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

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.

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)

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.

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

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.


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.)


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.


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.

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.

ICTA, UVA Nenasala and E fusion RIT.

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,

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

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


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