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Information and Communication Technology for for Development

Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Members: 76
Latest Activity: Sep 17

Discussion Forum

Two Great Opportunities to join Dialog’s ICT4D Team

Started by Sameera Wijerathna Aug 26, 2011.

The Role of a Telecentre in Poverty Alleviation 5 Replies

Started by Sameera Wijerathna. Last reply by Sameera Wijerathna Jul 26, 2010.

ICT4D – Digital Educational Platform – learn anywhere anytime

Guru will revolutionize the distance education in Sri Lanka - learn anywhere anytime
Children go online for various reasons, but most of the time those reasons do not add any value for those who go online. But they can’t be blamed for just wasting time, money and international bandwidth as they are digital consumers with very little choice. has been launched as a solution to the dearth of enriching educational online content here in Sri Lanka. System is open for anyone who wants to learn and users can pay for the services they consume through Dialog “Add to Bill”, eZ Cash or Credit Cards.

Current focus is on Ordinary Level (O/L) examination and students can register for following courses by just visiting sending a SMS with course code to 445.

Medium Conducted
Daily Rental
Monthly Rental
Spin Bowling by Rangana Herath
LKR 04.00
LKR 240.00
O/L Science Revision
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L Maths Revision
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L English Revision
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L Art
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L Sinhala
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L History
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L Tamil
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L Business & Accounting Studies Revision
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L History Revision
LKR 03.00
LKR 100.00
O/L IT Fitness Test
One-time LKR 50.00


Nenasa TV Launches Two New Educational Channels

Nenasa TV, the satellite based television channel developed to bridge the education gap between urban and rural Sri Lanka took a bold new leap today with the launch of two channels covering Grade 10 and Grade 11 curriculum respectively in the presence of Hon. President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Tangalle Ruhunu Wijayaba National School. Based upon the content developed by the National Institute of Education (NIE) under the direction of the  Ministry of Education (MoE) which has so far connected over 2000 schools, “Nenasa” will provide these new channels initially to 1000 “Mahindodaya” schools.

The Nenasa programme was developed under the Mahinda Chinthanaya education plan to address the disparity of access to knowledge between urban and rural Sri Lanka through ICT (Information Communication Technology). Dialog Television, a satellite-based broadcaster, is a subsidiary of Dialog Axiata.  A satellite based system has almost no geographical limitations to deliver crystal clear content from the heavens, making it an ideal medium to deliver distance learning across the island.

Launched in 2009, the programme has so far gone on to connect over 2000 schools and future plans will encompass many more schools.

The state of the art satellite based distance education programme is operated by the Ministry of Education, while a high quality telecast edition of the national education curriculum for Ordinary Level students is developed by the National Institute of Education (NIE). The content is currently developed in Sinhala medium. The developed curriculum is transmitted to the rural school network via Dialog Television.

Hong Kong ICT4D PhD Fellowship Scheme

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)

Graduate students and practitioner with evidence of academic excellence, research ability, good communication skills, and interest in pursuing their dissertation in the field of social entrepreneurship and ICT for development are invited to apply for Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme.

The Fellowship provides monthly stipend of HK$20,000 and travel allowance of HK$10,000 per year. In addition, each awardee will also enjoy tuition fees waiver for a maximum of three years.

Hong Kong serves as an excellent hub to access China, South-East- and South-Asia, dynamic social innovations space. To understand how social entrepreneurship is helping solve social issues, PolyU has recently established three centers: Sustainability Research Management Center; Design Institute for Social Innovation; and Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development.

For additional information on PhD fellowship see (

For any clarification about application process: contact Ms Martha Hui (

For information on ongoing research projects on social entrepreneurship: contact Dr. Israr Qureshi (



Mobile Phones in Prisons

The ‘Census of Population and Housing 2011’, the 14thNational Census of Sri Lanka was completed in 2009/2010 and the enumeration stage of the census was carried out in February‐March 2012. As per its findings Sri Lanka had 20.2 million population at the end of 2011. Also the latest statistics released by TRC shows that Sri Lanka has 19.6m Mobile Subscribers, resulting 95.1% penetration by September 2012 (probably with the assumption that population has increased by 0.4m during 2012). Anyway it shows how widely mobile phones have spread within the society. A recent article by CNN covered how mobile phones are being taken in to the prisons and used by prisoners.

A mobile phone and a hands free kit are seen in an X-ray of a Sri Lankan prisoner (Photo courtesy of CNN)

58-year-old G. Siripala, a Sri Lankan prisoner serving a 10-year sentence for theft, was escorted by armed prison officials to Colombo's National Hospital with severe back pain, doctors rushed him for an X-ray. Doctors thought he might have orthopaedic complications, a source familiar with the matter. "But the X-ray showed a cell phone and two hands-free kits." Medical staff prepared to carry out a surgical procedure on the prisoner, the source said.

"However, the man said 'Sir, sir, please give me a moment.' He coughed, wriggled, shrugged his muscles and the items fell on the ground," the source said.

The awkward incident reveals how Sri Lanka's prison officials discovered the latest round of phone smuggling into the high security Welikade Prison, in the northern sector of the capital, Colombo. The prisoner explained his situation to the doctors, recounting how had been chatting on the cell phone with a relative when prison officials carried out a surprise check on his ward, the source said.

"He had no place to hide it. So he thrust it in his rectum together with the two hands-free kits," he said of the prisoner. At nighttime, to avoid detection, the prisoners cover themselves with a bed sheet, hide the phone near the body and use the hands free kit, the source added. Siripala's undoing came when the person he had been speaking to rang back. The ringing tone came from his back and prison officials grabbed him, the source said. Smuggling of cell phones into prison is an all-too-common occurrence, forcing prison officers to use hand-held detectors, Commissioner General of Prisons P.W. Kodippili told.

"Most prisoners, particularly when they are taken to courts for cases, return with mobile phones given by outside parties. We have minimized the problem and are on the alert and catch them when they come in," said Kodippili, who is in charge of all of Sri Lanka's prisons.

Kodippili said jammers have been installed in prisons. However, one mobile phone operator had a tower near Welikade Prison and this was causing a technical glitch. Sources had revealed that some prisoner carryout finical transactions using mobile phones. Anyway all those would not be possible once authorities introduce body and parcel scanners very soon.

(based on a news article released by CNN)

Dialog 5 Star Partner - Mobile for Development (m4D)

5 Star Partner Hoarding in Ampara Town (Eastern Sri Lanka)

Dialog Axiata’s “5 Star Partner” programme extends the company’s reach to customers in rural areas by way of “Infomediaries” – Information Intermediaries. This exclusive corps of highly trained and carefully selected independent rural entrepreneurs enables Dialog to improve customers’ lives by reducing costs and delays in accessing services, as well as by opening up access to life-enhancing mobile services many currently do not fully utilize.

Dialog Infomediary Initiative (DII) – under the theme of Inclusive Business (IB), Dialog Axiata PLC has developed a robust business case to empower communities at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) and is desirous of establishing a Social Enterprise Retail Network through an initiative known as “Dialog 5 Star Partner” to bridge the last-mile in its downstream value chain. The envisaged 5 Star Network is to build an innovative and non-traditional ‘Infomediary Network’ that relies on social entrepreneurs (information intermediaries) to reach consumers at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).

5 Star Partners receive significant investment and support from Dialog to position them as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) or to be specific, Mobile for Development (m4D) ambassadors in their villages. Dialog is working towards placing 1000 "5 Star Partners" across rural Sri Lanka within 2012 with the support of International Finance Corporation (IFC) and GSM Association (GSMA). A third of all 5 Star Partners are located in the North and East of the country which were worst-affected by civil conflict, and where Dialog was the first MNO to re-establish coverage.

Dialog acknowledges that communities that are segmented at varying levels of e-readiness require creative business models to reach each segment effectively. Low income communities that are geographically isolated display lowest levels of e-readiness and are at the receiving end of the Digital Divide continuum. To date Dialog has made significant progress in fulfilling the various components of the "5 Star" ecosystem and is currently poised to roll out a trial "5 Star Partner Initiative" encompassing 1000 tier three retailers equally distributed across Sri Lanka. Dialog has invested resources in building complementary services such as Rural Value Added Services (VAS) and charging mechanisms to serve the needs of the poor through the 5 Star Partner network.


Comment Wall

Comment by Niranjan Meegammana on February 22, 2009 at 12:17am
bridging gaps is ICD4D is all about, becase ICTs can penetrate through barriers to bring people hope. Governments fostering of ICT4D initiatives will make government commitment to serve such people. Nenasala Telecenter Network is an evidence of such activity.
Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on April 22, 2009 at 9:41pm
Sorry, I was bit away from the Hoping to start a new thread of discussion soon.
Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on April 22, 2009 at 9:46pm
Welcome the new members who joined the ICT4D group recently.

Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on May 5, 2009 at 9:53pm
see the discussion above

Can Telecenters become Disaster Early Warning Centers?

Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on June 3, 2009 at 10:08pm
Welcome !

Mohammad Lutful Kabir and Nkiru Banjoko to the ICT4D group.

hope you too will share your knowledge here.


Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on June 8, 2009 at 10:10pm
How Corporate America Really Views Africa
[The Conversation Behind Closed Doors]

It is always good to know the attitude of U.S. investors on Asia and Africa, where most of the poor people live in the world.

Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent after Asia, with a population nearing 1 billion. It accounts for 14% of the world’s population. More than 1000 languages are spoken across its 53 countries. In addition, Africa covers 20% of the world’s total land area and contains about 30% of its mineral reserves.

A qualitative survey was conducted by Baird’s CMC in partnership with U.S. Chamber of commerce with a group of 30 leading U.S. multinational corporations from which majority were among the U.S. Fortune 100 corporations. Following are some of the industries represented in the survey;

Agribusiness, Information and Communication Technology (ICT)Infrastructure, Media

The survey could reveal five main factors that influence the decision of U.S. corporations to invest in Africa;

Rule of law - rule of law does not prevail
Attraction - no sufficiently large middle class
Risk versus rewards - risk adjusted ROI
Supportive business framework - infrastructure ?
A welcoming environment - education and health of workforce

Going forward, how can Africa attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)? Can they follow Asia?

Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on June 16, 2009 at 10:04pm

Mobile Phones or Computers

what would be more effective in ICT4D?

Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on July 7, 2009 at 10:10pm

The costs of the mobile phones are ever decreasing and the affordability is increasing. So many people including the poor in Asia, Africa and Latin America can afford to buy a mobile phone for the fraction of a price of a computer. The mobile penetration is extremely high even in the bottom of the pyramid.

A mobile phone will be in the hand of the poor before they get their own PC. So is not it more prudent to focus on mobile phones than PCs in ICT4D related works?

Comment by Jan Herder on August 10, 2009 at 1:26am
Hello Sameera, thank you for your prompt. While there are clearly advantages to the use of mobile phones for certain types of ICT capacity transfer, there can't be meaningful content creation or access to detail on the tiny screens and keyboards. One use I have been exploring is to use the cell phone as a modem to access the internet, and plug the phone into a wireless router and a PC. With the explosion of netbooks and other inexpensive laptops it is possible to set up a telecenter at a fraction of the cost even a year ago. As 3G and 4G platforms become more common to phone service providers this opportunity is getting more affordable. Coupled with wifi and mifi a remote telecenter can be set up anywhere there is cell phone service. This combination offers an opportunity to vastly expand the uses of mobile phone for ICT4 Emergent Development, allowing users to create content. And this is where to look for wealth being created-- alongside of the local content.
I know this has been a practice in Africa for some time. I wonder if anyone has experience setting up this type of telecenter?

Comment by Sameera Wijerathna on August 10, 2009 at 8:09pm
Thanks Jan.

Yes, there are some limitations with mobile phones. But considering the cost effectiveness and reach (dispersion) it is an great channel to reach millions of people than the PC. So we have to be bit innovative while preparing suitable contents for mobile phones.

Other aspect you raised is the ability of using it as a modem. Thanks to 3G we can get mobile broadband. I have not seen many examples. But recently I saw a mobile telecentre here in Sri Lanka which is powered by mobile broadband (3G)



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