1. ICT Policy last updated January 8, 2010, “Policy and Procedures for ICT Usage in Government (e-Government Policy). Written by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), published in English. This policy outlines the application of ICT4D for development via Sri Lanka’s government endeavors.
2. “e-Sri Lanka: Smart People Smart Island” ICTA
3. “e-Sri Lanka: Transforming a Nation through Information Communication Technology”. Published by ICTA in 2010. PDF linked article, “e-Society and Researching the Rural Poor through Tele/Knowledge Centers- Nensalas”. Project conducted through “e-Sri Lanka” involving installation of telecommunication centers throughout rural Sri Lanka and other ICT4D endeavors in the nation.
4. World Summit Award Article, World Summit Award: Smart e-Content for Smart People.
Kevin Donovan’s “ICT4E in India and South Asia- Sri Lankan Country Study.”
5. I found it very easy to find resources on Sri Lanka thanks to it’s extensively published e-policies online. Sri Lanka has partnered with the World Bank to create a well-developed “e-agenda” that has been a great success over the past 8 years, and is a good example of a nation working towards development through ICT4D successfully.
In the article we read this week for class, “Mobile Phones and Economic Development: Evidence From the Fishing Industry in India”, author Reuben Abraham discussed the impact of mobile phone technologies on developing rural populations in economic terms. While the distribution of mobile phone technologies in the Indian fishing industry did not yield spectacular results, the fact remains that mobile technologies allow for the improved dissemination of information in developing economies, and, as stated in the article “information is power”. One area where this aphorism rings especially true is in the new e-Policies of Sri Lanka, instituted in the early 2000’s- before the insertion of telecenters throughout the small island country, rural populations had very little access to information of any kind.
Now, there is technology information in place that allows anyone in possession of a mobile telephone or landline access to information from 77 government organizations in any of the country’s three main languages, Sinhala, Tamil, or English, simply by dialing 1919. This online “Government Information Center” is part of the e-Sri Lanka project, which is one of the first World Bank projects designed to bring ICT to “every village, citizen, and business, and transform the way the government thinks and works”. While there have been drastic increases in mobile phone use in the country since the implementation of this program in 2004, the government’s investment in “nensalas” or tele/knowledge centers has resulted in the most beneficial impact for the rural poor. Access to these telecenters has allowed for farmers, students, and small business owners in rural areas the ability to gain information for themselves, even without a mobile phone or landline.
The nensala (nen meaning knowledge, sala meaning shop), provides easy access to computer technology, the internet, and IT skills training, as well as basic telecommunications- these nensalas have greatly improved literacy rates, computer knowledge skills, and economic flow for Sri Lanka’s rural population through an investment in information access. The nensalas provide local radio broadcasts of market prices and crop/agricultural info to farmers, e-health and telemedicine facilities to rural patients, audio books for the visually impaired, and visual hearing aids for the hearing impaired, all through access to telecommunications and the online government services.