Global knowledge to the village in Sri Lanka

July 27, 2007 | By | Reply More

Tele-centres are opening up communication-challenged areas in Sri Lanka. Rs. 6 million Two ladies experiencing the wonder of the Internet for the first time at Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka. package initiative to create 20 Internet ‘Nenasalas’ in the island nation, part of plan to create 1,000 centres by 2008.

The problems posed by domestic strife has not distracted Sri Lankans from trying to bridge their own ‘digital divide’ and opening up the more communication-challenged districts of the island-state to the advantages of the Internet.

Their goal of creating over 1,000 ‘Nenasalas’ rural knowledge centres, all equipped with Internet-enabled computers by 2008, received a minor boost recently when the Indian Government pitched in with a Rs.6-million package to sponsor 20 of these tele-centres “carefully selected to ensure maximum coverage.”

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Alok Prasad was on hand, recently with the Lankan President’s Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga, and the Minister of Irrigation, Ports and Aviation, Chamal Rajapaksa to inaugurate the first of these Nenasalas at Tissamaharama in the southern district of Hambantota.

In a special communication to The Hindu, S. Gavashkar, Project Manager with the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) the nodal agency for the island’s initiatives in harnessing IT for development explained that each Nenasala provides two to four PCs, with printers, web cameras and scanners.

Connectivity to the Internet is 128 kilobits per second or better and where no other communication is available; a Very Small Aperture Satellite Terminal is used. The motto emblazoned in each centre is: Vishwa denuma gamata in Sinhala and Ulaga arivu grammathirku in Tamil “global knowledge to the village.”

“Nearly 400 of these centres are already in operation. Most of them function in local temples, while local entrepreneurs are encouraged to create others,” Mr. Gavashkar added.

About two years ago Sri Lanka took up a crash mission to e-nable the interior districts, particularly in the South and North East, through the Internet and satellite technology.

It has partnered with global agencies such as and the Open Knowledge Network and also benefited from the multi-pronged initiatives of Sri Lanka’s largest non-governmental voluntary agency, Sarvodaya. In many aspects, the Nenasala concept is quite similar to Kerala’s Akshaya e-kendra scheme for e-literacy and rural e-commerce.

Category: ICT for Development, Knowledge for Development

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  1. Hi,

    Please note that there is a tiny error – the text indicates: Information and Communication Technology Authority of Sri Lanka (ICTA) but it actually is the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA).

    Would appreciate it very much if this could be corrected.

    Thanks and best regards,


    Nuzreth Jalaldeen
    Project Officer – Communications
    ICT Agency of Sri Lanka
    160/24, Kirimandala Mw., Col-5
    +94-11-2369099 to 100, ext 81

  2. Md. Arafatul Islam says:

    Dear Nuzzy,
    Thank you for marked a mistake. We have corrected it. Please keep in touch with Voice of South. It’s a blog platform for you people.


    Arafatul Islam
    Founder and Moderator

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