18 Dec 2010

ශිල්ප සයුර ගැන පුංචි සිත් සටහනක්‌!

ශිල්ප සයුරට වසර 4 යි.



2006 නොවැම්බර් 15 වැනිදා අප කොළඹින් පිටත් උනේ ගමට අළුත් දෙයක් අරගන. අපි එනකන් සබරගමුවේ, මාතර, මොණරාගල සහ හම්බන්තොට නැණසළ 20ක් බලාගන හිටියා. ශිල්ප සයුර නැණසළවලට ගෙනියනකොට සිංහල යුනිකෝඩ් ගම්වල තිබුනේ නෑ. තිස්සමහාරාම ළමයි කළේ නාසා පිංතූර බලන එක. නැණසළ වල වයිරස් පිරිලා. නෙට්වර්ක් වැඩ කළේ නෑ. අපි ශිල්ප සයුර විතරක් නොවේ නැණසළට අලුත් තාක්‍ෂණයත්, නව බලාපොරොත්තු එකතු කළා. පුංචි වැඩසටහන් කරලා ගම නැණසළට එකතු කළා. අපේ කණ්ඩායමත් නැණසලත් එක්ක විශාල උනා. අපිත් හූඟක් දේ ඉගන ගත්තා, අඩුපාඩු හදාගන අපිත් වෙනස් උනා. ශිල්ප සයුරත් දිගටම දියුණු උනා. ශ්‍රී ලංකාව ලබාගත් ප්‍රථම, දෙවන හා තෙවන ජාත්‍යන්තර සම්මාන අපි ගෙන ආවා. අන්තර්ජාලයේ නොතිබුණ කණ්ඩියපිටවැව වගේ ගම් ගණනාවක් ගැන ලෝකය දැනගත්තේ අපි ඒ ගම් වලට ගියාම. වහලා තිබුණ නැණසළ ගණනාවක් නැවත විවෘත කරලා අති සාර්ථක මට්ටමට ඒම අපට සතුටක්. අපි ලබාගත්ත නිදහස් අධ්‍යාපනයටත් , 5 ශිශ්‍යත්වයටත්, ඉන් ලද ශිශ්‍යත්ව ආධාරයටත් දැන් ණය නැහැ කියලා හිතෙන එක සාධාරණ සතුටක්. හැමදාමත් නැණසළ දියුණුවත් ශිල්ප සයුරේ දියුණුවත එකට බැඳී තිබුනා.



ඒක තමා තොරතුරු තාක්‍ෂණයෙන් සංවර්ධනය කියලා අපිට තේරුණේ.
වෙනස් කම් තිබුණත් ගැටළු විසඳාගන එකට වැඩ කිරීම.

ශිල්ප සයුර ගමනේදී අපට හොඳ නරක හැම දෙයක්ම ලැබුනා. ගම්වල දෙමාපියන්ගෙන් ලැබුණු ආශිර්වාදයත්, නැණසළවල සහෝදර සහෝදරියන්ගෙන් ලද ශක්තියත්, ICTA ලද සහයෙනුත්, දේශීය විදේශීය පිළිගැනීමෙනුත් ලද පන්නරය අපට තිරසාර ලෙස මහපොළවේ පැළවෙන්නට අවස්ථාව ලබාදුන්නා.

ඒ අතීතය

මේ වර්ථමානය!

2010 දෙසැම්බර් මාසේ 21 වෙනිදා තායිලන්තයේදී එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ
මධ්‍යස්ථානයේ දී "සමාජ සංවර්ධනය සඳහා අනාගතයේ ලෝකයේ නැතුවම බැරි තොරතුරු හා සන්නිවේදන" සම්මන්ත්‍රණයේදී
ශිල්ප සයුර නිබන්ධනය ඉදිරිපත් කෙරෙනවා.

(Future Imperatives of Communication and Information for
Development and Social Change)

මාතෘකාව
Local language e learning at rural Telecentres -
An imperative of ICT for increasing access to education

http://www.jcconference.co.cc/.It

අප මේ ඉදිරිපත් කරන්නේ ඉ ශ්‍රී ලංකාවෙන් බිහිවූ ඉ සමාජයේ , නැණසළේ සහ සිංහල යුනිකෝඩ් සාර්ථකත්වයයි. ඒක අප කවුරුත් එකමුතුව කළ වැඩක් ලෙසයි අප සළකන්නේ. අප කළේ එය ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීමයි. අවුරුදු 5 ක ශිල්ප සයුරේ අත්දැකීම් ගැන මහාවංශය වගේ ලියන්න පුළුවන්. විශාල චරිත ගණනාවක්, සිදුවීම් සහිත රසවත් කථාවක් ඒක.

ශිල් සයුර ව ICT4D පර්යේෂණයක්!
අවුරුදු 4 ක මහ පොළවේ කළ මනා අත්හදා බැලීමක්
එය සාර්ථකයි!
ඒ අත්දැකීම චිශාලනය කරලා
අපේ රටේ ග්‍රාමීය අධ්‍යාපනයේ
ගැටළු විසඳාලීමෙන්
ලොකු වෙනසක් කරන්න
පුළුවන් කියලා අපට හිතෙන්නේ ඒකයි!

ඔබේ සහය ලැබේනම් අපට ඒක කරන්න පුළුවන්!

ශිල්ප සයුර 2011 දැන් අවසාන අදියරේ.
ජනවාරියේදී සූදානම්!

අනාගතය ගැන අනාවැකි කියන්න බැරි උනත්,
මේ දක්වා ශිල්ප සයුර තුලින් ගම්වල දුප්පත් සිසුන් ලබාගත් දියුණුව ගැන අපට සතුටුයි.

ඔබටත් මේ ගැන කියන්න යමක් ඇති.
අහන්න ආසයි අපටත් කියන්න.

http://www.shilpasayura.org
http://www.telecenter.lk



2007 Video

19 Nov 2010

The wastelands as economic alternatives




The vast chunks of wastelands and draught pro lands creates an economic alternative as biofuels production pockets in the country for biofuel development programs. UN Food and Agriculture Organisation recently published a major report on jatropha, lauding the crop’s “Potential for Pro-Poor Development” in many regions of the world with certain conditions, similar to those in Andhra Pradesh.




More

http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/not-all-biofuels-are-bad-a-rural-india-case/

14 Oct 2010

Economy and Eco Systems : A Tight Link

Ecosystems are indispensible for the survival of humans. if the biological diversity in our world is disappearing at this pace, we will soon eliminate the basis of our future existence and also the future economy. Hence it's essaintial that all stakeholders join hands and pool resources and efforts to protect global environment.



Economy and ecology are interdependent in each other hence a constant loss of biological diversity is major concern of business as it risks of increasing procurement costs, transportation costs. New government regulation and changing customer preferences also impact business. Bio-diversity is influenced with emotions and also innovation potential, hence offers businesses new opportunities and competitive adavantages.



Hence its important corporations take biodiversity management into their product planning and projects to ensure success in business while protecting biodiversity. The procument, production, marketing, sales and distribution, R & D and HR departments develop activities in sites and facilities, supply chains and material, prodcution and manufacturing processes and transport and logistics and personal which impact bio-diversity. Impact happen in bio-diversity are habitat change, Polution, climate change, invasive species, over exploitation. The business impacts are costs, brand vaue, prices, risk migitation and innovation. Combining thease impacts in a positive manner can help sustainable business development.





Using large amounts of energy, raw material, transport that emits carbaon, businesses impact heiavily on bio-diversity. The new constructions for office buildings, manufacturing facilities change habitats. If a wetland is used for a construction site, it will destroy the habitat and increse emitting of greenhouse gasses. Extracting rock from querries ploutes air and creates lung sickness among animals and humnas. Mutsui Sumitomo constructed a roof top garden of 7000 m2 in their corporate head quaters, in Tokyo.

Supply of raw materials and supply chain management need to incorporate bio-diversity ideas. large extraction of certiain material can change eco-system. Wood, Food, Fish, mineral industries need to re-consider their business practices. Product or service design need to reduce negative impacts on environment. This can be done increasing substituting, reducing and recycling options. . Positive effects can be created by using materials that contributes to the environmental conservation. Combining part of sales to a particular project is an idea.

Manufacturing emmits waste water, greenhouse gases and hazardous material that negatively impact biological diversity. The production processes needs to be optimized through improved process designs to reduce raw materials and energy needs, that reduce production costs. sustainable fish farms make less impact on environment than marine fishing.


Water is essential and scarce good. Rain water harwesting and storage in underground cisterns and collecting tanks, can reduce water required for manufacturing. A Brazilian organic sugar producer developed a new green production system, replacing traditional burnt cane harvesting which lead to biodiversity levels 23 times higher than in conventional sugarcane farms.

Transportation in business leads to the emission of greenhouse gases and dust and impact micro habitats. Increasing transportation may take invasive species to new habitats and displace native species. climate change also can modify behavior of species, reproduction, competitiveness and feeding relationships, leading to shifts of habitats.

The employees of the organisation need to train on bio diversity management to help their decision making. Their volunteering time help protect biological diversity in the neighbershoods. It can also strengthen business and employee identity. Fujitsu group staff take part in reforestation in Thailand, Borneo and in Vietnam. They have planted 1.18 million trees in 670 ha of land. Similarly there can be wide range of effects on bio-diversity and business success.


Reference : Hand Book of Bio Diversity Management

17 Sep 2010

Six : The Social Change With In

Having involved in Shlpa Sayura rural community education and Nava Goviya agriculture development through Telecentres, the purpose of taking part in SIX in the City, Summer School Workshop in Singapore, was to expand our horizon integrating climatic change into our work, so that we can enlarge the impact of our social innovation at grass roots.



The Lively workshop at Singapore Mangement University (SMU))


The SIX (Social Innovation eXchange) event not only enlarged my knowledge but created new insights expanding our vision into new approaches how climatic change could impact all areas of social-economic and environment development activities we are doing at grass root Telecentres.

The workshop was greatly engaging, bringing in social innovation knowledge from all parts of the world, covering enormous number of issues, solutions, experiences and future insights that initiated a change with in.

What I would take back
I will be going back to Sri Lanka, and energized to share my knowledge acquired with my colleagues, partners and rural communities who work and help us make impact innovations to create visible and measurable social change.

The new people I met from Singapore, Australia, Europe, America and Canada is great resource of knowledge and a valuable network to create global partnerships to future social innovations. They are also a new form of happy and committed people driven by passion for social change and feeling good about it.

Thanking Note
usually thanking is done in personal notes, but this time I make a little change to express my personal thoughts in a much open manner, it probably is a result of attending openICT4D conference and workshop in Ottawa. The list is big, I start with Lien Center Team, who found Shilpa Sayura and gave Shilpa Sayura a new Mission, Young Foundation who supported a great amount of knowledge to emerge from within, All members who accommodated and exchanged their knowledge, All speakers, moderators who kept the workshop a lively one. First time in my life I never felt sleepy during 3 days workshop sessions. It was like begining of an un-ending journey of new learning.



Off Grid Solar Power application in Marian Bay Gallery, Singapore

The change
Taking part in SIX in the City 2010, Singapore, a new change happened. They are many. However among the most prominent is to expand our focus also to include urban community in poverty alleviation, integration of green approaches to our ICT4D designs making it a ICT4GD (ICT for green development), and to have a global focus emerging from our local experiences. Among the new approaches we want to change into are collaborative innovations, designing for scale and spread, network centric innovative organization, urban inclusion, changing cities we live in, “rurbanization” , Non profit to Enterprise approaches, incorporating climatic change, global and regional partnerships are a few. This kind of insights was not available to us before in Sri Lanka. As an emerging nation after many years of social struggle, we can make use of these to help change our grass root initiatives, in small and little but effective ways both in 15000 villages, 26 cities and 150 towns. The challenge is to build a social innovators collaborative network of people and organizations with a new shared vision representing each level of the social entities of Communities, Govenment and Business to initiate a social change to address 21st century challenges that we are facing and survive in the catastrophes in time to come. One of the greatest lessons learned at SIX was “Go ahead and do it” .

It’s the core social change with in.



Rain water fed, vertical garden at Mariana bay Gallery, Singapore



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

12 Aug 2010

Impact of openness in grassroot empowerment



I witnessed this year Murali Krishna winning e-INDIA 2010 Award for best Telecentre initiative for the project AraviKalanjam e-SDI project he implemented. He was the youngest and probably represented smallest entity among award recipients. The goodness of the project is that it involved more than 500 students in a digital local language content competition. Many students who took part had not used ICT before. The project involved training, content creation be students and hosting. As I closely observed the project, Murali Krishna went through many challenges from beginning to end. He addressed his problems creating partnerships. His openness made partnerships work. Last moment he had to fly in business class to receive the award in Hyderabad. In my point of view Murali Represents the success of Sri Lanka Telecentres, a milestone of Sri Lanka ICT4D movement where an actual grass rooter reached helm though ICT4D.

Background
In 2006 I met Murali Krishna of Haldummulla Nenasala, a humble Telecentre operator and an energetic youth. He partnered with us to implement Shilpa Sayura pilot. Our partnership became strong during Regional Impact Team Assignment of Uva Province given by ICTA. We were able to create an open participatory platform called E3, where grass roots Telecentre operators could emerge as local leaders, develop them self, create impact in their communities and achieve heigher goals.

Our capacity building included a special training on project design and implementation. As a result 5 Telecentres were able to win grants from ICTA e-Society Development (e-SDI) initiative. We assisted in developing proposals, advised in implementation issues but they made the efforts for successfull completion and impact. The E3 development initiative we implemented in 60 Telecentres in Uva province helped developing many Telecentre champions finally won e-INDIA 2009 Award. Murali Krishna accepted the award together with me representing multi-stake holder partnership initiative of Uva Province Project E3 (RIT 2008/2009).

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

The case
The case of Murali Krishna is worthy of further study. What made his inspiration? What were the challenges faced and how they were overcome? It will help us to learn and knowledge we acquire can guide us to replicate and develop other grass root youth in similar way. I believe in this process openness in inclusion, collaboration and partnerships may have played a major part of development leading to this is a measurable Impact.

The significance of Murali Krishna’s award is that it shows how Telecentres can help developing of grass root youth leadership emergence and how they can reach higher goals to create benefits to the community around them and bring fame and recognition to the marginalized societies they represent. In this context our learning will definitely challenge theoretical development models we tend to follow, without knowing actutal possibilities and influencing us to change our approaches making development more open and inclusive reality.

So we can believe!
Telecentres can empower people throgh openness!


22 Jul 2010

Are local languages marginalized in ICT4D?


ICT4D has created a platform for people to be embraced in knowledge. When e Sri Lanka project initiated , it helped creating a community of people who contributed to local language technology development. Due to the differences of local scripts, technologies designed for roman script like languages (English) were not directly usable for local languages. The ICT4D path of local language is not easy. It's not simply a matter of money money. Commitment is important success factor. It took several years to convince Microsoft to include Sinhala Language support in WindowsThe popular databases still not do not index local languages properly. The support for local languages is not guaranteed when someone buys software. Shilpa Sayura a Local Lanaguge e Learning project started in 2005, just getting consolidated. This could be common issue in over thousands of local language used across the world.




It can be thought as "fair enough" to for the technological developments to focus on English language as it is widely spread around the world and has a bigger market. However countries like Sri Lanka 95% of the people are not English users. In numbers 15 million people do not use English. They don't understand the meaning of "Global warming" or "HIV AIDS" or "Women Empowerment". 9 out of 10 have no idea of Millennium Goals. In rural societies it could be 10 out of 10. The messages are not reaching the bottom of the pyramid.

In Sri Lanka we are proud to have 50% of the population is using mobile phones. Unfortunately people only talk and send SMSs in local words written in English characters. It's good for asking "How are you ?" like expressions, But can not be considered as a way of giving, sharing and tranfering of knowledge. 90% of people can't find about weather, bus or train schedules as information is not available in local languages. In the open source world there is no open source mobile browser that supports local languages. It is a major proprietary domain. For Nokia, a Langauge spoken by 15 million people is a tiny market. Someone may consider it as fair enough in a shrinking global economic environment. In a Disney movie a wonderfull character named Horton says "A person is a person no mater how small they are". I belive in it. How small a community is a community what ever language they use. It's belived that over 10,000 languages used in the World, But how many of them are represented in ICT?



If we make an on-line scan for ICT4D projects implemented during fast 5 years, how many of them targeted local languages communities is valuable question to answer. If ICT4D social investments have not benefitted local language users at the bottom of the pyramid; can we consider the our achievements as success of ICT4D? One major barrier in local language technologies development is that, a person who is able to communicate in English, no longer has local language concerns and the people who need it are not able to communicate in English to the global investment decision makers who don't understand local languages. In my opinion at least 90% of the people in bottom of the pyramid are excluded from knowledge revolution enabled by ICT4D due to local language issues. This is also one major drawback of telecentre sustainability efforts too. Local lanaguage technology and content initiatives lacks sustainable support. It's more than one time development. It's a continues process of upgrading as technologies change.

Developing ICT infrastructure will spread hardware and access but not essaintial knowledge needs to make the change. This problem is not visible at higher levels and the details of the ground zero is lost as it moves up in decision ladder and most things important to bottom of the pyramid is dropped or considered unimportant at the summit.

There is a major gap between marginalized societies using local languages and communities in developed world as they are not able to communicate due to language barrier. Therefore knowledge society seems to fade at language barriers and becomes different versions of an illusion from both ends. If development efforts really aimed at grass roots, we are unable to exclude grass root languages. It may not be easy to solve this problem single handed for global development investments work for poor people. If inclusion is the global development agenda, it must begin serving the local needs rather than global wants. This seems a hypothesis in my experiences.



Education, Agriculture, Health, Economy like areas of rural life can be improved by emphasizing on development of local language technologies and knowledge and make them open for sharing across the developing world. It's time to look at ICT4D more openly on cases what doesn't fit in box rather than selecting what fits in pre-designed boxes. It's the only way to use ICT4D to improve rural societies who are not benefited with top ten global languages. Hence new ICT4D ideas should take local language as a multiplying factor for opening the global development in an effective manner.

18 Jun 2010

References on Openness

Thripitaka

http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Tipitaka


In phylshopcal texts (Nagarjuna, Tripitaka)
http://books.google.ca/books?id=yCH7ueXrJowC&printsec=frontcover&dq=openness+tipitaka&source=bl&ots=_jDBD13SFV&sig=R36Rtn1KOkXxqEh4VoxQVVMkFBo&hl=en&ei=QJsaTMruA4mrcdPZrYcK&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCAQ6AEwBw

"Nagrjuna's more radical purification move renders purity and impurity
along with desires, actions, bodies, producers and products as like
dreams imirages," which are state of minds influencing openness. Nagajuna & Phyloshopy of Openness, Nancy McCagnecy, Rowma &
Liittlefield Publishers Inc., 1997

Openness is historically rooted from belief structures of human life
grounded on scale of values that are relative, personal and subjective.
Hence the task of developing openness requires opening ourselves as
fully as to unfold development issues and to celebrate infinite
possibilities.

The most basic open development requires addressing the bottom of
human suffering while not closing our selves for outside experiences
and locking with established concepts, judgments and norms which
limits the reality of outcome.

The school of openness influesence us to drop our discriminations,
judgments and restraints in order to immerse ourselves in the dynamic
flow of immediate experience, taking openness as an attitude towards
experience that arises from carefully though judgments.
In buddhism Openness is seen as an attitude of one's own mind its
reactions to external affairs, suggests diligent effort and acute
attentiveness with a note of moral caution and care.

Openness can enable new truth to emerge. Understanding others
involves openess towards what it seems rational, true or coherent
which may cover something deeply unfamilier.
Opneness may be discursed when somthing is blindly accepted
without putting the subject at the issue
.procession of thought, imagination and emotion
http://plato.stanford.edu/search/searcher.py

ideals of ‘Integration’ and ‘Openness' helps tools produced in open
development to use them in many different areas, including research,
education, and other knowledge-related industries and sciences.
education developmentwhy "education equips individuals with the skills and substantive knowledge that allows them to define and to pursuetheir own goals, and also allows them to participate in the life oftheir community as full-fledged, autonomous citizens." Stanford Encyclopedia of Phyloshopy, 2009

"education as transmission of knowledge versus fostering of inquiry
and reasoning skills that are conducive to the development of
autonomy" (SEP) creates a tension between conservative and
progressive education closely relating to human issues.
can education be used as a tool for social reform and an agent ofsocial change.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/education-philosophy/

About Wiki
Inclusiveness & More User Involvement:
Users get to take an active role in the web space. By the nature of a wiki, it opens up for people to edit, add, or erase any of the texts. This will make users feel as if they were a part of the community and continue using the website. Because of this openness, Wikipedia have more than two billion pages within five years, and we hope to succeed with this policy as well.

5 Apr 2010

Openness : A Platform for rural developmeht through Telecenter Networks?


There are over 600 Telecenters setup in Sri Lanka. In the world although no exact data available, at least 35000 Telecenters are expected to operate. The telecentre.org has over 1000 members world wide. International funding agencies like IDRC, World Bank , UNDP etc. and local NGOs, Government Agencies and private sector have been involved in setting up Telecentre infrastructure. We also see large number of e society projects done targeting telecenter based communities.


I see this whole thing as a development platform. A new methodology to change the world. If we look back last 5 years, we can see that a network of people , processes and infrastructure have been put together to develop Telecenter foundation which aims to change the world, specially the rural societies addressing their day to day issues with ICT. As Richard Heeks suggest, we have been using ICT as a tool for change, now our challenge is use ICT as a platform for development.

This creates a clear question of what is development as development seems to interpreted differently by different societies and people. I think development as concept of "Positive Change"

If we take a rural village as an example. Who and what sets their development vision? Do they decide it or someone external decide it? I think both angles are inevitable. The community has to decide on their needs, what if they lack information or have no idea of positive changes that can improve their lives? This is where external entities and experiences are useful to them. We have seen many NGOs operating in rural societies have not actually emerged from grass roots, most of them are external people who have more knowledge, resources, experiences and a concern. Sometimes we see this two groups work well as well as instances of conflicts.

Telecenters started as ideas of an external entity in most rural villages.The post offices, Libraries are similar. Through a long term value creation they have become day to day life resource for village people. What is the position of Telecenters in this regard ? Will Telecenters become a life resource for rural people or will it continue to be an external entity within village. This is the challenge we have now?

I see Telecentre networks as infrastructure, human and institutions hence If we think Telecenters as a platform for development

1. How such a platform can become a driver for positive change?
2. What changes we will want to make happen?
3. What will be the approaches making a change happen ?
4. How do we use Telecenters/networks to make the positive change happen?
5. What fundamental changes we need to enable 1-5.

These questions are not new, also there can be more questions added based on local, regional, national and global needs. How ever I think it's a good time to research what changes are needed in people, processes and infrastructure to use telecenters and their networks as a "development platform for positive change". As a start-up idea I like to suggest "more openness" at every level of development for increasing participation opportunities by wider social groups and entities. As this opening up definitely challenge already established structures and processes, there is an need of an open dialog on future development of Telecenters so that we are able to mitigate any risks and downsides of change.

What changes can we suggest at local, regional, national and global level ?
My next blog will follow on this topic..


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

13 Jan 2010

Is democracy a new pillar for Telecenter Development ?

Use of ICTs in Sri Lanka Democracy

It's Very interesting to see impact of ICT in Sri Lanka Democracy. Compared to 2000 and 2005 presidential Election, we see enlarged usage of alternative media like social networks, powered by ICTs and web 2.0. From the very start of the presidential race the major Two candidates President Mahinda Rajapaksa and General (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka have used ICTs for their campaign.

In one way we could say that e version of the campaign is providing more information from both sides with regards to Candidate suitability to be president 2010. There are official and un-official activities can be seen happening online and off line.




An Election Meeting - the usual Non ICT methods


Some examples
Both candidates have their official websites
http://www.mahinda2010.lk/ and http://www.sarathfonseka.com.

Use of local languages has taken importance and allows rural people to use Telecenters for obtaining election information. However we find that there is a lack of standards local languages use in e campaign. The development of local language technologies have been benefited the campaigning. We can find lankatruth.com, www.lankadeepa.lk, dinamina.lk, divaina.com like news sources using Sinhala Unicode effectively.

There are also un-official sites with content that provide inside information as well as exaggerated or false information with less reliability. Most of them are centered around election gossip, more like UK tabloids, sometimes more extreme in content; However an another reflection of people thoughts to have media freedom. Although questions media ethics, good for people to have access to all the views to make a decision.

http://www.sinhalablogs.com accumulates over 500 local language blogs and number of them involved with current election campaign. Number of them are anonymous. There are number of polls each one telling that the campaign is tough.

Youtube had been a very useful for candidates who who don't receive media coverage. As an example an Exclusive 2 hour interview of General Sarath Fonseka aired on Sirasa TV. I missed it but heard about this interview which had a quite an effect on his campaign. Next day the interview appeared in youtube as a volunteer had captured and posted it online, so many people could watch this interesting interview, including me. That makes a big difference to obtain media freedom from alternatives.

The facebook has become a major communication vehicles for General Sarath Fonseka campaign. Currently recording over 45000 fans. President Mahinda Rajpaksa supporters also use facebook heavily using several groups formed. We can see there is great deal of involvement of online election workers, where most of them work anonymous or false name basis. However there is a person or group behind every true or false message. so has some importance when bits and pieces are matched. For some people it's like a festival time.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa campaign used mobiles effectively, sending a January 1st early morning new year wish to all mobile users, for which some people offended saying there was no reply facility. Sartah fonseka campaign uses IVR response system where phone users can can dial a number and listen to his message. Mobile phone news, specially from facebook have become effective in the campaign of General Sarath Fonseka. http://www.lanka4sf.com is mobile enabled website which takes election campaigning to another dimension.

We can observe that President Rajapaksa started advertising in many community portals, facebook and google ads early stages. All major online news papers carry his campaign advertisement. www.lankatruth.com, www.news.lk (government) and many political parties like unp.lk, www.jvpsrilanka.com, www.sandanaya.lk are some examples. However with web 2.0 facebook, ning sites are more popular among people.

Referral SMS created by fans and election news seems to pass between friends and networks, can be seen as a strong medium used by supporters who are afraid to come out. Many people I talked in this research supporters of both major condidates. Most of the connected people used online information to make their decision.

The Manifistos of condidates are delivered online Gen. Sarath Fonseka was to fist to present his 10 principles\. President Mahinda Rajapaksa Manifesto will be available here I was able to read the e version before I even see the printed, which actually I will not need. Usually manifestos are not found after 1 years of an election. But president Mahinda Rajapaksa still maintains it in his personal website.
If ICT access is increased we can save large amount of paper and trees wasted in democratic processes.

The state and private media have taken up internet as an important vehicles for their campaign. Some TV and radio programs of state media also have been banned by election commissioner. The refferel emails, spams and direct emails, discussion forums as usual has increased tremendously. More than old days where people can listen to candidates, watch news live, but now ICTs are changing democracy space in Sri Lanka. ICTs have shown that they are superior over other media in impact and reach. ICTs have an increased capacity of campaign with the involvement of volunteer forces. Therefore it can be said that ICT can strengthen the democracy.

With more than 4 million voters living in rural communities are unconnected, in the presidential election the battle is really at village levels where 70% people live. Those who have access to ICTs are benefited with availability of information. The unconnected really at a disadvantage as they lack access to important decision that will change their lives. So telecenters need to come forward as independent media center for the rural societies to improve local level democracy. As the connected groups are mainly intellectuals, they help create fusion for change. Hence an important community, which includes Telecenters and their workers. The e-ASIA, Nenasala 2010 like events with the participation of the president is an indication of ICT4D in political processes. Hence what ever the outcome of Sri Lanka President election, ICTs for it's superior ability to reach contribute immensely in a swing of change.

For us, as researchers It's a question how this experiences can be made a new avenue of democracy facilitation and help Telecenter to improve life in rural societies ? How Telecenters are able to capitalize on emerging democracy needs of people at grass roots? What role Telecenters can play in helping to ensure democracy ? How can Telecenters use ICTs effectively to facilitate information freedom? What tools, methodologies and practices to be developed? Finally, How telecenters can can lead their local communities to help improve transparency, good governance and accountability and democratic processes of the governance?

Democracy leadership is a new pillar for Telecenter development to make a fair and just society.




How much people strive for democracy ?