The eVillage concept – bringing technology to the village

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The IT usage skills improvement project is foremost among these. A main aspect of this project is to encourage the use of the computer and internet during school hours as part of the teaching/ learning process.

Secondly, this project provides opportunities to members of the community to use these facilities and to access required information via computer and internet. This process has immensely contributed to the quality of life and social upliftment of the community.

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In 2007, with initiatives taken jointly by the Presidential Secretariat and the IT Agency, the ‘Secondary Education Modernization Project’ (SEMP) was launched. R/Damahana MV with its connected village was selected as a pilot project for setting up the first e-village in the Sabaragamuwa Province.

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A main objective of this project is to enhance the development process of the region by providing IT technology to the rural communities. Hence, the e-village centre was structured and designed to function as the information provider of the rural community. Consequently we have successfully utilized the R/Damahana MV IT learning Centre to provide vital and timely information required by the community thereby contributing immensely to the rural development process.

One such activity was to start a website that contained all the information and development activities taking place in the village. A regularly updated web-blog has also been designed for this purpose. The website is http://www.oasisdamahana.org and the web-blog is https://oasisdamahana.wordpress.com . Besides, the community is given access to this centre to obtain any relevant information or training pertaining to IT.

However, when it comes to providing access to the community, state institutions are confronted with certain restrictions and limitations. For example, farmers and wage earners will only have the night time to make use of such a facility. Therefore, the need was strongly felt for setting up an independent centre providing easy access to community members.

The e-village project that commenced with R/Damahana MV as its focal point has by now developed to the point of being a service provider that brings together various sectors of the community enhancing rural development in the process. As the first step in this direction, a CBO by the name ‘Oasisdamahana Foundation’ was formed and registered under the Social Services Act No. 31 , 1980 of the Govt. of Sri Lanka. Our organization is now allowed to function as a social services organization registerd with the Balangoda Divisional Secretariat, bearing No. DSB/So/09/2009. This gives the organization a legal and professional status it otherwise lacked at a regional level.

In the immediate future the Foundation intends to implement a programme to improve the English language skills among members of the community. Plans are underway to provide IT training to the otherwise ignored Tamils living among the community.

The Foundation is also focused on setting up a BPO with the intention of improving and increasing the employment opportunities for the youth of the community.

A keen willingness has been shown by many within the community to provide necessary infrastructure facilities to implement these projects. However, further assistance is required to obtain necessary equipment and network support.

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