenters could be made sustainable with e learning, e business and e leadership is a global example of open development for a knowledge society.

Cultural integration was one of the important strategies in E3 development; it helped creating a common flat form and respect each other’s views.E3 found that transparency, accountability and good governance of the process can help overcome any issues that hinder development, in which empowerment and participation of impact community (Telecenters) makes an important variable on success. Therefore from the inception E3 shared the project ownership with Telecenters and created social and economic benefits for contribution.

What in Future?
Project E3 Telecenter Network Sustainability model is nation wide replicable. For global replication translation of content and adaptation of method required. Project E3 started replicating in 150 Telecenters in five provinces with ICTA e-SDI assistance. More Research is being planned to expand E3 experiences to other regions from January 2010.


E3 demonstrated that Telecenter movement as one of best ways to shape future societies building a digital knowledge centered economic networks on Telecenter networks.


E3 achievements are local, regional, national and possibly global innovations and eye opener in scientific, technical and social context of Telecenter Sustainability Development Initiatives.



Key People Involved

Niranjan Meegammana
BCS qualified ICT4D activist, involved in grass root Telecenter development with strong experiences in developing e learning, e business in local language technologies. He is a Member of ICTA E-Society focus group, Head of K4D Special Interest Group, Managing Director of E fusion, and the designer of Shilpa Sayura Project which won I4D 2007, GKP 2007 and Stockholm Challenge 2008 & WYSA Global ICT4D awards. Niranjan is the Team Leader for Regional Impact Team for Uva Province Nenasala, appointed by ICTA.

Gavahkar Subramanimum
ICTA Nenasala project manager, responsible for Island wide Nenasala Telecenter Network and qualified in ICT. Involves in Leading Nenasala Team and management of government services for the network and review of RITs and Hardware and Internet service providers.

E3 Research Collaboration Dr. Peter Mozellius & Dr. Henrick Hanson Stockholm University, Sweden

Rasika Sampath
M & E Officer, is an ICT4D activist operating in grass root communities, Regional Impact Team (RIT) for Uva Nenasala, specialized in M & E of Nenasala, Nenasala Operator and qualified in business and ICT, member of Shilpa Sayura National Impact Team and registrar of Telecenter Community Association, Sri Lanka. Murali Khrisna Telecenter Manager, an ICT4D activist, from Haldumulla Nenasala, involved in grass root Telecenter operation with strong experiences in community development through e learning and cultural integration ICT ambassador appointed by ICTA and National organizer for Shilpa Sayura, ICTA e-SDI district consultant and The President of Telecenter Community Association.

Gamini Chamara
Deputy Team leader, Regional Impact Team (RIT) for Uva Nenasala, specialized in content and services qualified in ICT, Director C & S Shilpa Sayura Project.Suranga Sampath - Deputy Team leader, Regional Impact Team (RIT) for Uva Nenasala, specialized in Technology Services, qualified in ICT, Director Mathematics & ICT Shilpa Sayura Project.

V. Murali Khrisna
Telecenter Manager, an ICT4D activist, from Haldumulla Nenasala, involved in grass root Telecenter operation with strong experiences in community development through e learning and cultural integration ICT ambassador appointed by ICTA and National organizer for Shilpa Sayura, ICTA e-SDI district consultant and The President of Telecenter Community Association.

Rasika Muthukuda
General Manager, e fusion, Regional Impact Team (RIT) for Uva Nenasala, responsible for Finance and general management

Yamuna Ratnayaka
President Shilpa Sayura Foundation, National Curriculum Content Expert. Manages content creation process for Shilpa Sayura

Other Members of ICTA Sarath De Silva (Review), Janaka Manjula (Infrastructure), Gayani Perera (Review), Shriyananda Ratnayaka (Content), J K Perera (Review)

Other members of E fusion : Sarath Gunatilaka (Transport), Srimal Iresh (Content), Chulani Jayathilaka (Content), Saliya Randunuge (ICT e learning), Thusitha Randunuge (Web), Gamini Pathirana (Internal Audit), Tissa Senarantha (Communications), Suranga Dharmasena (Help Desk)

Nenasala Operators : Keeragolle Dhammasara Himi, Gayan Pradeep, Narada Asanka, Saman Kumara, Buttala Asela, Yapa Chandralatha, Samptha Eranda, Dilhani Balagolla, Linugala Deshani & Gayathri, Chaminda Mapakadawewa, Nisansala Wekumbura, Siri Udaya Himi, Siri Vipula Himi, Nuwan Bibile, Thaminda Balasoriya, Sajani Dilrukshi, Nandana Madugalle, Handesse Mahinda himi, Sampath Karunanayaka, Duminda Alahakoon, C I Clement , Dilip Kumara, Chaminda Siyambalanduwa, Janaka Srimal, Nalika Priyadharshani

Uva Provincial Council
Mr. Wimalasena (Director Provincial Library), Mr. Sumith Siriwardena (Secretory of Education)

Sinhala Unicode Group : Vishwa Kumara, Dasun Sameera and many more Telecenter operators, professionals and community leaders


For Related and useful information
http://www.telecenter.lk/photos .
http://www.youtube.com/user/shilpasayura
http://www.shilpasayura.org/
http://nenasala.ning.com/
http://telecenter.ning.com/

Related Projects in E3

Shilpa Sayura Project :
Local Language e Learning Initiative operating in 150 Telecenters in Sri Lanka. Provides Self e learning for National curriculum to over 10,000 students marginalized with lack of educational resources. The project has helped rural students to seek an alternative route to success in National Examinations. Project Won I4D, GK3, Stockholm Challenge, Diskobolos Awards and WYSA runner up (2006-2009).
http://www.shilpasayura.org/

Navagoviya Project :
Local Language e Agriculture Project to provide e Learning on Sustainable agriculture for Farmers at 60 Telecenters. Intend to develop CSR assisted outgrowing, seeds and plants production for economic development, sustainable environment and farming practices.
http://www.navagoviya.org/

Photos :

Find more photos like this on Sri Lanka Telecenter Community Network

31 Jul 2009

E3 - 2: The formation of Telecenters Sustainability Networks

If sustainability gives a meaning of continuation of existence, it also gives a demanding target to exist forever. Which of course a question to me as our experiences are only 3-4 years; But there is a common consensus that sustainability is a result of continues evolution like evolution of mankind and science.

For Telecenters to sustain or to continue existance, they should continue to evolve in their communities, regions and nations as networks. As we have experienced, this process of evolution does not happen automatically like the human evolution was not automatic, in history many actors had made it happen. From Invention of the wheel to communication satellites evolution continued and will continue to future. Telecenters are also an invention, therefore needs to evolve to become sustainable and actors to make it happen.



The question is that "how do we facilitate this evolution?". Four years ago when we setup first VGKs, they were aimed to provide ICTs for the rural communities as a means to bridging digital divide. At the beginning Teaching MS Office was a cash cow. Access to internet was a luxury and mobile phones were a few. Now after four years so many people have learnt MS office, use mobile phones and use computers at home with broad band. The market is drying up for traditional ICTs and still there are poor people who are unable own ICTs. Unless Telecenters offer better courses and services, they are not able to make adequate revenue to pay their staff, pay utility bills and mange other expenses.
This means change. A change of Nenasala sustainability model and how they are to be supported ?, what norms to be made ? and plan for expected impact.
But how?


Before answering this titanic question, which of course has many answers, I think it’s better to understand little bit of background of Nenasala in local context.

In Sri Lanka ICTA under the president office lead the Telecenter establishment. The initial pilot was 20, and later planned to scale up to 200. The first 20 setup had much equipment and support. Then, ICTA reached 500 Telecenters by speeding up the process, The new model did cut down on equipment. In Uva province 28.3% Nenasala provided only two computers.

The first ones were provided with 4 PCs and newer ones given 3 PCs. Lack of photocopiers and multi media projectors were a major concern among operators. "If we have Multimedia projectors we can reach non ICT community like farmers and women" Mural Krishna a well sessoned Nenasala operator says. However general impression in Sri Lanka for Nenasala are improving now. People are begining to accept Nenasala exsistance as they are serving some of their needs. This increased distribution, reach and penetration of Nenasala into rural communities commended by Worldbank and greatly appreciated by community, and specially children benefitted impact in e education, Nenasala becoming a breeding ground for future professionals of our nation is becoming a reality.

Although 587 Nenasala were established, Some locations have no internet access. This may be due to informal processes influenced by different socio economic and political factors. During E3 the Uva Nenasala Internet access availbility grew from 40% to 79% which is much higher figure compared to other regions. However non of the Telecos were able to cover locations Balagolla, Anadaulpotha, Wekumbura like remote places who continue a good community service even without internet access.

The sustainability was never a question for Nenasala owners at the start as they got all equipment, internet access and technical services free from the state agency ICTA. Some argue we would have thought sustainability first, and some say the more distribution and numbers is much better. My point of view is that quality in establishment can achieve both as each motive has it’s pros and cons. However this is a tough ask in a country where development is mixed with political will, state beurocracy and local community needs. Nenasala have to satisfy all is a big ask.

Uva province 40% of Nenasala are setup on Temples, 20% are privately owned and rest are managed by CBOs and NGOs. One interesting finding is that It's the Most of the Temples based Nenasala are the leaders in the network achiving both financial profitability and social sustainability. The poorest ones are CBOs as well as large NGOs who lack focus on Nenasala. This actually influnce us to setup more Nenasala in Temples and break misbelief that large NGOs and CBOs are the best form of ownership.

The designers thought as rural communities lack access to ICTs, the demand for ICTs will be created to make Nenasala becoming self sustainable. This has become an illusion, as many Nenasala needing some sort of external support to continue. Eureka in Ethimale Nenasala says “We did a promotion, some people came initially and dropped, and now we wait , people are not coming” She and her friend open Nenasala situated in a corner of the village everyday and wait for a new customer to come in. They have a near by school with no computers but has over 400 students including secondary education students. They have never made a promotion in School or event didn’t talk to principal about it. Someone has to help them to make the bridge. That peice of support can change their form of sustainability.



As we studied, the support needs of Nenasala vary by type and scale in the areas of Technical support, training, financial assistance, internet access, content and services as well as mentoring. As an example a financially profitable Nenasala like Bibile, Haldummulla and Thanamalwila need assistance in business planning, obtaining a credit card, writing a project proposal, small loans and sometimes they just need someone to talk.

We can continue to argue why not all Telecenters establishments deliver expected results? But I think the learned lessons are more important to develop sustainability strategies. This requires inclusion of all key players and openness. As an example giving life back to VGK Focus Group (Now Nenasala) could be a good Start.

One major factor affected Nenasala was shrunk in local economy due to war recently ended. Lack of local content and lack of cash in their communities was also a problem. But some ask question how can people have no money if they have such a number of mobile phones. They say over 9 million phones in Sri Lanka. I think the growth of mobile phone is a talking lifestyle rather than a information need. I am not yet convinced that mobile phones are a threat to Telecenters.

Some Nenasala did well taking advantage of their location but many faced an issue of charging from their communities. Chief priest Kandewinna said “People know that, we get free services from the government and how can we charge people as a temple”. This is true in cultural aspect, but not logical in business aspect. We need to find a solution rather than pushing Kandewinna for getting money. One way is to make nenasala owned by community, who can invest in it. But this means sharing of ownership, which is still a question.

Another problem was local youth leaving village for popular jobs easily available in garment sector and Army. These jobs do not require ICT skills. Nenasala owners faced a problem to find volunteer operators. I mean people who work for free until some money is made and get a small portion of what they made. No one considered Nenasala Operation as a permanent employment. Some efforts to bring people from outside village did not work as they did not continue to come. Plan international assisted Therulla Nenasala finding a Teachers for the Nenasala, 40 students registered and dropped to 5 when class fees were demanded. The teacher stopped coming. Nenasala went back to still state.

This requires Nenasala movement to re-consider volunteer model and find ways to transform it to a volunteer but a professional development model. "Protect Nenasala operators to protect Nenasala" a blog wrote was well appreciated by Nenasala operators. Professional development of Nenasala operators is one major area we focused on E3. We have been able to keep many operators in the movement as we formed an community association for them and leadershio training helped them to hang on to the network built by E3 process. I can't imagine any process which can succeed, if it exclude simpact community at strategic decision making level. We need to make grass root empowerment a reality not an illusion for sustainability. E3 from day one, designed to empower grass roots, although it's tough task and a big ask to achive.

We found that every Nenasala focused on kids who loved to play with computers. But they did not make much income as the kids could not pay from their pocket. When I asked Dilhani, Balagolla Nenasala, Why they are making less revenue when 60+ students using Shilpa Sayura. She said “There is a monthly payment of Rs 100/=, but when we ask for it. They stopped coming, therefore we don’t press for payments”. When we deployed Shilpa Sayura which made their users grew in numbers, yet less revenue as the village is a corn growing poverty pocket which is one of the poorest AGA divisions in Sri Lanka. My friend Nuwan in Bibile Nenasala, may not agree on the principals of democracy, But we need a special package for sustainability of these Nenasala who help make social change in a location we need to change.

Among 60 Nenasala researched for an Year, we learned many stories what impact Telecenters sustainability. Location of Telecenter is a great impact on financial profitability, how ever social impact depended on certain factors which sometimes lapsed in financially successful Telecenters. I remember my ICT4D friend Rajiv Ranjan who is gone missing in somewhere in Africa, once said at e Society focus group that “If state money is spent on Nenasala, They should focus on social impact rather than business”. I bring out this little stories to suggest that Sustainability is an evolution and it has several forms and faces which we have to unleash by more research and development. E3 is just that.

Some people suggest that It's hard for Telecenters to achive social impact and financial profitability. I agree that It is a challenge but believe it can be done, proved with examples of Talakumbura, Mahiyangana, Girandurukotte, Siyambalanduwa Nenasaala which were closed when E3 first moved into Uva province, after an year they have become Network Leaders. Each one is distinct by location, community and culture. What made them become excellent Nenasala and Network contributors is a real area for research. To start with it's a result of e-leadership development. I got the idea of e-leadership from Dr. Naggy Henna, but focus was changed to make leaders at the bottom of the pyramid.

In Uva Nenasala Network, majority of Nenasala who sustained, did well in the social context first. Actually, I didn’t know anyone with a business plan when started E3. Talakumbura Nenasala serving over 100 children and charged no fee, sustained. Balagolla, Kandewinna and Wekumbura Nenasala continued to exist even without internet, less than Rs 3000/= revenue using volunteer services. Thanamalwila Nenasala ICT scholarship program for poor children, Hingurukaduwa e village innovation, Siyambalanduwa teaching English on Skype, Heeloya providing better seeds for farmers, Mahiyangana developing school drop offs are finest examples of social sustainability. E3 would like to study each of these cases in deep for higher learning of Telecenter sustainability.

RIT assignment we were involved in was one of the key strategies of ICTA to improve Nenasala Sustainability. It had a clear goal what the assignment was to achieve. The ICTA RFP said “Nenasala would be able to generate sufficient revenue to ensure its sustainability in the long term". Is a clear statement of state policy on Nenasala sustainability which is looked at a long term impact. Our mission was to create a foundation within assignment period for ensuraing long term Nenasala sustainability, in which we believed that ideas for a foundation for long term sustainability doesn’t come from sky. It has to evolve from the impact community on a collaborative vision. This is where building human networks became most important. As a techie, I have build networks that flow information and communication needed for business, but human networks to sustain Telecenters was a new challenge. E3 found a solution to build human networks among Telecenters, which will serve as the sustainability network for Nenasala.
E3 was the process of building this foundation was layed not actually by us, but Telecenter Operators trained and empowered through

E3



Read how we did it from my next blog in the E3 series.

Niranjan Meegammana
http://www.shilpasayura.org


28 Jul 2009

E3: How e-learning, e business and e Leadership Join in for Sustaining Telecenters ?

E3

is an idea evolved through Shilpa Sayura Experiences and learned interactions in e-India 2007, followed by GK3 and Stockholm Challenge 2008 which expanded our world of ICT4D. We began to redefine boundaries of our knowledge. Having interacted with Nenasala closely, we found that Telecenters needed something special for long term sustainability. In Sri Lanka many of the Telecenters has taken up ICT literacy development model for sustainability, which is a natural tendency and seems ok when government subsidized the internet access and technical services, however Nenasala have to stand their own, but how?



We began to question ourselves to find out how Telecenters can rise as successful enterprises. How they could be a unique resource in their communities? Talking to farmers, women, youth and professionals, we found that a change in Nenasala model is the need of the hour.

I could frankly say, visiting DSV and meeting Earl Mardle, Bjorn Peterson, Prasad Jayaweera, Love Ekenberg, Henrick Hanson, Peter Mozellius was a major turning point in E3 idea evolution.






Being in private sector for a long time and e learning experiences from Shilpa Sayura, We thought that Nenasala Telecenters can generate revenue from e learning and e business and provide leadership for social change as a sustainability strategy. Everyone thought it’s a good idea, but where it could be applied to find answers and How E3 could be proved as a hypothesis was a mind blowing challenge.

We had an opportunity to work on our own backyard with ICTA Regional Impact Team Assignment which aimed at sustaining 60 Nenasala Telecenters in Uva Province. E3 was our designed strategy for Telecenter Sustainability. That was how E3 concept for Telecenter Sustainability got realized. Since June 2009, we had been researching E3 to enhance our learning on Telecenter Sustainability.



After a year we have interesting results, important findings and new questions which we want to share with concerned Telecenter community. We will be presenting E3 in e-India 2009 to initiate a discussion among Telecenter community on E3 and it’s global applicability as an adaptable, replicable framework to sustain Telecenter Networks.

This is my first post of a series of blogs which I intend to write to create space for E3 discussion and I hope both my Research paper on E3 and this blog series will complement each other. Still at early stages of learning E3 provides us an insight into future of Telecenter Networks, that cater e-learning, e business and e Leadership to develop a knowledge society.

The E3 idea is simple for anyone to grasp, but the questions in our hand are how we use E3? what tools and methods that will make Telecenters sustain with E3. These questions to be answered from more research and application of what we learn for development.

In my next blogs I intend to further elaborate on E3 framework and it’s building blocks and how them impact in real ground situations in Telecenter Sustainability.

Niranjan Meegammana
http://www.shilpasayura.org

“Truth is what stands the test of experience.”
-Albert Einstein

22 Jul 2009

නවගොවියා - ICT 4 Modern Agriculture ප්‍රධාන මං සලකුණක් !

නවගොවියා ව්‍යාපෘතියේ එක් ප්‍රධාන මං සලකුණක් තමා නැණසළ ක්‍රියාකරුවන්, කෘෂිකර්ම ගුරුවරුන් හා දක්‍ෂ ගොවීන් 100 ක් එකතුකර දින හතරක් පුරා පැවැත්වූ e-Agriculture පිළිබඳව දැනුවත් කිරීමේ වැඩමුළුව.



පේරාදෙණිය විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේ මහාචාර්ය බුද්ධි මාරඹේ ප්‍රමූඛ කෘෂිකර්ම පීඨයේ ආචාර්ය මණ්ඩලය තමා තිරසාර හා ආර්ථිකව සපලදායී කෘෂිකර්මය පිළිබඳව නවගොවියා මූලික පාඨමාලාව සැකසූවේ. සිංහල හා දෙමළ භාෂාවෙන් නිමාව නැණසළ මගින් ගොවින් වෙත ලඟාවන නවගොවියාගේ අරමුණ සිංහල හා දෙමළ භාෂාවෙන් e Learning තුලින් ගොවීන්ට නවීන දැනුම ලබාදීම.

කාලයක් තිස්සේ මාත් ගොවි තානාපති වසන්ත දුග්ගන්නාරාළත් එක්වී කළ මේ ව්‍යාපෘතිය අප හැමට අළුත්ම අත්දැකීමක්. විශේෂයෙන් නැණසළේ තරුණ ක්‍රියාකරුවන්ගේ සහයෙන් ග්‍රාමීය කෘෂිකර්මය නංවාලීමටත්, නැණසළ හා තොරතුරු තාක්‍ෂණය ගොවීන් අතර ජනප්‍රිය කරවීමටත් නවගොවියා උදවි වේවි. නුදුරු කාලයේදීම නවගොවියා අන්තර්ජාලයේ නිදහස් වෙනවා.

නවගොවියා ICTA e-SDI සහයෙන් CIC Agribusiness, efusion, Peradeniya University, Nenasala, Shilpa Sayura සහ තවත් විද්වතුන් එක්කළ ව්‍යාපෘතියක්. ගොවියන් හට විශ්ව විද්‍යාල හරහා නවීන කෘෂිකර්ම දැනුම ලබාදීමෙන් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කෘෂිකර්මය තිරසාර සහ ආර්ථිකව සපලදායී කරවීමට දායක වීම සතුටක්.

ගොවීන්හට ඉහළම දැනුම ලබාගැනීමට තිබෙන පහසුකම් අඩුයි. වසර පණහක් ගොවිතැන් කළත් ගොවීන්ට පිළිගත් සහතිකයක් නෑ. මාස තුනක "නවීන කෘෂිකර්මය" පිළිබඳ පදනම් පාඨමාලාවක් (Foundation Course) ලෙසින් මෙය සංවර්ධනය කිරීමෙන් ඒ සඳහා මුල්වන්නට අපට පුළුවන්.

පාරිසරික සමතුලිත තාවය හා ආහාර සුරක්‍ෂිතභාවය සඳහා තිරසාර කෘෂිකර්මය ඉතා වැදගත්. ඒ සමඟම බලශක්ති අර්බුදයටද නවීන කෘෂිකාර්මික පිළියම් තිබෙනවා. ඒ සඳහා ග්‍රාමීය ප්‍රජාව යොමුකරවීමද නවගොවියා දීර්ගකාලීන අරමුණක්.


නිරංජන් මීගම්මන
ශිල්පසයුර සහ නවගොවියා
http://www.shilpasayura.org/

Navagoviya – e learning for farmers through Telecenters

Navagoviya - ICT for Modern Agriculture Project is a Public, Private Community Collaborative in Sri Lanka to develop farmers, providing local language e learning courses in modern Agriculture. The project aims to develop new farmers who would popularize modern farming knowledge in rural communities and encourage sustainable agriculture practices using appropriate technology and practices.



As a Telecenter based e-Agriculture initiative, Navagoviya aimed at developing new breed of farmers who would be motivated to transform traditional farming practices into sustainable agriculture with a greater concern for environment sustainability. Navagoviya implemented by CIC Agribusiness with ICTA e-SDI partnership assistance grant of Rs. 4.5m, partnering with University of Peradeniya, Nenasala Telecenters, e Fusion and Shilpa Sayura.

The 587 inter connected Nenasala Tele Center Network established in rural communities is a great potential as a Modern Agriculture Knowledge Center. The project has produced electronic content and an e Learning website for farmers to acquire Modern Farming Knowledge in local language. A group of Telecenter Leaders are being trained as e learning facilitators for the first foundation course in Modern Agriculture.



Speaking at the workshop held from July 17-20, in Kandy to train Nenasala operators on e-Agriculture, Professor Buddhi Marambe, Dean of Agriculture Faculty, University of Peradeniya said "This course designed as the foundation in modern agriculture with concerns for environment, economy and food security and provide a base for future agriculture education."

"Navagovia.org will go live in mid August as one of the most innovative projects implemented in Sri Lanka for modern agriculture development in rural communities" says project director Wasantha Duggannarala.

”This is real good product and opportunity for us to expand Nenasala services to farmers offering e learning in modern agriculture course” Thaminda Balasooriya Nenasala Operator said. Chathuri, A female Nenasala operator from Polonnaruwa said “We can develop female farmers to improve their home gardening with Navagoviya”. All Nenasala operators, Teachers, Farmers took part in the training expressed their deepest satisfaction for the 4 day course on e-Agriculture. They were able to learning something new, exchange knowledge and learn from best Agriculture Experts in the country. It was also an event for bridging gaps and leveling the ground.

Rural farmers had constraints accessing modern knowledge and the learned community advice to develop their agriculture practices. Navagoviya provides content, linkages and e learning connecting farmers to highest knowledge sources through Telecenters. It's a development of both ends to share knowledge to develop sustainable farming in Sri Lanka. Navagoviya makes it possible for rural farmers use e learning to develop their farming practices as the content available in Sinhala and Tamil Languages.

Designed to suit needs of Farmers, Students, Women and public officials; Navagoviya uses an online platform developed by e fusion to deliver 24 modules course in modern Agriculture. The content is also supplemented by video lectures, field trips and in-farm training, Telecenter based group discussions to adapt learning local needs, an expert panel will assist learners online, therefore go beyond internet only e learning.and most importantly, the vision of Nenasala Telecenters to be a rural knowledge development center, is now becoming true in Sri Lanka with Navagoviya - ICT 4 Modern Agriculture Project.

Niranjan Meegammana
Team Leader
Navagoviya Project
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Colombo Sri Lanka

http://www.navagoviya.org
http://www.shilpasayura.org


Slide Show of Project Activities

26 Jun 2009


නැණසළට බ්ලොග් එකක් කියන්නේ මොකද්ද කියා කියාදෙන්න හදපු සිත් සටහන, සිංහල යුනිකෝඩ් ගැන ලියලා උණුසුම් උනා‍. ගැටුම් අතෑරලා පසුව සීරියස් ලෙස ලිවීමෙන් හුඟක් දේ දැනගත්තා. මේ අනුව මා සිටින නැණසළ (Telecenter)ක්‍ෂේත්‍රය ගැන ලෝක ප්‍රජාව සමග අදහස් හුවමාරු කරගැනීමට blogging හේතු උනා. ලෝකයේ පූමුඛ නැණසළ සංගමයේ Telecentre.org එකේ තිබූ Blogging Contest එකට ලිවිවේ දිනන්නම නෙමේ. Top 10 ඇතුලට ලංකාව ගෙන එන්න.

http://www.telecentre.org/profiles/blogs/the-blog-contest-results

මේ ජයග්‍රහණය වැදගත් මට වඩා ශිල්ප සයුරටයි. එහි නියැලී ඉන්න අයට දිගටම එහි ඉන්න ශක්තිය ම්න් ලැබෙනවා. අපේ රට ලෝකයේ දියූණු රටවල් සමග තරඟ කිරීමේ හැකියාව මින් පෙනීමෙන් තවත් අය උනන්දු වෙනවා. විශේෂයෙන්ම නැණසළ වල ශිල්ප සයුර කරන පොඩි එවුන්, ක්‍රියාකරුවන්. ඒ සමගම සමහර වැහුණු දොරවල් අරින්න මේ ලිපිය හේතු වෙයි.

එදත් අදත් අපේ ජීවිතේ ප්‍රධානම අංගය අපේ රට. ඒකට අපි තෝරාගත්තේ භාෂාව සහ තාක්‍ෂණය,දැන් අධ්‍යාපනය හා ගම්මාන සංවර්ධනයත් එකතුවෙලා. ශිල්ප සයුර හා නැණසළ දැන් ජීවිතේට බද්ධ වෙලා. ආපහු නගරයට එන්න බැරිතරමට ගම්මාන අපිව වෙලාගෙන. මේ සිත්සටහන ලියවුනේ එහෙමයි. එය ආත්ම ප්‍රකාශණයක් වගේම සාමුහික ක්‍රියාවක සටහනක්. ඒ නිසා අන්තර්ගතය අගය ඉහලයි. මා English භාෂාවේ දන්නා ව්‍යාකරණ හරඹද මීට භාවිතා කලා, (language and Style). ඒ සමගම සෑහෙන වාරයක් සංස්කරණය කළා. අන්තර්ජාලයේ Blog Masters ලා ලිවූ ඔවදන්ද කියවූ මට විශ්වකුමාරත් මට හොඳ feedback දුන්නා. ඒ නිසා හොඳට ලියවුනා. සාමාන්‍යයෙන් Blog ලිවීම හා තරඟයකට ලිවීමේ වෙනස හඳුනාගන ලිවීම මේ තරඟයේදී උදව්වුනා. මේකත් සාමුහික ජයග්‍රහණයක්.

ඔබ මේ සිත් සටහන කියවූවොත් තව බොහෝ දේ වටහා ගනී.

http://telecentrecommunity.ning.com/profiles/blogs/how-shilpa-sayura-became-a

මට මේ ජයග්‍රහණය වැදගත් සිංහල විතරක් දැනගන A/L වලින් එලියට ආ මම ලෝකය සමග English රචනා ලියා දීනු බව දැනගත් අපේ සීයා ලද සන්තෝෂයයි. ඒ නිසා දැන් හොඳට ඉංග්‍රීසි පාස් කියා හිතන්න පුලුවන්. කාලයක් ගතචුනත් Blogging කීට අවස්ථාවේ සිට ලෝක මට්ටමට ඒම නරකද?

සුබ පතන සියලුම blog මිතුරන්ට ස්තූතියි.

විශේෂයෙන්ම සිංහල Bloggers සමූහයේ ඇගයීමට පාත්‍රවීම සතුටක්.
http://groups.google.com/group/sinhala-bloggers/browse_thread/thread/64eae2c13d693ec2/298a43e62222f2bd?hl=en#298a43e62222f2bd

සමපූර්ණ විස්තරය

නිරංජන් මීගම්මන
http://www.shilpasayura.org/
http://www.kaputa.com/

18 Jun 2009

Technology alone will not bridge knowledge divides

Technology alone will not bridge knowledge divides

UNESCO’s concept of knowledge societies
inclusiveness,
pluralism,
equity,
openness
participation

knowledge societies should not be shaped and driven by technological forces but by societal choices

The concept includes four key principles
freedom of expression
universal access to information and knowledge
respect for cultural and linguistic diversity
quality education for all

remain valid when the world is going through one of its most serious crises since decades, if not centuries

Government leaders increasingly recognize the fact that investments in the large and complex knowledge domains are critical to laying the foundation for recovery, sustainable development, economic growth and prosperity

http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=28757&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

5 Jun 2009

ශිල්ප සයුරේ සාර්ථකත්වය නම් එහි බැඳුනු සහයක ප්‍රජාවයි

ශිල්පසයුර වි්‍යාපෘතියේ සාර්ථකත්වය


ශිල්පසයුර වි්‍යාපෘති අධ්‍යක්ෂ
නිරංජන් මීගමිමන මහතා අතුළු,
නැණසල ජාලය වටා බැදුණු සියළු මහත්ම මහත්මීන් හට ඉතා සතුටින් දැනුම් දෙමි


ඔබ තුමන්ලාගේ සියළු මගපෙන්වීම් දැනුවත් කරීම් මතින් එකª සිසුවෙක්වත් නොමැතිව අකී‍්‍රයව වැසීගිය මාගේ නැණසල වන පොළොන්නරුව, මැදිරිගිරිය විජයපුර ශී‍්‍ර ආනන්ද විද්‍යා නිකේතන නැණසල - මාගේ වෑයම හා උත්සාහය තුළින් කී‍්‍රයාකාරී තත්වයට මාස 1 1/2 ක් වැන් කෙටි කාලයක් තුුළදී සිසුන් 100කට අදික පිරිසක් සමග පරිගණක තාක්ෂණ දැනුම බෙදා දීමට හැකි ශිල්පසයුරක්ම කරගැනීමට හැකි වීම ගැන මම ඉතා සතුටින් හා ආඩම්බරයෙන් දැනුම් දෙමි.

අල්ප නැණසල පහසුකම් තුළදී (ආයතනය සතුවන්නේ පරිගණක යන්ත‍්‍ර 4ක් පමණි* ඔබ තුමන්ලාගේ ශිල්පසයුරට දැක්වූ කැපවීම උනන්දුව ඉතා සාර්ථකයි, ඔබ තුමන්ලාගෙ මගපෙන්වීම් දැනුවත් කරීම් මතින් මා හට ශිල්පසයුරට ලබාදුන් සිසුන් 100 ඉලක්කයද කිසිම අභියෝගයක් නොමැතිව එම ඉලක්කය අභිමවා ගොස් අප නැණසලේ ආදායම් තත්වයද ඉහල නන්වා ගැනීමට හැකී වු බව සතුටින් දැනුම් දෙමි’. ඒ තුළින් මාගේ ණැනසල දියුණුතත්වයට ගෙනගොස් හොද සේවාවක් සිසුන්ට ලබා දීමට මා උත්සාහ කරමි මේ සදහා තවද උපදෙස් හා මගපෙන්වීම් ලබා දෙන මෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිමි. සියළු දෙනාහට ස්තූතිය හදපිරි සතුටින් ප‍්‍රකාශ කරමි.


මෙයට
කි‍්‍රශාන්ති ජයලත්
ශී‍්‍ර ආනන්ද විද්‍යා නිකේතන නැණසල
විජයපුර
දියසෙන්පුර

http://shilpasayura.ning.com/profile/KrishanthiJalath


ශිල්ප සයුරේ සාර්ථකත්වය නම් එහි බැඳුනු සහයක ප්‍රජාවයි.

29 May 2009

How Shilpa Sayura became a Telecenter Sustainability Tool in Sri Lanka

We just finished implementing Shilpa Sayura in 150th Nenasala in Sri Lanka. Thanks to the hard work by many people during last four years; Shilpa Sayura, The Local Language e Learning System, now has become a sustainability tool in Nenasala Telecenters of Sri Lanka. I think it's an e-Sri Lanka, Nenasala, ICTA e-SDI, e fusion as well as a Global Telecenter and ICT4D success to be told again and again.



First I must reveal the secret of how Shilpa Sayura idea was emerged?

My children missed my assistance in their school work as I had to work away from my rural home and I was never fond of external tuition as a solution for two reasons;

1. Tuition fees were too expensive for me.
2. It produces people with less individual skills.

In 2004, My wife Yamuna and I were not happy when our daughter became 33rd in the class. I felt responsible and decided do something. As a web master, I spend lot of time on internet. I started collecting educational information for my children. It simply started working; My children liked the content and began to improve. Soon my collection became over 1 GB; My children called it "ency" and I learned that e content and self learning could be the way forward for children having educational problems.



Then came the ICTA e-Society Development funding opportunity for innovative ICT4D ideas and solutions. Having come from rural communities, we all knew what it means to have access to "Good education". We decided to focus on the burning problem of education in rural Sri Lanka. By that time we were involved in research and development of local language technologies for community (www.kaputa.com) and for government (www.gov.lk) needs.

In our preliminary research, We learned that in rural Sri Lanka more than 51.8% of children fail in Ordinary Level examination due to lack of teachers and educational resources. Furthermore, communication, transport, energy and poverty were their key challenges in accessing better education. This resulted large number of early school drop-offs; and they were deprived of opportunities in life for better employment and higher education essential to face challenges in the 21st Century.

We saw the opportunity made available with The Nenasala Telecenters set up Island wide by ICTA. Our research on Nenasala found that they were facing a critical sustainability risks due to lack of local content to attract the community. Our team brainstormed days to design Shilpa Sayura. e Learning, National Curriculum, Local Language, Self learning, Telecenters and Sustainability were our prime keywords to make a winning proposal to ICTA. A grant of USD 50,000 was lot of money to make Shilpa Sayura .

We started from scratch as our language problems were unique. We developed a local language e learning software and content. We were inspired by the support we got. We were committed and dynamically changed from what we learned and continuously improved Shilpa Sayura. We can't exactly count the number of stakeholders involved. The small team grew big as we shared the project. The Teachers, professionals, Telecenter operators, parents, students, rural communities, friends, ICTA and many others should be credited for Shilpa Sayura success.

Our efforts were paid-off. Shilpa Sayura became ICTA e-Society flagship project. During last 3 years, Shilpa Sayura has created thousands of small and big success stories enough to write a book. Shilpa Sayura made Nenasala reach rural children providing a practical solution to their educational problems and developed Telecenter operators to become local, regional and national champions; Finally brought Sri Lanka fame wining several global ICT4D awards.

Most importantly, Shilpa Sayura has changed lives of thousands of rural children; It helped them to come up in life and helped sustaining Nenasala; Now Shilpa Sayura expands island wide replicating in 150 Telecenter is making more impact than expected.

Personally, I am also benefited as my daughter Poornima, taking O/L exam this year, has emerged among the best students in the class by improving her average marks to 92.4. It is a measurable Shilpa Sayura impact. So I am well paid off.

Now, Shilpa Sayura has become a tool to make Telecenters sustainable by offering National Curriculum in local language for self and group e learning services. It has become a binding thread to network telecenters. Shilpa Sayura assisted by ICTA, has just begun our new journey to change the Telecenter movement in Sri Lanka. We are not Looking back, It's only future that we think of. There are over 450 more Nenasala Telecenters needing us to reach them.

With the war stopped; The North and East of Sri Lanka are now awakening with new hopes and beliefs. We all have a duty to perform to re-build our Nation by creating an enabling environment for National reconciliation. As our contribution, we have initiated developing the Tamil Version of Shilpa Sayura to empower all communities with the right to learn; and to contribute proactively in Nation building process.

As we feel today, Shilpa Sayura has become a tool for Telecenter Sustainability and a common thread of binding the Nenasala Telecenter Network of Sri Lanka. Shilpa Sayura success is blended with its meaning "The Sea of Knowledge"; open, deep, local and shared across the world.



Niranjan Meegammana
Shilpa Sayura Foundation
http://www.shilpasayura.org