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.

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!

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