Posts tagged Evillage

Damahana WI – FI zone

Balangoda Damahana Maha Vidyalaya is making rapid advancements in the area of ICT. An increase in the number of Desktop PCs, as part of the eVillage project, has been one such area of development.

With the Secondary Education Moderization Project as a sponsor, the school was integrated into the Wi-Fi zone for the province. This capability allows wireless internet access from any location within the school grounds. The Wi-Fi zone was built with 8 access points, which together cover all of the school buildings. As a result, students can now easily connect to the internet wherever they are and work alone or in groups to get things done more effectively and productively.

The WI-FI zone of Damahana Maha Vidyalaya was handed over to the students by the Chief Minister of Sabaragamuwa on the 29th of June 2010.

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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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After the tour of India……

With the intention of promoting the use of IT in the rural areas of the country, the Ministry of Education,
in collaboration with the Presidential Secretariat launched a pilot e-Village Programme, ‘Secondary
Education Modernization Project II’ (SEMP II), and funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The programme comprising many activities was, initially launched in the Sabaragamuwa, Uva, Central,
Wayaba and Southern provinces.

In order to further enhance the quality of project outputs, the managers of the five pilot projects have been
given the opportunity to attend a conference held in Baramati, India. The conference on ICT and Development
that commenced on the23rd March concluded on the 30th.
      India is a large country with a large population. Ten days is too short a period to explore and study such a vast nation as India. But this is a report on observations made during ten days of touring into a few of its regions.
      There were about 200 delegates attending the conference from India and various countries in the region including Sri Lanka. Among the key note speakers were, Sharad Kulkarni, Chairman of the Vidya Pratistan Institute for Information Technology(VIIT), Sri Subash Pani, Indian State Official, John Davies, Intel, Asst. Director, and others.

In order to observe how ICT was used to meet development objectives we visited a community radio station in
Baramathi.


Praja (Community) Radio Station
Health :- Telemedicine 
 Hospitals visited were either managed by the state or privately owned. Among these was the State hospital
 in Baramathi Town where we were able to observe how computers were used to diagnose illnesses. Here, we saw
computers, cameras, scanners and printers used for the purpose. 
 

 A team  work at the Baramathi hospital telemedicine centre 


Some equipment used at the Telemedicine centre

After the conference the Sri Lankan contingent arrived in Chenai city in India and remained at the for Indian Institute Information Technology (IIT) in Madras from the 26th to 30th February.  During this period many places were visited and the observations made are reported as follows:

Education:-
 It seems the Indian government pays little attention towards improving the educational system of that country.
 For example, there is a low level of participation of children in the school education system in rural villages. Those who
attend are very weak in reading and writing. The economic problems, a lack of interest among adults, and a lack of facilities, seem to be the  barriers for that.
 In rural villages there seems to be little attention given to applying modern techniques to develop education.
Especially, the use of computer in the field of education is minimal.


Students of a primary class doing their studies with  computers donated by a private organization.
A visit to private institutes  
However, an obvious feature was that there were many private educational and technological institutes functioning in the regions.These institutes used modern equipment and teaching methods including internet exploration.  

A group of women being trained in a e-praja centre


Beneficiaries working on computers in an e-praja centre


A group of women making bags using banana fiber to be sold on e-commerce

 

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