Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nenasala Sooriyawewa ( Telecentre Manager)

Nenasala Sooriyawewa ( Telecentre Manager)

·         Posted by G.A. Deepika on February 28, 2013 at 12:07am
·         Send Message   View Blog
G. A. Deepika Priyadharshani

Age: 33 years old

Position at Telecentre: Telecentre Manager
Years in Service (at current telecentre):6 years
Years in Service (at current position): 6 years
City: Sooriyawewa
Country: Sri Lanka
Telecentre/Employer Information

Name of Telecentre: Sooriyawewa Nenasala

Country: Sri Lanka
Region: Asia-Pacific
Name of Nominating Individual/Entity:ICT Agency of Sri Lanka

Gurusinghe Arachchige Deepika priyadharshanee, aged 33 serves as the women telecentre manager since year 2005. She hails from a lower-middle class family, married to a business man and her family is residing in a remote village named “Sooriyawewa” in Hambantota district in Southern province of Sri Lanka. Deepika is employed as a graduated instructor at Ministry of Youth affairs in Sri Lanka in her profession and holds a bachelors degree from University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka and completed her Masters in Social sciences.
Followed by an newspaper advertisement to submit proposal of interest to set up Nenasalas (Nenasala is the brand name for ICTA initiated telecentres in Sri Lanka) in remote villages in Sri Lanka, Deepika was summoned for an interview at the Information & Communication Technology Agency’s (ICTA: Government body mandated to ICT development of the country) in year 2005. By fulfilling basic qualifications and considering her interest and enthusiasm to serve her community by making available ICT facilities, she was given 4 computers and a communication unit to set up a Nenasala in her village. On 18th May 2005, Deepika opened her Nenasala for her community which plays a role of an IT knowledge hub for 14 remote villages in her area. Being supported by ICTA to set up a Nenasala, she was assigned with the main responsibility of taking the dividends of ICT to every village and every citizens of Sri Lanka as to improve the quality of life of the grassroots and enhance the social and economic development of the people. It was a challenging task as ICT was a totally new experience and most of the people had never heard or seen a computer in their life. Deepika was committed to her assigned duties and courageous to take the challenge as she launched a Nenasala awareness campaign in her village schools and public places as to raise awareness among the community. She started IT training courses for students in her village as she identified children as an effective communication channel to send the message of new developments in ICT in their village to the parents and adults. Today, Deepika is an experienced telecentre manager and a successful entrepreneur with over six years experience in telecentre activities.

Contribution to Digital Literacy and Community Development:
Implemented under the entrepreneurial / commercial model, Sooriyawewa Nenasala has only4 computers in its initial stage. Today Deepika caters to 15,000 people living in 22 different villages by upgrading her Nenasala with 14 computers. Turning her Nenasala into a multi-service community information centre, Deepika provide wide range of services such as access to internet, e-mail, telephones, fax, photocopy, computer training classes and other ICT services. Village of Sooriyawewa has limited ICT infrastructure and ICT resources. Therefore Deepika’s Nenasala is one of the significant locations in the area. One of the main activities of Nenasala is conducting IT training courses for students and youth in the village. So far, Deepika has managed to train nearly 800 students in basic IT training and 200 youth in web designing courses. It has increased the IT literacy rate among grassroots and enhanced socio-economic development of the community as well. In order to offer a recognized certification for the IT training programs of Nenasala, Deepika has managed to register her IT training courses in Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka and conducts IT trainings by employing qualified lectures. Therefore, the community find the training conducted at Nenasala really helpful and recognized. In her way forward, Deepika identified the fact that, though she had taken lot of efforts in bring down grassroots to her Nenasala, there was considerable amount of people who have not visited her Nenasala. In a closer look into these missed out portion, Deepika noted that those people live with extreme poverty and ICT is not at all affordable for them. In order to reach this unreached community, Deepika launched her new project “Nenasakmana” –a mobile telecentre in year 2009. The so called “mobile telecentre”- a small van-sized lorry incorporating four laptop computers powered by a solar panel and with connectivity provided through a dongle is an ideal solution to serve the rural areas of southern province Sri Lanka where most of the people are isolated from the digital world. It is commendable that Deepika is committed to offer services via her mobile library free of charge for the grassroots. Launch of this mobile telecentre is another step taken to allow poorest sections of the society to reap benefits of Information Technology. Deepika is a fine example to rest of the women telecentre managers in many ways. She was always ready to take challenges and risks and she was convinced that without taking the risks and challenges she will not be able to pave her way forward. She was brave to invest all she had earned when she was to set up Nenasala. She was courageous and hard working to convince people on benefits of ICT which was a difficult task by the time she started her Nenasala. More than generating an income and concentrating on financial gains, she was concerned about serving her community as she travelled village by village with her mobile telecentre offering her service free of charge. 


Leadership, Partnership and Resource Mobilisation:
Deepika’s leadership and her capability in building partnerships and mobilising her resource is evident as she has managed to convert her Nenasala into a successful business which was started with only 4 computers six years back. Today her Nenasala is equipped with 14 computers and she possesses over 2 million assets. She has empowered her community by delivering her services trough out 22 remote villages in Hambantota district. Deepika exposed her leadership not only in managing her Nenasala, also in working with follow Nenasals as well. By considering Deepika’s successful operations in Nenasala, tremendous support and efforts to bridge the digital divide among grassroots, Deepika was appointed as a Nenasala ambassador for southern province by ICTA. With her new appointment she is one of the leading Nenasala owners from the southern province who helped out ICTA to carry out Nenasala Development Task Force: a network of regional Nenasalas which helps each other in efficient and effective operations. Further, Deepika had always understood the value of entering into partnership with rest of the organizations as it could make various possibilities as she move forward with her Nenasala activities. Best example is that Deepika well maintains her partnership with ICTA, one of the leading government organizations in the country. ICTA has helped Deepika in many ways including grant opportunities she received in implementing her innovation: ‘Mobile Telecentre’ to reach the unreached community of poor and marginalised in southern province of Sri Lanka. Entering into a partnership with ICTA with assigned deliverables, she was successful in her resource mobilization, fund raising into her community service and ultimately leading the way forward in her business. Not only ICTA, Deepika work in close contact with Divisional secretariat office in Sooriyawewa and institutions like Vocational Training Authority which has added more recognition to the services she delivers through Nenasala. Especially as she managed to register her Nenasala centre with Vocational Training authority she was able to deliver recognised certification to the IT trainings that she conducts in her Nenasala. In carrying out her Nenasala awareness campaigns, Deepika is in partnership with community based organizations and societies as it has the capacity to add more value and recognition. It has helped her making people convince on benefits of using ICT in their day today communication needs and rest of the activities.

Nenasala Team Wishing you all the best & Good Luck ... !

No comments:

Post a Comment