Village with a mesh network, but not a single telephone


Posted on November 6, 2006  /  183 Comments

Sri Lanka‘s first outdoor wireless computer network is now up and running.

 

Surprisingly, it is not in Colombo. It is not even in any of the other key places. It was installed in Mahavilachchiya, a little known village, 40 km from the nearest town Anuradhapura, and surrounded three sides by the Vilpattu jungle.

 

Most of the villagers are either farmers or labourers with a monthly income of about Rs. 5,000 –  10,000 (US$ 50 – 100). Though there is electricity, it is not yet covered by any of the terrestrial or mobile phone networks. This means there is not a single telephone in this village.

 

On the other hand, Mahavilachchiya has more than 50 PCs and a sophisticated multimedia lab. Majority of the computers are at the houses of the children, who in addition to use them for their studies, design web sites of some of the foreign companies. These PCs are now connected by using the “Mesh Wireless technology” which gives them direct Internet and E-mail facilities.

 

Wireless was the only approach that could be used, as there were no telephone lines the distribution of the houses makes a wired network set up too expensive.

-as reported by Chanuka Wattegama

183 Comments


  1. and here i am, 30 km from colombo, using dialup , took about 3min to open this page

  2. What’s the point. These kids are not going to be anything more than farmers or soldiers. Samare, just use the money to bleach your kalu puka son.

  3. I hear ICTA chairman, Prof. V. K. Samaranayake has very generously spoken about the Mahavilachchiya project on Radio yesterday, only short of saying the project his brainchild. He had praised Wanni and kids and also advised them not to be misled by “those who give assistance in one hand while trying to backstab them from the other.” (I am not sure whom he meant. May be Donald.)

    Thanks Prof., for the advice. Yes, there are many who fall into the category you describe. (There are also people who use both their hands to backstab.)

    Donald, how come I do not see you in any of the pics? I thought you were somebody who was keenly involved in this project.

  4. Donald Gaminitillake

    Guide lines have been set they will have to lead their own way

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  5. Donald,

    This may be your version. What I hear from others is that they have chased you off from Mahavilachchiya because they were so bored about your Sinhalisation theories. :-)

  6. Kiyanna kese kiwath assanna sihi buddhiyen asiya yuthui

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  7. Dear Tuk Tuk,

    What I hear is different. Guys in Mahavilachchiya have taken a bald decision to run the project with young people only. See, two of their directors are just 18. All are below 35. Still they are doing some remarkable work. Don’t they. I hear that Wanni too has plans to hand over the project to younger ones soon and play an advosory role. They have a good stock there. There are few more outgoing girls too which they have been grooming. Hope they too will be there in the board soon. Those gals are doing ALs now. I was there. Please be there and see the truth yourself. People there have high respect for Donald and his wife.

  8. Thanks spyguy

    This is the Difference between Dino and Donald.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  9. Hope you guys read Saturdays Lakbima,

    ICTA ad on mesh in Mahavilachchiya is published in Lakbima to ensure it gets the least readership. Another cap for VK. How smart you are!!!! There is other publications like Divaina, Lankadeepa and Dinamina which more readers read. I wonder why you didnt have the ad in a nursery related weekly instead of Lakbima!!!!!

  10. Tissa,

    Forget Lakbima. Have you see the ad on the Daily News? It might be the worst ad ICTA had ever published. ICTA as a rule always publish full colour ads (sometimes even without any clear reasons) but this ad was in black and white and it looked like a patch of black ink.

    I am sure Dino did this purposely.

    For Dino and ICTA, Mahavilachchiya project is now more like “Unu hinda bondath be, kiri hinda ahaka dandath be” type one. They do not want to give it publicity, but on the other hand they cannot avoid doing so too. :-)

  11. From Daily Mirror, November 09, 2006

    e-Villages: The future of development

    The Mesh Network Project in Mahavilachchiya, Anuradhapura was launched recently at the Horizon Lanka Foundation.

    In January 2005, Horizon Lanka Foundation and Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) received a grant from the Pan Asia R&D Grants Program for the deployment of a community mesh network for 30 homes in the village of Mahavilachchiya. Enterprise Technology (Pvt) Ltd (ETPL) was responsible for the implementation of the project.

    Mesh networking consists of a series of smart digital devices called routers or “Meshboxes”, which use infrared or radio waves, to carry high speed wireless connection over a wide area. This type of networking is unique, and is currently used by local financial institutions such as banks to transfer data between their branches.

    The Mahavilachchiya project signified the pilot project for ICTA’s e-Village concept. A small village in the North Central Province, with limited access to resources and few opportunities for its youth, benefited greatly through the introduction of ICT facilities. Through dedicated teachers, individuals and organizations working in partnership, the village youth were empowered with the knowledge and skills needed to access means for a better quality of life. As a result of these efforts the village secondary level students of the village are now being commissioned to design websites and currently earn more than their parents who are mostly farmers.

    Establishing the Mahavilachchiya e-Village with its high density of computers marks a significant chapter in the ICT for development (ICT4D) field in the country. Over 400 rural students receive ICT education and it is the only rural Sri Lankan village with ICT connectivity 24 hours a day. This unique environment thus resounds an important message to marginal level communities all over the world. ICTA’s Programme Manager “ eSociety Development Initiative, Chitranganie Mubarak commented, “Mahavilachchiya is an outstanding example of promoting inclusion through the use of ICTs. This latest project, which has given Internet access to poor rural families through a mesh network, will certainly be an impetus to other villages.”

    Internet access is largely perceived as a way to reduce isolation, provide educational and economic opportunities, and ultimately improve the quality of life. Common challenges such as high capital and operating costs have limited rural access to ICTs to a handful of heavily subsidized and supported projects in Sri Lanka. This innovative integrated strategy, based on existing technology and rural social structures, addresses a variety of challenges and could ultimately aid large numbers of villagers to gain this vital access to information and knowledge.

    Prof. V. K. Samaranayake, Chairman, ICTA said, “In keeping with His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s efforts to utilise technology to rapidly develop and empower rural communities, ICTA is keen on replicating this successful model in other villages across the country. Villages with limited resources and opportunities for their youth will be identified, and provided with ICT facilities for e-learning, e-commerce, and other services. ICTA will work in collaboration with partners to bring in a greater resource pool of expertise and services, to develop the village and allow for innovative social mobility amongst the members of the community. ICTA congratulates Horizon Lanka Foundation and its founder Mr. N. Wanninayake for their continuous efforts in realizing the e-Sri Lanka vision.”

  12. It is indeed good to hear ICT improvements like this. But still most of colombo and its suburbs don’t have ADSL at all… My self in moratuwa had applied for adsl in 2004 and still no news! I think the major players in ICT business in Sri Lanka should also focus on the development of Colombo and Suburbs while trying to develop the remote villages..

  13. The Mahavilachchiya project is supported by VSAT connectivity. It is project funded and not really part of the normal process of network development in LK. Its real test is how it survives the end of the project.

    I think the meaning of focus is to pay greater attention. It is quite clear that the telcos are paying greater attention to Colombo and similar areas, not to rural areas.

    On a different thread, Divakar explained the reasons for slow rollout of ADSL in Colombo and suburbs.

  14. Mahavilachchiya is NOT covered with VSAT. LankaCom uses Radio Link to provide connectivity.

    What is interesting there is, there are 7 WiFi enabled locations in the village where you can take a laptop and use internet. How many places in Colombo have WiFi??? This is in addition to 30 mesh connected computers in the village.

  15. Thanks for the correction. VSAT or radio link does not really change the nature of core issue. It is still a project driven, externally funded link that is essentially outside the market process.

    Will LankaCom continue to supply the link at no cost after the project ends? Does Mahavilachchiya have the resources in place to pay the bills if LankaCom does not? These are the key questions that need answers if Mahavilachchiya is not to be another pilot project like Kotmale Internet Radio.

  16. “These are the key questions that need answers if Mahavilachchiya is not to be another pilot project like Kotmale Internet Radio.”

    Prof, Samarajeewa,

    Kothmala project was a funded project and the project team had to withdraw when the money exhausted where as Mahavilachchiya is the project driven by a dynamic group of youth and they have been there for the last 8 years!!!! So, anything won’t fail in Mahavilachchiya. When funding finishes, they always find some other means. See their work and they have been proving this.

    Rather than funding short term money based projects I think you all have to provide assistance to a place like Mahavilachchiya.

  17. The cost of VSAT link to each “Nanasala” is Rs. 75,000 per month.

    Do the 250 Nanesalas have resources to pay Rs. 75,000 each month after the project ends?

    On the contrary, the radio link to MV costs only Rs. 24,000 per month. (As far as we know, ICTA bears this cost now. This was arranged by Manju when he was the CEO)

    However unlike Nanasalas, MV has been trying to convert itself to a self sustainable project, which can stand on its feet. Already some ideas have been proposed and they will be experimented in the next few months.

    One such idea (presented by Mr. Kithsiri of Bartleet) was to convert MV a knowledge centre to the pilgrims to Anuradhapura. This too will be tested for its feasibility among other ideas.

    Infants cannot stand on their own. They need the help of adults. But they will do trial and error and one day stand on their own.

  18. The Nanasalas are unsustainable. They will be another chapter of the unnecessarily long story of unsustainable telecenters.

    To raise the question of sustainability is not to wish something ill. I hope Mahavilachchiya finds the answer (looks like the problem is more tractable for them becuse their link is lower cost). By raising the question now (after the celebrations are behind us), I am simply trying to focus people’s minds on it.

  19. MV should utilize their infrastructure and resources as a great strength and should identify unique services which they can offer. Getting some work from colombo companies who’s willing to outsource or inshoring as it called. It can be digitizing documents, graphics, web sites etc. However they should now start marketing themselves offering their services and strengths. Once they do that am sure they can easily start generating revenue and become a self sustaining entitiy.

    Knowing the people am sure the they will make it happen and go great heights. And I agree with above comments we should focus and also meantime help them as well.

    Prof. Samarajiva – If you have not visited MV, it would be ideal if you can visit this place and share some of your valueable ideas/experiences where MV will really appreciate. Am sure with your busy schedules it’s tough but when you get a break for holiday MV via A’pura would be ideal thing to do and learn and share with these wonderful people.

    I am someone who has seen them growing from 1 or 2 computers and working under a tree conducting classes. Even when we visited the prize giving of MV – Horizon happen under a tree but in grand style.

    Now MV is a role model for e-village and gone great heights and i am someone who’s really admiring their journey. It’s a long journey hence all experts should always motivate them and share ideas so they will make more aggressive progress in future.

  20. Quote
    The Nanasalas are unsustainable.
    Unquote

    Other than the cost what are the other elements or factors for Nanasala’s to be unsustainable
    Let us know only about your opinion. Has anyone done a research?

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  21. Sustainability is generally understood in terms of ability to cover costs, including depreciation, and make the the necessary improvements. I do not understand a concept of sustainability that does not include costs.

    My opinion has already been stated. It is not based on research conducted in Sri Lanka.

    As I stated, all the lessons about making telecenters had been learned well before e Sri Lanka was designed and well before the original intent of the program was violated by (a) the proliferation of Nanasalas, chosen by non-transparent means, and (b) the abandonment of the component intended to bring down telecom costs in a systematic manner.

    For an example of a systematic study (one among many) of why telecenters fail, see: ip.cals.cornell.edu/commdev/documents/jdc-benjamin.doc

  22. There were so many examples for unsuccessful tele-centers worldwide, but “Nenasala” is the worst model one can ever think of.

    The key fallacies of this model:

    1. High cost of the VSAT Internet link. With that kind of cost the tele-centers can never make a profit even if they work 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and 365 days a year. (Unless otherwise one charges Rs. 1,000 per hour to surf Internet!)

    2. Most of these are set up in temples. The priest of the temple is not an entrepreneur. What incentives the priest has to sustain the effort?

    3. This model completely neglects the gender aspects. A temple is not a place a village woman goes alone. So the use of Nenasalas is indirectly restricted to males only.

    4. One goes to a temple for a particular reason. One does not go to a temple to do business.

    5. In a multi ethnic society like ours this is an obvious way to restrict people from other communities visiting the tele-centre. It can create more problems than it addresses.

    Ideally Nenasalas should have been set up at the communication centers. There should have been a way to gradually make the tele-centers self sustainable. The funding could have been reduced gradually. Say 75% in the second year; 50% in the third year 25% in the fourth year and then the operation would become self sustainable in the fifth year.

    I wonder why nobody ever thought about this before.

  23. Nirna thanks

    1. Cost of Communications (Vsat)
    2. Where Nanasala is located
    3. Access and restrictions due to the location (gender aspect)

    any other factors!!!

    Donald

  24. To Nirna:

    All these things were thought of before. All one has to do is to look at the original documentation for e Sri Lanka, the procedures for selecting VGKs (the original name for telecenters) and the plans for regional telecom networks.

    The changes occurred after the 2004 election.

  25. Why don’t we start another thread on Nenasala? This is interesting and ICTA implementors should hear what people have to say about this.

  26. “The cost of VSAT link to each “Nanasala” is Rs. 75,000 per month.” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can someone confirm this is true?

  27. Thank you, Prof. Samarajiva for the explanation.

    May I also know whether anyone has studied about the opportunity cost of Nenasala model. For instance, has anyone compared the benefits of Nenasala with similar sized non-ICT based projects? (eg. micro finance)

    Let me do some simple calculations.

    If the satellite link itself to a Nenasala costs Rs. 75,000, I assume with rent, depreciation and operator salaries, one centre might cost around Rs. 125,000 to the tax payer. I do not know whether they earn any income but let us keep Rs. 25,000 per month. So the cost to tax payer per Nenasala per month is Rs. 100,000.

    In Sri Lanka, an average family in rural areas earn somewhere around Rs. 10,000 pm.

    So the amount we spend to operate one Nenasala can easily sustain 10 families. So the cost of a total of 250 Nenasalas can easily sustain 2,500 families.

    This is the opportunity cost of Nenasala. We keep 2,500 families in poverty to make them information rich. (Or do we?)

    Ideally what ICTA could have done is, invite business proposals from interested entrepreneurs to establish tele-centers and offer them financial support as a low interest loan. This is the most sustainable model I can think of. The loans could have disseminated through a development bank or even a commercial bank. (“Gemi Pubuduwa” of HNB is something similar)

    If that model is used Nenasalas would have been made self sustainable and would not have been a burden to the tax payer.

  28. Can you all shut up please? I know Nenasala is a big farce. Original VGK was the better model. But I have to secure my chair in here. I need to continue so. Country can go to hell but I need to be here. So, let’s not bother on this topic anymore.

  29. Are you sure the VGK model was better than Nenasala model?

    Because as far as I know ICTA could start only six VGKs, in spite of their best efforts for about two years and they too were not too successful. Only a handful of users ever used VGKs. They did not come to VGKs because it was something entirely alien to them.

    I think that was one of the key reasons to change it to “Nenasala” model. The idea behind it was to take tele centers to villages and link it with a key location in a village (like temple) where villagers would not have found them alienated. If gramasevakas can have their offices in temples (or by the side of temples) why cannot Nenasalas be in temples? I think it is the best place.

    Some of the VGKs have been evaluated for their performance. The report is available at http://www.icta.lk/insidepages/downloadDocs/Nenasala/OutcomeEvaluation_of_PilotProjects.pdf

    You will find even VGKs were not as successful as one would like to portray them.

  30. dear concerned

    the six VGKs you are referring to are not actual VGKs, but ‘pilot VGKs’. there were a number of real VGKs successfully setup and run by entrepreneurs.

    i am almost certain that ICTA did some evaluations on the VGK model vs. the nena-sela model, perhaps they could shed some light.

    harsha de silva

  31. About a week ago I was in Kataragama

    There was a Nanasala next to the main entrance gate of the Kataragama Shrine.
    If this was located in the area where they have the pilgrim rests and the shops this nanasala may be used by many. Located in the worship area I wonder whether this was for the use for the Gods above to whom we pray.

    Perhaps the locals in the foreign countries will be able o send a E-mail for a Pooja Vattiya!!!

    What a beautiful “Angoda Chinthanaya” we have in the IT field!!!

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  32. All,

    Go to Mahavilachchiya and learn. Even if you start a telecenter in Pettah bus stand people wont be using it if they don’t know about IT and internet. See how poor farmers read online newspapers in Mahavilachchiya. See how parents send emails to their children in universities from Mahavilachchiya. See how people talk to their relatives abroad using IM from Mahavilachchiya. See how they listen to online radio stations from Mahavilachchiya. The simple difference is that there people were given awareness first and then started introducing technology. Without this, all your efforts will fail. So, first put some money on proper training. Learn from Mahavilachchiya.

  33. Please do not elaborate too much on

    1.parents send emails to their children (is it Romanized Sinhala? in Latin script like JCA ) If so why cant they send me one!!!

    ————-

    2. talk to their relatives abroad (this is possible but how many are they in Vilachchiya?)

    3 listen to online radio stations (This is possible)

    Efforts fail because lack of language proficiency , trained people and funding to administer the project.

    Simple example is the clock towers built by president Premadasa. Now none of them are working

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  34. Friends,

    Let us not boast too much about Mahavilachchiya.

    After all, it is still almost fully donor funded (organisational or private) and cannot stand on its feet alone. It is more like an infant who still needs parental support to walk.(The cost of lease line is a minor issue, when you think about other costs the project has to bear.)

    The challenge is not only to make it self sustainable but how best that can be used to develop the village as well.

    First of all, let us not forget Mahavilachchiya is still an agricultural society. You cannot develop any society till it remains agricultural. If we were to bring the villagers out of poverty, we have to find out ways to take them out of agriculture to more economically viable livelihoods in the industry or service sectors.

    If the older generation does not want to undergo this conversion from traditional agricultural society to a modern economic one, we have to at least find a way to convert the younger generation. (Hope nobody would name it “Unethical conversion”)

    The project managers should explore how best the project and the skill set of the children trained by this project can be used for this purpose.

  35. Donald is infamous for making stupid statements, but this is unmatched even by his own standards.

    [quote] Efforts fail because lack of language proficiency , trained people and funding to administer the project.

    Simple example is the clock towers built by president Premadasa. Now none of them are working [unquote]

    So according to Donald, we need language proficient trained people even to maintain a clock tower!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My foot!

    This is not the reason why most of the clock towers do not function today.

    President Premadasa erected clock towers as MONUMENTS and NOT for people to check time. What is the use of having a clock tower when anybody can buy a wrist watch for Rs. 100-150?

    The maintenance of clock towers was assigned to garment factories. After the death of Premadasa, the garment factories saw no reason to maintain them because it was not their core business line.

    Ideally, maintenance of clock towers should have been assigned to the Municipal and Town councils. That falls within their mandate.

    Clock towers failed simply because a “ballage wade” was assigned to a “booruwa”.

  36. Hi Tuk Tuk

    Who owns the land or who maintains it is not my concern
    Even in Germany there are Clock Towers
    Question here is the clock towers are not functioning.
    Same will happen on IT projects such as (VGK) or Nanasala

    You all are good at quibbling. Experts on that subject

    Using internet Horizon can do better in agriculture. Can be the Agricultural products export village in Sri Lanka. I have given the guide lines longtime ago. Yet to follow. Wait until a paid consultant comes from a foreign country to advise them on that subject. By then they too have missed the BUS.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  37. test test test

  38. Ane Donald uncle! You have such a brilliant brain. You should not waste it by over usage. You should protect that for future generations. :-)

    I guess MW is another agricultural village in Sri Lanka, no different from the rest, that produces products like rice, common vegetables etc.

    Some pics at http://www.horizonlanka.org/news/vegetables/index.htm show few MW farmers with products like Pathola and Vetakolu.

    You want to export Pathola, Vetakolu, Vambotu and Wattakka. Ha! Ha! Ha! I guess there is a high demand for these products from suddas. Pray tell me from which countries we have a demand for these vegetables. Can you export Pathola to USA or Canada or Europe?

    These agricultural products can be sold only at the local market and the above web link itself says the farmers get very little. It is not just because the middlemen exploit, but also because these are produced without pre-planning, so during the harvest time the market is over flooded with products, so obviously the prices will drop.

    There are only few ways MW farmers can further develop if they decide to stay in agriculture.

    1. Process the fruits and vegetable and add value to the product. (ie. Instead of selling tomatoes, make tomato jam and sell that.) Use Internet to find about investors who like to invest money for such projects.

    2. Instead of selecting common vegetables and fruits grow varieties of high demand. Use Internet to find information about varieties of high demand.

    3. Grow organic fruits and vegetables. (which can be sold at a higher price) Again, Internet can be a source both to find technical information and buyers.

    4. Try to build brand names for some select products so they can be sold at higher costs. (eg. Bibile dodam was exported sometime back. Malvane Rambutan are sold at higher prices than ordinary Rambutan) Internet can be used for promotional purposes.

    However, all these have their own limits. While keeping these options open, it is always better to focus on the service and industrial sectors too, rather than confining themselves in agriculture.

  39. Quote
    You want to export Pathola, Vetakolu, Vambotu and Wattakka. Ha! Ha! Ha! I guess there is a high demand for these products from suddas. Pray tell me from which countries we have a demand for these vegetables. Can you export Pathola to USA or Canada or Europe?
    Unquote

    If you do proper Harvest management you can sell your products Directly and export it

    Markets: Maldives , Middle east & Urban consumers

    You all like to quibble a lot.

    You also can sell the products online to urban consumer as a product from Mahavilachchiya
    Not only vegi’s you have good bees honey – fruits –

    create a BRAND NAME – use Hi tech to develop the agricultural industry.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  40. In yesterday’s budget proposals Rs. 100 million (USD 1 million) have been allocated to replicate the MV e-village project in other villages.

  41. Congrats!!!!

    Beware!!!! VK must be getting ready to jump into this for cheap publicity. If you guys want to see something prodctive, keep VK out and ignore Donald. Both are equaly dangerous.

  42. This is not directly related to the thread but I think it is important.

    I hear Dr. Nagy Hanna is in town doing an evaluation of the e-Sri Lanka program and ICTA.

    Hope he reads the LIRNEasia blog about the BPOs, Nenasalas and Sinhala Standardisation issues.

    If anyone wants Dr. Hanna’s e-mail, it is nagyhanna@comcast.net (I got from the web.)

  43. Donald,

    This is your chance. At least this time use your brain. Write to Hanna. CC your mails to this blog, whole WB team, government’s top officials, etc. If you need to put your cause forward, don’t miss this chance. Also send print outs of your mails to the relevant offices. People don’t throw papers out. They have to file them. Don’t act like a Bull in a China Shop as someone else mentioned before.

  44. I did had correspondence with Dr Hanna.
    He did replied but later lost contact

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  45. Donald,

    Before anything else, wouldn’t it better for you to attend an English grammar class? :-)

  46. TTD,

    This IS and WAS the problem with Donald. He plays the goat and nobody can promote him or his ideas as he mess up everything everywhere. You cannot take him in front of a decent crowd. He lets down even his supporters by these silly mistakes. he has to hire an English guru and a lawyer before sitting in front of his PC.

  47. I have tried to eat Donald’s Bible (The BOOK) a few times but even a tiny morsel of the yellowed parchment with KU and GU resulted in uncontrollable PU. So before he sits with an English guru and a lawyer he needs to burn the BOOK that has driven him round the bend a few times already.

    But I must say that Master Donald’s masterful control over manure management has yielded bountiful harvest of Pathola, Vetakolu, Vambotu that is exported to goats all around the globe. Please excuse the days Master Donald misses out on his high fiber diet, its not his fault. Nanny goat and I are devising ways to stem his verbal motions.

  48. The people in the forum still do not know about my Dad VK Sam.

    Do you think just because you write to Nagy Hanna, he will present a genuine truthful report about the activities of ICTA and my dad VKS?

    Wishful thinking guys.

    For your information my, dad had already bribed Hanna, so whatever you say Hanna will submit a very rosy report about the activities of ICTA and my dad. He will never utter a word about the Samsung deal, which made my dad VKS a millionaire.

    Hanna will also say Nenasala is a wonderful model and thousands are already using them.

    Both Hanna and my dad VKs are in the same mafia. My dad had earned enough from the Samsung deal he can bribe not just Hanna, but Hanna’s appochchi as well.

    What do you think? My dad VK Sam is not a fool.

    I can cooly stay in USA for another 3 years, spending the Samsung money.

  49. At last you had come to my grammar
    If you read through the blog there are grammar mistakes by every person
    This is not an issue unless you make it an issue
    So make it an issue.

    My topic is in Software Issues in Sri Lanka Part 5.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  50. See, this man called Donald never learns!!!!! Pride goes before a fall. You are too proud to understand your mistakes!

  51. All,

    Can we stick to original discussion in this thread, “Village with a mesh network, but not a single telephone.” Please do not let Donald to play havoc here by distracting the contributors to this thread. If I had 100 million USD, I would give it to Donald so that he keeps his mouth shut and let others to work.

  52. Read and comment on 42, 52 also 151 , 152 on part 5
    You can have mesh technology but without Sinhala and Tamil where are we heading?

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  53. You can talk about in the tread assigned to you, leave this page alone. The people in the village show how best they can use mesh. LEARN at least from them without barging into different discussions. You know what! You have become a big joke everywhere>

  54. Quote
    The people in the village show how best they can use mesh
    Unquote

    Prove how they use the English language. What are the web links they access. To which blogs they write. What are they doing with the MESH technology. How do they make use of it for day to day life as a tool without Sinhala and Tamil.

    If you can use the Sinhala language and Tamil freely across all platforms the productivity and the Mesh development will be a remarkable success.

    You all get hurt when the truth spoken.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  55. from Horizon site http://www.horizonlanka.org/news/budget/index.htm

    Ranjith Gunarathne (Updated: November 19, 2006)

    Recently we launched the first ever mesh internet network in Sri Lanka in the village of Mahavilachchiya, marking what can be described as the most important step in the creation of first e-village in the island. We have been doing a lot to realize this aim. Training village community, children and adults alike, in the use of ICT and getting computers to their homes were top priorities in our project.

    Most of the time we had to rely on donations from foreign individuals and organizations, and private companies in Sri Lanka for the funds needed for our work. Sri Lankan expatriates living and working overseas played a great role in providing necessary funds. Unfortunately, we got very limited support from the government sector so far. We badly needed the government to come forward to play a bigger and more active role. Our efforts had not been in vain because we succeeded in getting the due recognition for the e-village concept. Mrs. Chitranganie Mubarak Programs Manager for eSDI, ICTA said at the mesh opening ceremony, “We are thankful to Horizon Lanka because they are the ones who opened our eyes to what is possible at village level through the capabilities of the e-village.”

    President Rajapaksha arriving at the Parliament to deliver budget proposals for 2007

    Now it is with great pleasure we announce that e-village concept was fortunate enough to attract the attention of those who really matter at last; those who understand the real potential of it, who could do a lot to take this valuable technology to the poor villages in rural Sri Lanka. Namely, His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha and Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga. That is how e-village initiative got funds allocated in the budget for year 2007 to be replicated throughout Sri Lanka.

    Mr Lalith Weeratunga at Horizon

    President Rajapaksha sent his secretary to the opening of the mesh network in Mahavilachchiya, and Mr. Lalith Weeratunga came to Mahavilachchiya. He visited the village houses and the two public schools connected with the mesh internet network. Before leaving he made a promise. “There are many things that we could do and take my word; I will certainly go into this thoroughly.”

    Mr. Lalith Weeratunga gave his word that day and he had kept it. “Very few people like that in the world you would see today, in that kind of position.” Those were the words Mr. Weeratunga used when he was talking about Dr Abdul Kalam, the President of India, which serves fine to describe the speaker as well.

    It is not that he had taken a sudden interest in our activities just on that day we launched the mesh network. To quote Mr. Weeratunga, “I have known Wanni for a long period of time. Most of the time I knew what he was doing. He kept me updated all the time about the new initiatives”. President Rajapaksha also had known and had had a keen interest about our activities at Horizon Lanka in Mahavilachchiya. He had the need to popularize the ICT in Sri Lanka. Let me quote again, “We have a fantastic programme in Mahinda Chinthana called ‘Gama Neguma’, which is to ensure that the village is developed in the total sense. Had I known, or had Mr. Rajapakse known about e-village concept he would have definitely put it in ‘Mahinda Chinthana’, I am sure. Now that you have done it, it doesn’t have to be in that book but we can always copy we can always work with you. I don’t want to do something different; I want to learn from you. And then do it the way it has come through. This is not top driven, this is bottom driven. That is why it is a success.”

    We sincerely thank the President for this history making decision to consider e-village concept worth investing on and make us proud of what we have done. We, at Horizon Lanka give our solemn promise to do our best to help replicate what we have done here in Mahavilachchiya.

  56. From Horizon web site

    http://www.horizonlanka.org/index.htm

    President Mahinda Rajapaksha allocated 100 million rupees to replicate e Village model in Mahavilachchiya throughout Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksha proposed this in his budget proposals for 2007 in the capacity of the Finance Minister.

    What the budget speech was

    “3 E-villages
    I propose to develop e-villages in selected rural locations as a pilot project to popularize computer usage to promote access to information to people living in distance locations.”

    Correct the text of Horizon

  57. Dear everyone on this thread,

    Can we all try and rise above the Sam the dinosaur? You guys seem obsessed with this nasty old man, a spent force who was yesterday’s news and tomorrow’s footnote of ICT history (if that). There is a whole world out there that is no longer shaped by him, and already does not care who in the world VKS is! Ask the average Sri Lankan youngster hooked on ICTs (internet, mobile phone, video games, etc) and a majority will not even know — and certainly won’t care — who this man is. Neither should we.

    The anti-globalisation activists in this world are dissipating too much of their time and energy criticising and attacking Uncle Sam. Here we are, the pro-ICT activists doing something similar being obsessed with Dino Sam.

    We should all go get a life that does not have Sam. As the anti-globlisation activists are fond of saying, Another World is Possible.

    A world that does not define itself by Sam. Uncle or Dino.

    Think about, guys. Opportunities are being missed while we keep harping on yesterday’s news.

  58. Listen to these young girls describing how their parents in Mahavilachchiya reading newspapers through web.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ervi_J5AwhE

    Internet is no more the property of Colombo 7 elite. It has already reached villages.

  59. CheeLanka,

    Who is this dino you talk about?

    Is he the same old guy who was at CINTEC? I remember this grand father there, moving in a wheelchair, with a saline bottle and a catheter permanently fixed to his body for life support.

    There was a time we saw his withered rectangular face frequently on TV. He had the looks of a cadaver right from the grave. He used to give “pora talks” about computers and we thought Bill Gates was his brother in law.

    The after some time we heard Batty Weere kicked this guy out of CINTEC with his wheel-chair, saline, catheter and all. Have not heard about him since then.

    My Gosh, I thought this guy was dead long ago. Is that man still living? What a surprising news!!

    The medical technology has advanced so much today, it can even keep a half dead man alive for year and years….

  60. My dear children,

    I am so sad to see what you write about me.

    I did everything for my country. It is not correct saying I did all this to send my son to USA. Now I do not earn anything, except for a nominal allowance of Rs. 500,000 per month.

    I did not request bribes from Samsung. They only forcefully put that money to my Swiss account. I do not know how they learnt the account number.

    I blocked young talented people to train them to face challenges and not because I was jealous.

    I am so disappointed by what people write me about this thread and I am going to end my life by jumping to the Narahenpita Kunu Ela at Kirimandala Mawatha.

    Yours faithfully,
    Grandfather Dino

  61. Sirasa says they will run a program on Mahavilachchiya at 10.pm tonight. And Horizon website says MTV is to run a live talk show at 7.am tomorrow. Hope VK wud be the main acotor!

  62. Yes Sirasa 10 pm News First Sinhala News reel ran the program

    Donald Gaminitillake

  63. Wanni is on MTV Breakfast show right now.

    I would have given anything to see VK’s face now. The old man might be burning with jealousy. Poor guy. Lets hope he would not get a heart attack today.

  64. yah yah yah its great man! PROUD to be a SRILANKAN

  65. Another interesting report on Mahavilachchiya is here http://www.apdip.net/news/lk-evillage

  66. Interesting post from Digidev

    Wanni’s MV mesh network has send a message to the world on how marginal communities take advantage of ICT to stregthen them not being isolated anymore.

    We all know what internet access means to knowledge and power of communications (what I am doing is exactly that, I am using internet to communicate with you all ).

    Although I ve not been to MV I knew it from birth times… Only on two ocations I had fruitful conversations with wanni. But being in similar boat of local ICT development, I know what wanni has achived mean…

    We would be decived if we see the Mesh Network Hardware and
    connectity only,.. what underlies is the Human Network Wanni build in his village. We need to look at farmers, students, women and as families how they have developed their communication skills,language, farming etc..

    Hope wanni will comeout with his experience as biography from which we can learn. We are Learning much with Shilpa Sayura Implementation, 21 locations rounding deep south 21 uniue communities. We have just being able to develop a Shilpa Sayura Network with 21 Nenasalas. about 6 locations have taken it well. more than half still learning.
    We dont hear from several, need communications skills upgrade…

    This is where we need wannis help, how to make people communicate, using exsisting infrastructure or added ones. How effiently we could use Rs. 100m make 300 villages communicate with each other and among the village.

    e-Village is an idea where you will find many stakeholders, it’s new, everybody has an idea… It could be a broadbase knowledge strom, actually not theories , but those who have the experience in field, policies, finacing and ICT.

    I can rememer How e-Sri Lanka was born, Think Tanks, participatory approch, quite learnings … hard ends .. the Jouney still continues. Thanks to All. There are beneficiaries including me..

    What are the key problems a Village faces ex.1.They are not able get a better price for their products 2.They are isolated from information for knowledge improvement 3.They have lack of access to jobs, opportunities and services The moment I look at above 3 examples, I see a need of a e-village to e-Village network, that enable micro economics, education, jobs, opportunities and govt services

    One major concern we should have is not to islolate e-village, this is an opportunity to bridge all nenasala, tele centers, vidata, as one network. Actually they are one network physically from the begining. What we dont have is a usable application and content network. Isolated Efforts made would have no contributing effect on
    the big picture.

    This is an opportunity to ICT intellectuals, content specialists, application engineers to workout a neat model of e-Village that can work on an exsisiting and added infrastructure. ..

    The keyword in participative development.
    The need is to prepare to learn, prepare to chage, and change dynamically. Because I belive that each village is unique…

    I initiate this discussion to have open entry to e-village.

    Niranjan Meegammana
    Shilpa Sayura Project
    http://www.shilpasayura. org

  67. Sri Lankan News Sites

    All,

    Visit http://www.i4donline.net/news/top_news.asp?catid=6&newsid=6612
    http://www.apdip.net/news/lk-evillage

    I don’t know why so called Sri Lankan websites like TLA, Lanka Truth, Lanka Page, etc. keep ignoring this success story. How long can they keep this project from emerging? Before long, BBC, CNN, etc. will start talking about this wonderful project in Mahavilachchiya but our so called “Sri Lankan” news sites will keep ignoring. This is the real dirty politics we have.

  68. Man! They have their own agendas than reporting itself. One needs to dance according to their tunes.

  69. Siddhalepa Vedamahattaya

    The so called SL news portals Lanka Academic, Lanka Page and Lankanewspapers are run by Sri Lankan Diaspora.

    These expats think they are far superior to the “natives” living here, because they live in the comfort of the first world, while we in Sri Lanka, have to live in the middle of war, (not knowing whether we will be the victim of the next bomb) and facing constant hassles in our lives.

    The expats who run these sites elaborate a story only either,

    (a) if is about some sort of problem in Sri Lanka -it goes well with their superior complex. (See, you people take one hour to drive from Wellawatte to Colombo while we can cross a state in US by that time!)

    or

    (b) if it is a project financially supported by an expat – this is out of their sheer “sympathy” to “natives” (This village was devastated by tsunami and we expats built it back. Isnt that great? If not for us who will help these poor Sri Lankan natives?)

    Any achievements of the “natives” on their own will find no place in these sites, because it is bad for their own mentality.

    Ninety percent of these Diaspora have benefited from the free education system in Sri Lanka. If not for the free education system they would be planting manioc today.

    The Sri Lankan public have spend at least Rs. 1 million to create each of these expats. It is with the hope that they would serve their motherland one day. But these selfish, self-centered b*****ds have conveniently left the country after benefiting from all these and now make mock at us.

    I do not think MW project leaders have to worry about not been highlighted at any of such “Sri Lankan News portals”. It is bad for their mentality.

    It will be only a matter of time BBC and CNN will be interested in them.

  70. This appeared in Rivira about Mahavilachchiya. Oprn the link in IE http://www.rivira.lk/2006/12/03/rivinetha1.htm

  71. http://www.lakbima.lk/special/spec 11.htm this is another article on mahavilachchiya. Earlier link is wrong

  72. I read both the reports carefuly. But what I understand is both the articles does not carry the accurate facts about Mahavilachchiya project. For instance Nenasala project has nothing to in MV and the history of the project too is distorted.

  73. This is typical Sri Lankika attitude. Once you grow bigger people tends to shy to expose the accurate background. I was told to write the sociology aspect of Mahavilachchiya by a professor in the university.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  74. Donald,

    Visit http://www.horizonlanka.org/media/index.html I had few long hours researching on the articles in this link after ACCURACY’s posting on accuracy of recent media reports about MVCH. See how distorted the story of Mahavilachchiya in each of these articles when compared with the first article on IPS. Journalists always distort the facts with good reasons.

    There can be few reasons for this.

    1. Being a journalist, I know myself that 90% of the journalists write what they want, not what the relevant people say or what should be written. This is due to arrogance of the journalist. “I know all and who cares about these bugghers attitude.”

    2. It is very rarely a journalist goes to a place with homework done. These guys can easily read the MV websites and go handy with the facts and only get some first hand experiences at the site. This is not done usually by our journalists.

    3. Very rarely journalists are given sound recorders by the media institutions. So the journalists who are not good with shorthand produce an article with wrong facts.

    4. The written report is edited by an editor who doesn’t know anything about the story.

    5. Most important parts are deleted to cut down space problems.

    6. Journalist imagines a story which comes to his mind when he/she visits a place and he/she tries to support his/her mental picture rather than going with facts.

    7. Journalists cannot remember logics behind a historical happenings of a process and they easily distort the history.
    8. You provide journalist a press release and see what he writes. Still he will distort the facts.
    9. If you want to see something on the press the way you want, open a newspaper, write the story yourself, edit it yourself, proofread yourself, typeset yourself and print yourself. :-)

  75. Again a very debatable topic and inside information of journalists!!!

    Journalist will have to publish the facts. Based on facts.
    Facts and truth without fear or favour
    People who reads will have to take the decision

    We got to voice for a change!!!!

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  76. Donald or anyone?

    Was there any article on MV in Daily Mirror this week?

  77. To Whome It May Concern,

    This is to inform you that, like it always happen, VKS has become the Man of the Match in evillage project as well. Wanni is totally out of this project. VK used all his 40 thieves to crush Wanni. Wanni, Fare thee well!!! Now wait for the bullet. Manju escaped unharmed but you will get the bullet on your head too.

  78. The problem of people like Donald and Wanni is they are stupid.

    They think political masters will help them just because they have some ideas to do good to the society. What they do not know is the political masters only help those who in turn help them to win elections – either by offering money or working for the campaign.

    My dad VKS helped the big guys to win the elections. It was he who wrote the ICT parts of somebody’s Chinthana. So somebody thinks my dad VKS should be rewarded for that work.

    In addition, my dad VKS also helps the family members of somebody to get huge computer deals under the table. (eg. Samsung winning 15 million deal without even complying to the mandatory requirements of the tender.)

    Can Donald or Wanni do such things?

    If they cannot, it is not a surprise that my dad VKS remains to be the man of the match – and I, Dino’s son remain in USA spending the Samsung money.

  79. I would strongly advice Donald and Wanni not to jump into this dirty sea of politics in which dangerous sharks like Dino can survive. Wanni and Donald are just sprats among sharks and will be crushed easily. Besides, they can tarnish their names if they join this gang of fools. Don’t be foolish. You have done more than enough to the society and country.

  80. Dear Wanni,

    Don’t accept the ‘advice’ given by “Mr Advice.” This advicer could be Dino himself. He is trying his best to discourage you. Above is one such way. He is more cunning than a fox. You need to do that project and do something for the country and expose these barbarians like Dino to the country as well.

  81. Wanni,

    Don’t get carried away with these “advices.” This “adviser” is non other than VK himself. All he wants to do is distract and discourage you. He knows if you come to a bigger position, all his false might will be smashed in an overnight.

  82. Likewise, Colombo CDMA 10 minutes and no Yahoo forthcoming!! Lucky children!!

    Maybe high speed distance learning for early beginners on environmental Health and the prophylaxis of the numerous diseases caused by rubbish ladened city streets!

  83. Is the mesh network in MV secure? Most of the wireless networks I see in Colombo are unsecure.

  84. I too do not think Wanni and Donald should go as low as Dino in achieving their objectives.

    However, they both have to be very smart.

    As we all know, when Dino wants something he will get it by hook or crook. He never cares what impact his actions will have on others.

    There was a time Dino was unceremoniously kicked out of the scene by Batty Weerakoon. Then Moragoda was not ready to touch him by a barge pole.

    Was Dino ever got discouraged? No. He meticulously planned and in no time became the chairman of the ICT Agency.

    Please study the manner how Dino axed Manju. Wasn’t that simply brilliant?

    Both Wanni and Donald should learn from Dino, how to fight till the last drop of blood.

    However, that does not mean they too have to do the dirty things Dino did.

  85. Time has come to change the topic “Village with a mesh network, but not a single telephone.” Mahavilachchiya got Dialog Telekom’s mobile coverage from last night. Dialog goes down in the history with this bald initiative. Dialog covered Mahavilachchiya at a time even bigger semi-urban cities are yet to get their coverage.

  86. Bravo!! This is Dialog we know. This is Hans we know. Isn’t this CSR rather than a business? Providing mobile coverage to such a distant place?

  87. Do they (Dialog) use the Horizon Tower?
    else they have a different tower somewhere near Thantririmale?

    Donald

  88. Coverage is given through a separate tower in Mahavilachchiya. Horizon Tower is not sufficient for the purpose.

  89. Quote
    Horizon Tower is not sufficient for the purpose.
    Unquote

    What were the limitations of Horizon Tower???

    Donald

  90. I do not think there is any point start debating about whether Horizon Tower was enough for the purpose or not.

    I am sure Dialog gives mobile facilities to Mahavilachchiya, not as charity, but treating it as a business opportunity. So let them built their own tower.

    We should believe in markets, not charity. If we believe in charity donating money to illuminate Ruwanweliseya is much better than providing mobile facilities to Mahavilachchiya. Dialog does the latter, because it believes in markets.

    That is the correct path to take.

    C. K. Prahalad in his famous book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits” says we have to get out of the “charity mindset” if we were to ever overcome the poverty in our societies.

    So everybody please follow the Dialog example. Please treat Mahavilachchiya as a market (though yet undeveloped) than a children’s home begging for charity.

    Now most of the infrastructure problems of Mahavilachchiya have been solved, we want the kids to show the results of these efforts. We are waiting…

  91. I am returning to lirneasia after sometime. Some of the lirneasia blogs were becoming almost spam and was quite unpleasant to visit due to same thing repeated endlessly. I want be surprise even this para will become “Quote”, & “Unquote” and questioning the same stuff. Frankly I have no answers for such hence don’t want to waste time answering either as there are many challenges to overcome in real world.

    As per above post, Yes, quite agree with More Advice. With Dialog coverage, mesh network, computer lab, wi-fi hotspots what more you can ask for in terms of e-infrastructure? I think so many donors have supported horizon to become what they are today. They should now start changing their mindset of going after further donor funding and various other charities, rather start looking in terms of transforming HL-MV to a sustainable venture through revenue generation.

    It should start evaluating their strengths and formulate a strategies. They can think of various options based on their strengths which includes inshoring even offshore some of the work. I got to know there are some kids who have even got overseas training on various content development, technologies etc. It would be great if they can use their knowledge that they gain overseas for setting up revenue generating models.

    If MV to become a true success story it should now become self sustaiable with innovative initiatives with putting e-infrastructure to action. Then it will be a true role model for replication of e-village to other parts of Sri Lanka. So it’s high time Wanni & the team to take the next challenge and turn things around and prove that HL can self sustain. I am sure there will be many who will volunteer to guide in right directions. But it’s up to the HL team to write their success story.

    HL-MV has come along way with overcoming many obstacles and I have no doubt that they will work hard to prove their capabilities and turn MV into a sustainable venture. Who know one day that MV will start offering help in terms of seed funding, advice and other services to other e-villages with their own budgets.

    I wish them all the success for Year 2007!

  92. Wanni has been a great community leader. No two words about that. However I doubt whether he has entrepreneurial skills. Given his background, I do not see he has shown any entrepreneurial skills in the past.

    Wanni, need not worry about that. Nobody in the world has all the skills. Each one of us is good at some things and not good at other things.

    However, it will excellent if somebody with entrepreneurial skills assist Wanni to develop a good business model for Mahavilachchiya.

    All MBAs and MBA Aspirants who read this mail, this is your chance to help the e-village cause. Use your knowledge an develop a business model for this village (which already has the infrastructure and HR skills) to be self sustainable.

    All investors, this is the time to explore the opportunity at the bottom of pyramid.

  93. Quote
    Horizon Tower was enough for the purpose or not.
    unquote

    It is a very important answer. When the Horizon tower was built we were told that it could be used for other communication facilities. Now if they say it is not so I would like to know the problem.

    It is a good feedback.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  94. In response to the wise comments (96 and 97), I think that the presentation at the recent poverty research conference (http://www.lirneasia.net/2006/12/shoestrings2-presented-at-poverty-research-forum/) would help move the discussion forward..

  95. Folks in MV,

    Do not let Donald ruin your ties with Dialog. He has already done it with your other admirers by riding on Horizon on his infamous language issue. Now he tries to barge in your project to get cheap publicity. He may have helped you guys. But he has also caused you heavy damages too. For instance, I wanted to visit you guys but I gave it up simply because of Donald’s involvement in your project.

    As for the tower problem. Dialog people are not fools. They must have selected a location which is a central point to the village. Besides with the pics I saw, Horizon tower cannot be that strong and tall enough to serve the purpose.

    Do not let Donald to destroy your project. He has discouraged many of your admirers in IT world by making enemies for you guys. VK had nothing against you guys. There is no logic why he should be against you. He must have done all those things for the simple reason that Donald was with you. All VK wanted was to be a part of MV. He couldn’t do so because of Donald. Donald is a walking disaster.

  96. Quote
    esides with the pics I saw, Horizon tower cannot be that strong and tall enough to serve the purpose.
    Unquote

    Hey Mr Advice When Horizon paid the funds to built the tower we were told that It could be used for other communication dishes.

    Let someone responsible tell the correct story. Whether it was the location if so why. What was the technical problem etc.

    This is a feed back when we do other projects we have to correct this problem

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  97. Let us minimize the confusion here. Dialog visited Mahavilachchiya as soon as the tower was built and see the feasibility of installing a base antenna on the tower. Having discovered that the tower lacks the height and/or strength to install a base antenna, they provided coverage to Horizon Lanka and the immediate environment. This was a big service as that was something unexpected at that time since most of the cities too were not covered by then.

    Dialog has contributed a lot ever since they came to know about Horizon and so have some other companies, individuals and organizations. The last thing the village wants to see is any confusions, controversies and confrontations over Mahavilachchiya. Success of Mahavilachchiya is a joint achievement. Individual glory is not appreciated in Mahavilachchiya. Mahavilachchiya is where it is today due to the contributions of students, staff, parents, villagers, donors, well-wishers, journalists and critics. Mahavilachchiya equally respect all these types of people.

  98. Well, there are so many important issues to discuss other than the height of the Horizon tower.

    Can somebody from Dialog answer this question?

    Are there any other similar rural areas you guys have provided mobile facilities? (I mean very remote areas like Mahavilachchiya, where you might not find enough volume right now, but will anyway do so thinking about the future market?)

    Just curious. (No, I am not from Mobitel or Celltel!) :-)

  99. Donald Gaminitillake

    When I paid advance to Lanka com to put up the Tower the staff member clearly told that this tower could be used for “SUNTEL” or “Dialog” base antenna. I think we paid from Donor funds close to Rs 250,000 to put that Tower.Plus another 250,000 for the equipments etc.

    LankaCom staff further told by permitting “SUNTEL” or “Dialog” to use this tower Horizon will be able to get some extra income. The intention of this Tower was a future investment for Horizon not a white elephant.

    The immediate vicinity cover was given because of the range (32 odd km from Apura) problem and vegetation density (around MV was very high and the signal becomes weak). Signal will not reach the ground level. That is why at one time we all had to go to the Vilachchiya Tank Bank or Climb into Thanthirimale Temple rock to get the signal.

    Anyway lets us get a comment from Dialog for the 104 posting

    Donald Gaminitillake

  100. Donald,

    Please do not make this thread a bitter, useless one with your stupid remarks. You have showed enough how stupid you are to the whole world. So, don’t repeat the same question. Others speak of more useful things to MV and whole island here.

    If you have a question write a letter to Dialog. Dialog or any other has no commitment to answer the questions on a blog. You know this well. But you will keep repeating your question till you die. You can write, phone or personally meet Dialog people. But don’t make a fool of yourself by pretending you are a representative of MV. You will ruin their future with Dialog too. You can raise a question as a concerned citizen.

    All you want to show is you are part of MV here at a time you have been given the boot due to your extreme stupidity according to some comments in this blog. Accept the truth. You are being chased out of all platforms. Everyone is shutting doors to you because of your stupidity.

    In this thread you have hinted that the new press stories about MV don’t carry your name. The intelligent people don’t help to get publicity.

    Please don’t make this blog utterly useless by your stupid presence here. It is high time you started your own blog so all the stupid people around the world can blog with you.

  101. "e-Village in the jungle"

    Interesting caption. Shouldn’t admin use this as the caption for this thread now? This appeared on “The Nation” on December 3, 2006

    http://www.nation.lk/2006/12/03/eyefea1.htm

    “e-Village in the jungle”

    The humbleness and abject poverty of the people of Ceylon were themes Leonard Woolf touched when he wrote his famous novel, ‘Village in the jungle’, many decades ago. Even in this era of modern technology, there are numerous such isolated villages in Sri Lanka, which are locked in time and far removed from the outside world. Ashoka Weerasinghe of our sister paper Rivira, went in search of one such village, situated in an isolated corner of the Anuradhapura district. Though from the exterior this village is typical of any such ‘village in the jungle’, when one takes a closer look the differences are startling. Due to the vision and dedication of a young English master who came to the village a few years ago, the place has now evolved in to an e-Village, connected to the world through the internet and boasting of an IT centre where dozens of village children learn the skills they will need to compete in this Information Age.

    Even after arriving at Anuradhapura, following an arduous journey, we had more than four kilometres left to travel to reach our destination. The road rapidly deteriorated once we moved out from the ancient capital and after a while became a hazardous path full of potholes. The mere skeletons of houses on either side of this rural road were good indicators of the average wealth of the people in the region. Seeing the pathetic conditions in the area, it was clear that this region had been forgotten by the authorities, both political and administrative, for a very long time.
    We were stopped at a military checkpoint where we were asked about our destination. “On our way to the Horizon Lanka” was our answer and the security men seemed immediately satisfied, allowing us to proceed without any further questions. We finally reached our destination, several kilometres after passing the Mannar junction. We had arrived at Sri Lanka’s first and only e-Village situated at Mahavillachchiya.
    It does not take long for a visitor to realise that Mahavillachchiya is far removed from the material comforts familiar to us. Though it is named as a model village with internet facilities and computers, these are not immediately visible from the exterior. Instead, what is seen is the abject poverty of the village. The tumbling shacks, the pothole filled roads and the absolute isolation are more visible to an outsider than anything else. Ninety five percent of the village’s inhabitants are farmers making a meagre living if the rain gods are kind to them.
    Though politicians frequent this isolated hamlet during election time, they are now as rare as proper houses in this impoverished village. It seems that the farmers cultivate their lands more out of habit, since it is the only option they have to make a living. Even though the people in this area are undergoing numerous hardships just to make ends meet, they all greeted us with warm smiles, which made us feel welcome in their remote village. Following the warmth of their smiles we went in search of the beginnings of this Horizon Lanka, a venture which has revolutionalised rural life in this village.
    The humble beginnings of the project go back to 1998, when a young English teacher got an appointment to the village school. Nandasiri Vanninayake who hailed from the same region had to undergo numerous difficulties to educate himself, in the English language. The young teacher commenced his work with much zeal even though he had to teach under a tree most of the time. Many teachers who were appointed to the Saliayamala Vidyalaya, were looking for transfers to better areas from the moment they arrived. Vanninayake however was different. He was determined to make a difference with his young charges. With time the school got a computer as a donation. The English teacher voluntered to double as the computer master as well. Using this computer, Vanninayake designed a website called ‘Horizon Lanka’. The village did not have internet access. Nor did it have telephone lines at that time. The students and the teacher had to travel to Anuradhapura to carry out their work on the website.
    During these years Vanninayake and his students used to come to Anuradhapura, and even Colombo, for English workshops. The rural students were astonished with the level of facilities enjoyed by their city counterparts. They learned much from their enthusiastic master about computers and English during these visits. Many of the students in this remote corner of Sri Lanka, passed their English language paper at the Ordinary Level exam thanks to the tireless efforts of their teacher. Five years after arriving at Mahavillachchiya, Vanninayake decided to quit his job as a school teacher in order to concentrate promoting Information Technology in the village.
    The biggest challenge Vanninayake faced was to get internet facilities to the village which did not even have a telephone connection. By this time he had received a substantial amount of funds from various foreign donors who had read about the Horizon Lanka project through the internet. The website http://www.horizonlanka.org gave details of the proposed IT projects. The former teacher used to come to Colombo with his laptop and work on his future plans. He managed to raise Rs 500,000 through donations. The money was required to acquire the RLL radio link network. A tower was constructed, which allowed communication between Mahavillachchiya and Anuradhapura, giving internet access to the village. A young British lady who had come to Mahavillachchiya as a teacher had been very impressed by this initiative and convinced her parents to fund a building to house an IT centre.
    As a result of the generosity of the young lady’s parents, Mahavilachchiya received a two storeyed IT centre while the communications tower connected this remote village to the World Wide Web. The place now named the Horizon Lanka Centre provides the opportunity for students of different ages to familiarise themselves with the internet and computers. After school and during weekends, youngsters throng to this place to experience this new technology. Under the watchful guidance of Vanninayake, children as young as six are now using this facility. Most of them are improving their English language skills thanks to the centre. Some students frequently come for workshops held in Colombo. Computers and English which were once the privileges of city children are now being mastered by their less affluent counterparts at Mahavillachchiya. Currently nearly 100 students are using the facilities at the Horizon Lanka Centre.
    Vanninayake did not stop at constructing the IT centre. He had a dream of providing computers to the children at their homes, from where they could access the internet. With funding coming from abroad, he managed to build four more RLL radio link towers in the village while providing 28 households with computers. Two more schools in the area were also provided with the facilities and even the Mahavillachchiya police station now uses the internet. This is a far cry from the other police stations in the area.
    Meanwhile, many have now volunteered to work at the Horizen Lanka Centre, among them being Vanninayake’s own English teacher, Ranjith Pushpakumara. “We hope to expand this scheme to give a broad professional knowledge to the students,” says Vanninayake who hopes that the students can eventually find jobs in the IT sector. The pioneer of the project says that the teaching methods at his centre are very different, where the children are given an opportunity for a hands on experience. Over 50% of the students are provided a grant in the form of a scholarship. With donations from well wishers, the staff has managed to include this money in a scheme called microscholarships, for the duration of time, the students are learning at the centre.
    We were able to talk to some of the youngsters, enthusiastically working at their computers. Isuri Nirmani who is in year seven was actively involved in making her bio data when we met her. “I’m learning PowerPoint, Word and web designing software,” said the bubbly 11-year-old. She was joined by several of her friends who shared their experiences with us. These youngsters are now sending e-mails to their friends just as any average kid familiar with the internet.
    The ambitious young team running the Horizon Lanka Centre are aspiring for greater heights. They have plans on the pipelines to give an opportunity for the farmers in the area to come online to sell their produce. An impossible venture some might say but that would have been the same thought which many would have expressed if they were told two years ago that someone hopes to provide internet facilities to a village in the Anuradhapura jungles.
    “I believe that our opportunities are limited because of the lack of technology and the knowledge of the English language, ” says Nandasiri Vanninayake.“As a teacher I didn’t want to limit my students’ knowledge to books. That’s why I see English and technology as the gateway to the future.”
    We wish this dynamic young man, his staff and most importantly the students under their care, the very best. May their example be a source of inspiration to others.

  102. Donald Gaminitillake

    The Tower was built with Donor funds.
    Everything has to be transparent and should have an accountability
    If there is a problem it has to be corrected and the leader should have some responsibility to tell the truth.

    Donald Gaminitillake

  103. Dialog shares our tower in Mahawilachchiya. Lanka Bell built a massive tower to enable Mahawilachchiya, Tantirimale and Elayapattuwa to get a broader CDMA coverage. Dialog shared this tower.

  104. Donald Gaminitillake

    Thanks Lanka Bell that gives a proper explanation. This is a correct answer for the Donors.

    Donald Gaminitillake

  105. Donald Gaminitillake

    Dialog came after Lanka Bells CDMA. Credits should go to Lanka Bell.
    Good competition. Dialog could have had the monopoly in this area if they fixed the base at the Horizon Tower three years ago.
    Donald Gaminitillake

  106. “The road rapidly deteriorated once we moved out from the ancient capital and after a while became a hazardous path full of potholes.” Quote from Nation article.

    According to this the roads to MV is not yet done!!!! What does the government do then??????? didn’t high ranking government officers visit this place recently?????

  107. Folks I’ve seen a quite a lot of dilly dallying over Dialog and the existing LankaCom tower at MV, Can we move ahead please possibly look at VOIP on OpenSource perhaps (on Asterisk or simmilar stuff), Why not give some thought for deploying a pilot VOIP project in MV since the connectivitry is available, Probably we could rope in the police and the security posts for testig out the the VOIP connectivity since these are the guys who really need to be in touch with their respective base stations. Also I hear that ICT is really a hot
    topic among the various service personnel in MV,

    If Dialog has covered MV fully then hats off to all at dialog and Thankyou, it was a sad sight to see the villagers carrying mobile phones even in the middle of the night comeing over to the Horizon premises to get a decent signal some time back, and now all that would change for EVER….

    Thx,

    Revantha

  108. Revantha,

    Let us not make Mahavilachchiya a test bed for all the ideas we all have in mind. Please let them develop their own models. They will find the way they want to move rather than we in Colombo going an implementing our own ideas there.

    There are 250 Nenasalas established (according to ICTA) and I believe you can try your idea of implementing a VOIP pilot at one of those.

  109. Mahavilachchiya,

    Please dont forget the Mesh Network it self at MV was a pilot test bed, so your arguement is grossly incorrect…and at the end of the day please remember it’s a collaborative effort for all us to move ahead..

    thx.

  110. Revantha,

    Many wants to see Mahavilachchiya to fall and the limelight to be taken out of MV. People can’t stand success of MV because they are not involved. Ask ICTA to see if any of the nenasalas has been able to provide pcs to homes or do any remarkable change in those villages.

  111. It is interesting to see how people want to exploit Mahavilachchiya to test all their business ideas. Because they know it has already gained some publicity and they can easily piggyback on that publicity instead of doing something new.

    Now Mahavilachchiya has been used for so many pilots, this is the right time to move these pilots to other places rather than blowing Mahavilachchiya to proportions it cannot tolerate.

    Is this the only e-village in Sri Lanka one can use to test ones pilots? I am sure there are many similar test beds but nobody wants to use them because those sites are not that popular and it is not possible to piggyback on already created publicity.

    Be innovative guys. Instead of depending on others work, do your home work and develop the other villages in Sri Lanka to the level of Mahavilachchiya. This is only one. You have 20,000 more villages to do anything you want.

    Otherwise Mahavilachchiya will become a poor patient whom every doctor wants to use his new drug.

    I am sure last thing everyone of us wants Mahavilachchiya to become is the pilot test bed village in Sri Lanka.

  112. Mahavilachchiya ,

    Just adding my two cents to the ongoing discussion “you are lost in your own little world”. I doubt whether any of ideas were exchange were done with the ultimate goal of exploiting MV, but rather with an ambitious plan to induce new and emmergeing technologies to the betterment of the rural folks… so over to you…

    thx

  113. http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2006/12/24/mag06.asp

    Mahavilachchiya.net – The future of the meshed up e-village

    One of the most talked about topics in ICT4D today is the Mahavilachchiya project. A joint venture by Horizon Lanka and ICTA, it is slated to be the first model e-village in Sri Lanka. The village which doesn’t even have fixed telephone coverage, is connected to the Internet, 24/7, by a wireless mesh technology. The decentralized and relatively inexpensive mesh happens to be the first wireless outdoor network to be implemented in Sri Lanka.

    So far Horizon Lanka has helped to furnish over 30 homes with used desktop computers which the villages help themselves to access the Internet. One of the immediate outcomes is that the children have started browsing for information to help them with their studies and have started using VoIP.

    The older generation has started reading Sinhala and Tamil newspapers. (There are some interesting videos on you tube composed by the children – visit youtube.com and search for Mahavilachchiya)

    When the project was first proposed in December 2004, the project objectives included an E-channelling and hospital connection, facilitating the search of employment opportunities, community chat, connectivity between institutions and people, and even an online market for whole sale buyers.

    Therefore, in spite the great leap taken forward in implementing this rural e-village (and acknowledging it all the way), Mahavilachchiya still has a long way to go. And if it’s going to sustain after consuming the given grants, then villages need to be given a better reason to access the internet than just browsing information and reading the news.

    The most important facet to realize is that Mahavilachchiya cannot hold by itself. The Internet has an impact of the quality of life only when it’s backed up by services directly related to the villagers well being. Government services have to be accessible via the Internet, people related to the village have to be connected and contactable via the Internet and similar peer communities should be brought up simultaneously so that the villages don’t feel alienated inside the web.

    From language issues to IT awareness, it’s not an easy task to initiate an e-village from scratch. Good will and infra-structure is an excellent starting point for now, and Horizon Lanka’s past efforts in providing education for the children in Mahavilachchiya in an unconventional way must have been an inspirational factor in convincing the villages to embrace the new change as well.

    But in terms of e-governance, e-services and e-community the rest of the country is far behind and desperately needs to keep up, otherwise the efforts in Mahavilachchiya would be in vain.

  114. Mahavilachchiya Blog

    A separate blog about Mahavilachchiya.net Model eVillage is at http://blog.mahavilachchiya.net/ is available. Please visit this blog and help improve the work in Mahavilachchiya

  115. President stresses integrated village development – Mahavilachchiya again in the picture. This appeared on Daily news today.

    President stresses integrated village development

    Rohan MATHES

    COLOMBO: President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted that the ‘Gama Neguma’ (Village Upliftment) programme should be based on a coordinated and focused effort of all the development projects undertaken by the ministry and its departments, to a selected village, instead of simultaneous development projects spread among many villages on an ad hoc basis.

    President Rajapaksa made this assertion when he addressed the Divisional Secretaries as part of a ‘Awareness’ programme for the ‘Gama Neguma’ project, with a large gathering present, comprising Religious Dignitaries, Cabinet and Non-Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers, Parliamentarians, Ministry Secretaries, District Secretaries and Local Body officials among others at the BMICH yesterday.

    “In the past, we have made a ‘Wewa’ in a village, a road in another, and a school in yet another village and by so doing, permitted the development work to spread haphazardly in an unsystematic manner.

    By our new exercise we intend to focus our attention to all the development needs of one selected village, as part of an integrated village development plan.

    The Central Government has not obtained the services of the Pradeshiya Sabha members in their village development projects in the past. These members being the best leaders at village level, I expect to obtain their fullest input under the ‘Gama Neguma’ programme.

    However, we should not confine our services solely to our offices, but extend our fullest cooperation to the work of others too”, he said.

    He stressed the importance of deploying the available funds based on the needs and the priorities of the villages. The establishment of “Jana Sabhas” at village level as envisioned in the ‘Mahinda Chintana’ was also to ensure ‘Peoples’ participation to its optimum.

    The failure or weakening of “Jana Sabhas” will again bring back a situation where unplanned, ad hoc and miniature development projects here and there will dominate. The needs of contractors and other unscrupulous elements would be catered for, to the detriment of true village development then.

    The President further said that with the budget for 2007, under the Mahinda Chintanaya, a ‘Ten Year Horizon Development Framework 2006-2016 was also presented. This ten year framework envisages an infrastructure, economic and livelihood development to build a prosperous and vibrant village and bring about a renaissance in village life.

    Despite the agitation elsewhere in the country urging development, the development of the Western Province only policy in the past, drove these once prosperous villages and its people to starvation and malnutrition and paved the way for our nation to live on others.

    Due to a lack of a proper national policy which resulted in abject poverty in the villages, there had been a massive influx of people into the cities.

    Under the ‘Gama Neguma’ programme, development has already begun in Moneragala, Siyabalanduwa and Jayaminigama with great success.

    “Development work is already underway in 119 selected villages, out of the 119, most poorest Divisional Secretariat divisions in the country. I firmly believe there will be a marked progress in them. We as politicians and other officials should unitedly extend our fullest support to these endeavours. The Village Livelihood Ministry per se was formed to coordinate these efforts”, he said.

    The President was of the view that the ‘Nenasella’ project would have to play a pivotal role in the ‘Gama Neguma’ concept. By further taking this concept forward, the concept of an ‘E-Village’, or the Empowered -Village, for which Rs. 100 million has been allocated in the 2007 budget, would be made a reality.

    Information Technology (IT) could penetrate further into the village for its betterment, taking the success story of ‘Mahawilachchi’ programme in the Anuradhapura District.

    By using the Internet facilities, the villagers would have the opportunity of enhancing their livelihoods in the agricultural sector by having access to world markets and scientific information among others.

    The relevant government officials should offer a courteous, efficient, speedy and friendly service to its village clientele at all times. The office and its premises should be clean and should provide basic sanitation and hygienic facilities such as clean toilets.

    The Respective Divisional Secretaries should also manage and supervise the work of their subordinates to ensure a satisfactory service to the public. They should be adequately trained on a continuous basis to perform their duties in a satisfactory manner.

    The Divisional Secretariats should coordinate with the Provincial Councils to work as one administrative and management network for mutual benefit.

    The Public Administration Reform Board will be established soon. A Presidential Task Force on Productivity will also be established simultaneously.

    By incorporating all these schemes to uplift the livelihoods of innocent villagers, we will eradicate their poverty and suffering. As envisioned in the ‘Mahinda Chintanaya’, we will develop the entire country by initially developing the village”, the President added.

    Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, IGP Victor Perera, Speaker of Parliament W.J.M. Lokubandara, Rural Livelihood Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara and President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga also spoke.

  116. From Horizon website

    From Horizon website. Looks wonderful report

    Dialog Telekom Provides Mobile Coverage to Mahavilachchiya

    December 25, 2006
    Buddhika Prasad Hettiarachchi buddhika@horizonlanka.org

    Villagers in Mahavilachchiya are very happy to receive Dialog Telekom’s mobile phone coverage to entire village from the night of December 18, 2006. Dialog is the first and only mobile network provider in Mahavilachchiya. Even bigger towns like Mihintale are yet to get Dialog coverage. Dialog provided coverage to Mahavilachchiya to appreciate what we are doing for community development through Horizon Lanka Foundation. The whole village thanks Dialog for covering the village.

    Horizon Lanka Foundation was established in 1998. However, the village was suffering without proper communication facilities those days. We just used a mobile phone fixing it to an antenna on the roof of Horizon Lanka computer lab. But it was not enough for us to accomplish our communication needs. As a result, we missed many opportunities that could have come in our way. Lack of communication facilities is not just a problem for Horizon Lanka only. Since many of the villagers are farmers they wanted to maintain constant contact with outside markets. Similarly many other basic requirements are not sufficient or available in Mahavilachchiya. Health and transport can also be included in this group.

    But communication stands above all others. Villagers had to travel few kilometers even in emergency to get a phone call. They also had to pay a high price for a call. The land line connection was just up to Pemaduwa town. Many villagers had to wait for several hours for an incoming call from somewhere. It was a frequent scene to see a villager or two in Mahavilachchiya tank bund to get a call or to receive a call on a specified time as it was the only location in the village to have some decent coverage. Tank bund was tall and signals from Anuradhapura town which is 40 kms away were received to the tank bund. Telegrams are also going by snail mail up to Anuradhapura.

    Mr Mothilal De Silva, the General Manager of the Dialog Telekom, visited Horizon Lanka in 2002. It was a great occasion for us and it increased our hopes about a proper communication system. He promised to see the feasibility of covering Mahavilachchiya. It was found out that the dialog coverage is 35 km beyond Mahavilachchiya. So we had to wait longer.

    Horizon Lanka staff used Dialog mobile phones for communication purposes when they were outside the village and had to pay high charges. As a result a big amount from the annual budget had to be allocated for communication. That cost was an unbearable for a growing Horizon Lanka. In 2003, Dialog Telecom lent a hand to us by providing us with 5 special low cost incoming free packages. This was of immense use to the staff of HLF and could cut down on the communication budget to a considerable extent.

    Still no network service provider could cover Mahavilachchiya area. Then Dialog installed a repeater which collected signals from Anuradhapura and distributed within a 50 meter radius around Horizon internet tower. Many people could be seen around the Horizon Lanka premises using their mobile phones to call their friends, relatives and business partners. The repeater was of immense use not only to Horizon Lanka but also to many villagers.

    Since December 18, the whole village enjoys the mobile coverage and now the farmers can communicate even from their rice fields to their households. This will make things easy for them. We hope the number of people using mobile phones will increase within next few months remarkable. We also hope that Dialog will enhance their assistance to the village by providing the villagers a special low cost package too.

  117. Explorers Foundation Awards 2004-2006

    Explorers Foundation Awards 2004-2006 http://www.explorersfoundation.org/pages/awards.html

    Explorers Foundation awards are intended to recognize and advance the work of individuals who through their vision and action contribute to a world fit for explorers. These awards have ranged from $5,000 to $500 U.S. dollars. During 2007 we expect to make another twenty awards. Eventually, we expect the evolving pattern of awards to reveal the importance of this question: How can we build and sustain a world fit for explorers and fit ourselves to inhabit such a world? Through our investments we expect to learn to answer this question with ever better vision, logic, and wisdom. If you share our belief that the character of the curious adventurer whose quests are governed by strong integrity is the heart of all possible civilizations, then please contact us about becoming a fellow investor. —Leif Smith, President, Explorers Foundation

    Nandasiri Wanninayaka “Wanni”, Sri Lanka, Horizon Lanka

    Wanni decided that the children of his rural village needed good education. He began with a few students, using a single bench as a classroom. After a few years the school had come to the point where it could make good use of full-time high-speed connection to the internet. The village is far from such a connection. A radio tower needed to be built. We helped fund it. The tower has been providing good service for a few years now.

    * Horizon Lanka Foundation – website
    * Horizon Lanka Academy – website
    * The High-Speed Internet Connection Tower – photo

    Henry Okiria, Soroti, Uganda, Learning Empowers Uganda
    Henry Okiria and Steve Elliott (board member) developed a plan to offer twenty farmers near Soroti a class on how to become bee keepers and to help them get started. We funded the class, the construction of hives, and the purchase of some initial supplies. Steve designed, printed and shipped labels for the honey jars. The bees worked pro-bono, happy to have new hives.

    * Graduates of the Bee-Keeping Class – photo
    * Teso’s All Natural Honey – Jar Labels – illustration

    James C. Bennett, The Anglosphere Institute, Lyons, Colorado
    Jim wrote a book, The Anglosphere Challenge, 2004, about the evolution and maintenance of boundaries among individuals and groups. Shortly after the publication of the book, a weblog, “Albion’s Seedlings”, was begun by Jim’s Anglosphere Institute. Our award recognizes the quality of this weblog.

    * “An Anglosphere Primer – Explorers Foundation glyph
    * “An Anglosphere Primer” – pdf file
    * Albion’s Seedlings – weblog
    * Bibliography accompanying The Anglosphere Challenge – pdf file

    Mark Frazier, Openworld, Inc., Washington, D.C.
    For many years Mark Frazier has pioneered the concept of free zones and has been involved in their development all over the world. Inspired by the work of Hernando de Soto, author of The Mystery of Capital, Mark devised a GPS & video camera enabled land registration system that could develop from the grass roots upward until inert capital latent in untitled property in land and structures could be brought to life as working assets.

    * Openworld, Inc. – website
    * Suggested Reading – webpage

    Jeff Rubin & Joni Sievert, Alliance for Holistic Aging, Denver, Colorado
    We are interested in inter-generational exchange of ideas and visions of use to explorers in many fields. Jeff & Joni are building an organization that can make a contribution.

    * Alliance for Holistic Aging – website

    Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, Vision in Action, San Pedro, California

    Yasuhiko Genku Kimura presented a lecture in Denver, November 8, 2006, “Authenic Thinking: The Basis for a Life of Passion”. This theme, in many forms and ways of speaking, goes to the heart of the emergence of freeorder, and will be the reason for many of our future investments. Yasuhiko generously spent a few days with us, during which time his presence provoked fascinating discussions.

    * Description of the Lecture – webpage
    * Vision in Action – website
    * Articles by Yasuhiko Genku Kimura – webpage

    .oOo.

  118. How come we do not find the name of Prof. V. K. Samaranayake there?

    According to what I have heard, he is the one who pioneered the Internet in Sri Lanka way back in 1980s, installed the first tele centre in Sri Lanka.

    HE is also the Guru of the CEO of Dialog Telecom. I have been also told every time Dialog starts a new project the CEO visits his guru touches the latter’s feet and gets his blessings. It is prof.Samaranayaka’s advices that have made what Dialog today.

    So he is the Sri Lankan who deserve this award most.

    Of course, there are several Indians you should include in the list.

  119. Is the above post by VKS himself?

    I do not think anyone else will make such a stupid statement.

    VKS has nothing to do with Dialog. It is a private company. What VKS has to do with it?

    Anyway, this is not a surprise actually because VKS needs some marks soon as his contract will come up for renewal in March. So he has started his self promotion.

  120. The recent Sirasa TV news item about Mahavilachchiya mesh project is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt1ZdfQVp7E

  121. Siripala,

    You do not know what you talk about. Prof. Samaranayake was not the person who wanted to stay at the ICTA for ever. He is also not the person who wasted all the public money.

    Do you know Manju Haththotuwa literary cried in front of the ICTA Board begging he should be allowed to stay even at one fourth of the salary he was paid earlier, because he was undergoing family problems and needs money? Do you call this professional? If he is a competent professional does he have to cry like that? Why cannot he still find a job?

    Prof. Samaranayake came to ICTA neither to stay for ever nor to earn money. He came to do a service to the country.

    Before Prof. Samaranayake came there ICTA was an entirely a Christian mission to promote the fundamentalism of Assembly of God. All the secretaries of ICTA at that time were Christians belong to Assembly of God. Can you deny this? It was Prof. Samaranayake who amended this situation.

    As I said so many times it is the Christian church that try to ridicule the good work of Prof. Samaranayake using their cat paws like that stupid man who barks in another thread everyday. He is angry with Prof. Samaranayake because prof. prevented him making him earn money from selling the Sinhala language.

    This is a Sinhalese Buddhist country and we do not allow every Tom Dick and Manju to exploit us the way they want.

    Please note that till Prof. Samaranayake is there he is not going to bend to the demands of the fundamentalist. He is a true Sinhalese Buddhist and he has proved it. We believe in him.

  122. Who says my dad will be the Chairman of ICTA forever?

    He will be there only till he dies one day, that too because I need hard cash to enjoy my life in USA.

  123. We will place objections for the extension

    God will hear it

    S17A 101-102 Section 12 (810)
    101

    To Moses
    We did give nine clear signs (2308)
    Ask children of Israel: When he come to them

    Pharaoh said to him
    O moses! I consider thee, Indeed to have been worked upon by sorcery…..

  124. Rasaputra's daughter

    Hi Dino’s son,

    If you think your dad will stay as ICTA Chairman till he dies, it is only wishful thinking.

    When my dad comes to ICTA very soon he will kick your dad out the same way your dad kicked Manju.

    Then my dad will rename the ‘Nenasala’ model as ‘Mihindu Nena Vimana’ and implement a telecentre at every public toilet in Sri Lanka, so users can surf while they are answering calls of nature.

  125. While Dino’s son and Rasaputra’s daughter are pulling each other’s ears, let me tell my story.

    My name is Nimal. I am Punchi Banda’s son. My father is a poor farmer. We (parents, myself, sister, an old grand mother, one old cow) live in a hamlet near Teldeniya. I go to the village school which does not have teachers for Science and Maths. (I do not talk about computers)

    In 2003, the government decided to launch the e-Sri Lanka program.

    According to what they said its aim was to bring the dividends of the information society to every village and every citizen of Sri Lanka.

    I assumed that when they say every village, it included my own and when they say every citizen, it included people like my father. I am not sure about this any more.

    In the early days, ICTA published a calendar with a photograph of a poor villager in the middle of a paddy field using a PDA. The villager looked like my father. I thought one day they would give a PDA to my father. However still my father did not receive the PDA. I think officers at ICTA have forgotten to send it to him.

    Then ICTA talked about ICT systems that can do away with the middleman in agriculture markets. They said that would result in a better price for poor farmers like my father. I was very happy to hear this. However, even today for the vegetables he produces my father is paid only one fifth of the price they are sold at the Manning market. We know nothing about computers, but for the greater part of the year my father is in the debt list of the village Mudalali. He still pays 30% ‘gini polee’ for the debts he takes.

    Then ICTA talked about building the RTN and providing us telephone facilities at low cost. I was jubilant to hear this. Then we had to travel 4 kms to take a phone call and I thought after RTN is set up we could take the calls from our home. Even yesterday my father travelled 4 kms to the village post office to take an urgent phone call.

    Then there were talks about Nenasalas. Hamuduruwo in the near by temple also got a Nenasala not because he knew anything about computers but he was an ardent supporter of the big politician of the ruling party. We were very happy because we thought that would open us the doors to the Global village. Initially few young men used the computers but when Hamuduruwo found they use it to watch porn he shouted at everyone and chased us out and closed the place. I do not know what happened to the computers.

    We do not know anything about e-government. Even last week my father has to travel 10 km to the Divisional Secretariat and bribe Rs. 500 to the peon and another Rs. 1,000 to the clerk to get a simple work done. He was asked to come back after three months to check whether it is done. These are the very efficient and effective e-government services we receive at our village.

    Before the launch of the e-Sri Lanka program the HR and Capacity Building in our village was done by Pieris sir, who had three computers installed in a small building previously used as a garage. He taught us how to write a letter in Microsoft Word, how to do a PowerPoint presentation and how to format a disk in DOS. When we could do that he gave us a diploma certificate. No internet or e-mail because all Pieris sir had was some 486 computers he had purchased from a second hand compute vendor. He continues to do the capacity building even after the e-Sri Lanka program. No change at all.

    Then the Government Information Centre. Funny thing happened when my mother’s brother dialled 1919 and asked whether his disabled son is eligible to get benefits under some welfare scheme. He was asked to go to the nearest Divisional Secretariat. Stupid man. He should have tried to do the things in the same old way instead of wasting money for phone calls.

    Of course, the e-Sri Lanka effort has paid dividends to a different crowd. I cannot deny that.

    For example, take Dino’s son. Nobody can argue that the life style of Dino’s son has not been improved by the introduction of the e-Sri Lanka program.

    Whenever Dino’s son takes his latest girl friend for a date to a star hotel in USA, he can think in gratitude that he received all such benefits because of the e-Sri Lanka program. If not for that, he could never have enjoyed the luxury life in USA which he enjoys today.

    If not for the World Bank and Samsung money, the meager pension his father as a retired academic would have been receiving would not have sufficed to sponsor Dino’s son in USA.

    If anyone wants a genuine case study about using ICTs for poverty alleviation, one has a very good one in Sri Lanka. Dino’s. After getting his post at ICTA Dino has been able to improve his income drastically. Nobody can beat him in the way he alleviated his poverty. Before coming to ICTA he had an old reconditioned car. Now he travels in a Prado. What a change. The power of ICTs. Thanks to e-Sri Lanka.

    So we can be at least happy that e-Sri Lanka has brought the dividends of the information society to at least some people, including Dino and his son.

    By the way, my name is not Nimal, but it does not matter if you have enjoyed the story.

  126. Village with a mesh network, but not a single telephone

  127. Sameera,

    Thank you for reminding the topic of this thread. You may think the posts are going against Dino here forgetting the original topic. But Dino was the main barrier for Mahavilachchiya and thousand of other villages. So, people stripping Dino in public cannot be stopped. Not only in villages Dino was the curse for the whole country. He should be stoned to death in public like they do in Arabian countries.

  128. 3 top Sri Lankan teachers qualify for Microsoft Regional Summit

    By Zazna Jihan

    A joint effort of the Ministry of Education and the Microsoft Sri Lanka (Pvt) Limited, the Innovative Teachers Competition 2007 crowned three teachers in the government schools and eligible to fly Cambodia Regional Summit.

    The three teachers are from Masapanna, Bandarawela and Trincomale.They have been selected as primary education, secondary education and Microsoft Special Prize categories respectively. Also nine teachers have been awarded from the primary education and 8 from the secondary education

    The Innovative Teachers Competition aims to encourage recognise and reward school teachers who take the initiative to make the best use of ICT in the classroom. Also this is to imperative to really harness the true potential of what IT can deliver to improve the way everybody live

    Speaking at the Award Ceremony the country manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka Sriyan De Silva Wijeyratne while congratulating the winners he said that the company’s effort is to take the Information Technology (IT) to the rural villages “We have invested 180 million rupees to educate students and teachers in IT,”he said and added that so far the Microsoft Sri Lanka have choose teachers only from the nine provinces but in future the Microsoft Sri Lanka will take the IT knowledge to every nook and corner of Sri Lanka.

    The zone education director in the Asia region of the Microsoft Company Wincent Squah.said that 101 countries have participated in this programme. “Sri Lanka probably stand in the second top country out of the region, and the participated teachers have done a fantastic job,” he said. He also said that this ICT would help them to raise the capacity of the teachers and levels and the students would be able to get the valuable knowledge of IT.

    The secretary of the Ministry of Education Ariyaratne Hewage said that in future they children in the rural villages also accomplish in the IT knowledge. “There would not be any digital divide in the country there fore a digital bridge will be built between village and city,” he said and request the teachers not only to satisfy with the achievements but also to bring the rural schools to a better extent.

  129. Comprehensive Government programmes addressing poverty- Secretary to President
    Ruwanthi Abeyakoon

    Lalith Weeratunga again stresses evillage – Daily News Yesterday. When does the real work start. It is said that dirty Sam is pulling his leg.

    World Bank
    Country Director
    Naoko Ishii
    Presidential
    Secretary Lalith Weeratunga

    POVERTY REDUCTION: The challenges of poverty reduction in Sri Lanka are not unreachable, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said at a dissemination workshop organised by the World Bank yesterday.

    “Government thinking of poverty reduction is in line with the World Bank poverty assessments. Poverty reduction should be on a scientific basis. Government will not focus on poverty elimination but on poverty reduction. The comprehensive programmes that come under Mahinda Chinthanaya are aimed at poverty reduction,” Weeratunga said.

    He pointed out that Mahinda Chinthanaya does not concentrate on urbanisation but on modernisation.

    “Modernisation will not destroy the sanity of the village. Taking IT to rural areas through Nenasala programmes are very successful. It has made an impact on the village population. In 2000 Budget, the idea of e-villages was proposed. Rs. 100 billion was allocated to develop e-villages while preserving culture and the environment of the village,” he said.

    “Gama Neguma is a holistic approach to the rural sector. Improving infrastructure such as supplying electricity, common telecommunication, drinking water and access roads are taking place under this project. Maga Neguma has embarked on using concrete to make the roads sustainable. At least one top school will also be established in each divisional secretariat”, Weeratunga explained.

    Weeratunga added that the Jathika Saviya which is in line with Gama Neguma will look at developing 4000 villages whilst improving enterprises to enhance the income of villagers.

    “The Government will also coordinate with all the sectors. The Ministers and Secretaries to the Ministries will monitor the projects.

    The Monitoring Committee at the Secretariat will monitor the major projects,” he said.

    World Bank Country Director Naoko Ishii said poverty reduction has been hampered by slow economic growth outside the Western Province.

    ” Sri Lanka needs to integrate the rural economy into the growth path enjoyed by the Western Province.

    Poverty reduction has been uneven in Sri Lanka. National poverty rate has been reduced from 26 per cent in 1990-91 to 23 percent in 2002.

    While urban poverty halved during this period, rural poverty declined by less that 5 percentage points and poverty in estates increased significantly,” she said. “The extent of poverty reduction in Sri Lanka will critically depend on how lagging regions and groups participate in the growth process.

    An important reason for slow growth outside the Western Province is stagnation in agriculture.

    Higher poverty is associate with areas characterised by low connectivity to towns and markets, and lack of access to electricity and quality human capital limit the growth of non-farm enterprises,” Senior Economist of the World Bank, Ambar Narayan said.

    He added that business networks and better planning of roads are essential for faster poverty reduction.

  130. I will not let an inch forward in this bloody evillage project as long as I live. Let anyone talk but I will not let this go off my hands.

  131. Prof Samaranayake has nothing to do in holting this project. It is done by a high level hand above the government who wants to see Wanni out of the project. A “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” Wanni can be the next abductee in line. Spare Prof in this case.

  132. Helaya,

    We know this “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” He is popularly known as “Batta” right?

  133. When
    “Batta” = “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”
    Helaya = Dino

  134. Batta Dino = End of Wanni and Mahavilachchiya

  135. I do not make the above post. Someone else had used my handle.

    Anyway, I am not surprised. There is a planned conspiracy by a mafia to chase off Prof. Samaranayake from ICTA. It is not difficult to recognise the dirty hands behind this heinous move.

    Before Prof. Samaranayake came there, ICTA was another arm of the Christian religious forces. Both Chairman and CEO were members of two fundamentalist Christian groups infamous for unethical conversions. I can provide more information about both of them if anyone wants. It was Prof. Samaranayake who demolished this Christian mafia and now the church tries its best to chase him out so that they can rule again.

    I do not think it is possible anymore. It is not P-Ranil who is in power. Mahinda feels the pulse of the people and knows who should be given the correct responsibilities. He, unlike P-Ranil know that this is a Sinhalese Buddhist country, and the invaders cannot play here.

    It is a pity that these forces use Wanni and Mahavilachchiya as cats paws to attack Prof. Samaranayake, who had always guided the Mahavilachchiya project to become what it is today.

    Prof. Sam, we are always with you. Please do not get discouraged by what these morons do.

    You are a true Sinhalese Buddhist and we are proud of you.

  136. Donald Gaminitillake

    Please do not mix any form of religion with Mahavilachchiya or IT.
    Every one knows what happen at the IT conference need not repeat the text over and over.
    It was the Christian missionary who did the first Sinhala English Dictionary Up to now we do not have a cross platform Sinhala e-Dictionary.

    Also it was Mr Manju’s hard work helped Mahavilachchiya. You got to appreciate Mr Manju’s contribution to Mahavilachchiya.

    If you visit the ICTA site now
    http://www.icta.lk/insidepages/ICTA/BOFD.asp
    You could still see Mr Manju seated on the Board of ICTA. (ICTA will change it later)

    I strongly say that the chairman of ICTA has to be changed unconditionally.

    Please do not comment on “for unethical conversions” the Sri Lankika buddhist priest goes abroad to propagate religion in other countries. You got to talk to non Buddhist public. Does this law reciprocate these events. Please avoid unpleasant position. Even Buddha preached to “Pasvaga mahanun” were they Buddhist? It is a very debatable issue. Helaya please do not talk on religion.

    This is the last comment on religion by me

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  137. Donald,

    The people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.

    In this country everything finally comes to the religion, but it was not fault of ours. It was due to the activities of the Christian mafia which tries to govern us.

    Do you think it was a coincidence that then Prime Minister, Minster of Science and Technology (who handled IT) and both Chairman and CEO were all Christians?

  138. Donald Gaminitillake

    Dear Helaya
    Even SWRD was born to a Christian family
    Have you seen the burial of Mrs B – She was given the last rights – To give Last rights she has to be a Christian.

    Donald

  139. Hei,

    If you brng me into this blog, that is the ned of you.

    Batta – You-Know-Who

  140. ‘ned’ of you means “END” of you

  141. Who is the Batta? Is he that political henchman friend of VKS who runs Lankapage? What this Batta had to do with Mahavilachchiya?

  142. I’m not too sure who Batta is. There are two Gamini Gunaratnes. One from LankaPage and the other is an MP. Which one are you refering to? Both are Batu sized.

  143. http://lankapage.wordpress.com/2006/09/03/ says

    “…..The other members of the delegation are Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Foreign Secretary H M G S Palihakkara, Head of the Peace Secretariat Palitha Kohona, Presidential Adviser Jayantha Dhanapala, Consultant to the President Gamini Gunaratne, Additional Secretary to the President Gamini Senerath, Coordinating Secretary to the President Vas Gunewardena and Public Relations Officer to the President S Rajapakse…………..

    Is this the guy???? How the hell did he become a consultant to the President. He was a hardcore UNP supporter. Refer to the Lanka Page archives during Ranil era….

  144. Read this interesting report. It is said that this is the same in Mahavilachchiya. A shameless Pradesheeya Sabha member is trying his best to impose a tax on the mesh network at a time TRC has already been paid a sum of 100,000 VAT for the project. What the PS member wants is to get a bribe by threatening to tax the mesh. Can a government and the private sector work to develop a country with these shameless people. It is said that Mobile companies are being asked bribes from the top level down to Grama Sewaka to start relay stations.

    Politicians cash in on mobile phone expansion

    by Shamindra Ferdinando http://www.island.lk/2007/03/02/news2.html

    Corrupt local government politicians and their henchmen are cashing in on the ongoing expansion of the mobile phone industry, brazenly demanding kickbacks in the form of camera phones in return for permission to set up relay stations.

    “They unashamedly demand the latest, in some instances to distribute among henchmen,” an industry source told The Island yesterday. He revealed the recent instance of a Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman demanding several mobile phones including the latest camera phones. His company has met the politician’s demand.

    Industry sources appreciated the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, an institution under President Mahinda Rajapakse’s purview, Defence Ministry and the Central Environmental Authority for facilitating their work. “Although we obtain the required approvals from government agencies, local government authorities continue to demand bribes,” the sources said.

    Approval by local authorities is required to set up relay stations. The sources said that the fierce competition among key industry players to expand their operations was being exploited by politicians. The industry has been forced to meet the demands of politicians for mobile phones, cash and goods. According to sources some demand phone companies to meet some requirement at government schools and other public service institutions.

  145. http://www.horizonlanka.org/news/moe_visit/index.html

    FACT-FINDING MISSION FROM MINISTRY OF EDUCATION OF SRI LANKA

    The Secretary to the Ministry of Education visits Mahavilachchiya

    Ranjith Gunarathne ranjith@mahavilachchiya.net (Updated: March 05, 2007)

    Horizon Lanka Foundation has been doing a great service to the education of the children and the youth in Mahavilachchiya area for the past eight odd years. Many individuals and organizations from other countries have noticed this service and have come forward to assist Horizon Lanka Foundation in numerous ways. They have donated learning and teaching materials such as books, CDs and DVDs and equipment like computers and electronic multimedia projectors etc and one of the donors, Mrs Lovina Charles from United Kingdom bought a 2 ½ acre land and built a two storey building for the Horizon Lanka Academy.

    Notwithstanding all this assistance from private organizations Horizon Lanka Foundation has been having a very hard time coping up with the problems of not having enough teachers and enough funding to cover the salaries of the teachers and other expenses. In spite of these obstacles, Horizon children have been obtaining very high grades for English at school tests and public exams. Unfortunately, for some reason, the fame of these remarkable achievements shown by our students has not reached the authorities that matter. However, the advent of the mesh internet technology has changed this scenario dramatically. Mesh has become a real head turner. These last two or three months we have had a lot of visitors who are interested in mesh internet technology; the installation and implementation of the mesh network and its potential in the role of e-learning, e-commerce and e-governance.

    Today we had the pleasure of welcoming a very important visitor to Mahavilachchiya and Horizon Lanka Foundation. This distinguished visitor is none other than the Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Mr. Ariyaratne Hewage. In fact, there were two VIPs from the Ministry. The other one is Mr. Anura Dissanayake, the Project Director of the Secondary Education Modernization Project, who is doing a lot to uplift ICT education in the public schools in the country.
    Mr W M Samarasinghe, the newly appointed Provincial Educational Director of Anuradhapura and the Zonal Director of Anuradhapura also joined the team to visit Horizon Lanka. Mr M. B. Illangasinghe, one of the teachers who taught English to Mr Wanni also joined the tour. He is to take up a teaching assignment at the HL Academy soon.

    They came with a team of Provincial Project Managers and School Computer Learning Center Managers of SchoolNet program to see how Horizon Lanka Academy works and how it improves the education of children and youth of Mahavilachchiya. Mr. Dissanayake, who is a genuine admirer of Horizon Lanka, said that his team wanted to learn from the experiences of Horizon Lanka Foundation about introducing ICT culture at the village level. He said “My team is ready to run an extra mile to help the surrounding community to improve their life standards. Those five are representing remote village settings in Uva, Southern, Central, Northwestern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.”

    Students of the Horizon Lanka Academy, clad in yellow T-shirts with Horizon logo, welcomed the visitors with a traditional sheaf of betel at the main gate. They watched enthusiastically while the Headmaster of Horizon Lanka Academy Mr. Ranjith Pushpakumara conducted the morning assembly. Then an officer from Sri Lanka Army took over and led the students to the nearby playground for PT.

    Mr. Nandasiri Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation introduced the staff of Horizon Lanka Foundation and other guests to the visitors and an informal meeting with the parents followed. The parents talked with the Secretary about their burning problems – mainly the shortage of teachers in public schools in the area. The principals of the schools in Mahavilachchiya area also talked about these issues. This is the first time a Secretary to the Ministry of Education visited Mahavilachchiya and Mr Hewage goes down in the annals of the history of Mahavilachchiya.

    Here, Mr Wanni introduced Mr R Dharmadasa, a former Principal of Thakshila School to Mr Hewage. Mr Dharmadasa, a retired Principal is the man who should get the credit of making Wanni a productive man since the latter’s childhood at Thakshila Public School till today as Wanni still seeks advice from his beloved head master when it matters most. Mr Dharmadasa is the Chief Advisor of the HL Academy’s Parents’ Association as well.

    The Secretary listened very patiently, most of the time nodding in agreement, to the villagers and the school principals. He said that he is not unaware of these issues; not limited to Mahavilachchiya area, and he is doing whatever is possible in his capacity to solve all these problems. Mr. Hewage further stated that the government is taking steps to recruit teachers from the same area to teach in local schools and they have to select a school from a list. Then they have no reason to ask for transfers to other areas as they work in the schools of their own choice. This idea was first discussed when Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Presidential Secretary, came to visit Mahavilachchiya and now it is being implemented. We are very fortunate to have officials who are true to their words and who take the responsibilities vested upon them seriously.

    Introducing Mr Dharmadasa

    Mr Hewage listening to the parents

    Mr. Hewage said he has a plan to build Teachers Quarters for the schools in a given area at a central location facilitating the teachers to live close to each other, which would help to overcome isolation and loneliness. This will place the teachers in a setting where they can work as a team, which will be very helpful in increasing the quality of their services. Mr. Wanni assured the parents and students who were present that he had full faith in officials like Mr. Hewage, who have a good vision, right attitudes and a genuine, keen interest in improving the level of education in Sri Lanka. He said it is due to the age-old laws, rules and regulations, which are not relevant in the present setup and the negative attitudes of certain officers in the middle management that the education is suffering. But Mr Hewage pointed out that creative officials and principals are shrewd enough to go between the lines when it comes to being practical in work to produce good results with the existing rules and regulations. It is not the circulars that slow down or disturb work but the people who are in those positions of making decisions.

    Mr. Hewage promised the parents that Mahavilachchiya will be given priority over all other areas because of the Model eVillage Project and fill all the teacher vacancies without any delay. He instructed the North Central Provincial Director of Education to take every step necessary to fulfill these needs. Mahavilachchiya also will be considered in selecting one of its schools as a prestigious “Isuru School” in time to come and will be provided all the necessary resources to the selected school.

    Then the team proceeded to the Computer Laboratory to watch some presentations. The first of these was the presentation on Horizon Lanka Foundation by the Founder/CEO Mr. Nandasiri Wanninayaka. He showed the visitors, through a very colorful multimedia presentation, the gigantic progress achieved by the Horizon Lanka Foundation starting from the events that led him to leave his job as an English Teacher at a government school. He impressed the audience with his diplomatic but forceful speech talking about the obstacles he had to overcome on his e-journey which took him to various parts of the world on a quest to learn the uses of ICT for rural community development, the result of which is the making of the first eVillage in Sri Lanka. He revealed his uncanny futuristic vision by telling the audience about his future plans, which include introducing Wi-Max technology to Mahavilachchiya and setting up of a satellite TV relay station to broadcast edutainment content through VHF/UHF channels to village households and public schools if he gets the official barriers cleared. (No one believed that mesh network would be possible when he first talked about it but it did become a reality and there is no reason why his other dreams should fail.)

    Next came the presentation by the senior students of Horizon Lanka Academy. They described the audience Horizon Lanka’s ICT plan.

    Mr. Ranjith Pushpakumara, the Headmaster of Horizon Lanka Academy, came forward to give a very informative presentation on how he managed to achieve these tremendous academic results, working in the Horizon Lanka Academy in Mahavilachchiya only on Saturdays and during school vacations as he is a teacher at a government school. He pointed out that he has allowed a lot of freedom for his young learners in the planning of his curriculum and his syllabi – especially the ICT syllabus – is more practical and activity oriented. He said he always strives to motivate the learners to self-learn using the hi-tech equipment available at the Horizon Lanka Academy. He went on to explain the importance of using this computer and multimedia equipment in a classroom environment where you teach a second language. He said that the assistance he got from foreign volunteers in teaching English at HL Academy was invaluable. He explained the importance of activity based teaching methods using sports, western music, and outdoor activities. These activities help to give the learners a sound English education and to motivate them towards active participation in the learning process. The group outdoor activities like Shramadana Campaigns help to inculcate positive attitudes in them. Then he talked about the present barriers that block his progress like the shortage of funds for the teachers’ salaries and the lack of trained teachers for ICT and coaches for sports.

    While the presentations were going on the villagers brought fresh young coconuts, which the visitors enjoyed drinking straight out of the nut. This is symbolic of the way Horizon Lanka Foundation has been operating since its inception. Embracing new technologies and making use of them to develop the village but keeping the traditional cultural values intact.

    The final presentation was done by Mr S. K. Nandana, the Principal of Thakshila Public School on how much the public schools in the area have achieved despite all odds. He convinced the audience that a lot can be achieved by utilizing what is available rather than waiting for manna from heaven. One can see this if one visits the school he has developed with the minimum resources he had. This was the same school where Mr Wanninayaka had his primary and secondary education. As a goodwill gesture, Horizon Lanka Foundation donated a totally free 24/7 internet connection to this school and another free mesh internet connection to Saliyamala Public School where Mr Wanninayaka did his first teaching job.

    After the presentations the visitors were invited to a sumptuous lunch comprising of red and white rice, curries of fresh vegetables straight from the village gardens and fresh water fish from the Mahavilachchiya reservoir followed by a dessert of fresh fruit. They enjoyed and admired the hospitality for which our villagers are world famous.

    The visitors were next taken to see the banana plantation using the new drip irrigation system. This banana plantation is a result of the hard labor of Mr. Shantha, a Home Guard attached to the Mahavilachchiya police post. He has worked in his spare time developing this piece of land owned by Mr. Harin de S Wijerathne, a long time donor of Horizon who has sacrificed a great deal of his time and money to assist Horizon Lanka Foundation to realize its dreams. Mr Harin’s idea is that to show the villagers the proper way of cultivating with the right technology and timely planning so that the other farmers in the village can learn from the pilot and become successful farmers. Mr. Hewage surprised all of us by showing his knowledge and interest in agricultural matters when he instructed as to how the weeding etc. should be done. He also promised to look into opportunities how Shantha, the farmer can be given further training with the Agricultural institutes in Bibile where a hybrid type of oranges and other fruits are grown.

    After that, the team was taken to see the mesh technology at work. This was undoubtedly the most important item in the agenda of the visiting team. They were very enthusiastic to learn how mesh works and the way it is being used in Mahavilachchiya. They were more than surprised by the technical awareness and the familiarity with the computers and internet these village students showed. Mr. Wanni explained to them how mesh was installed, how it works and what benefits a network like this can offer a rural village in the development process. All the Provincial Directors and Computer Learning Center Managers were very excited about this comparatively low cost solution for the connectivity at the village level. They were very impressed with the Business Process Outsourcing work the students are being trained to do. This BPO work enables them to earn a considerable amount of money working for companies in Sri Lanka, USA and Europe in their spare time, working from home using internet through mesh network. Ranuka Udayanga, a Grade 12 student showed the educational content site called Horizon Lanka Virtual Academy he has been developing for OpenWorld Learning, USA and the visitors were flabbergasted. These lessons are accessed by students worldwide, especially those who have less access to teachers physically. This idea of virtual academies are best suited to postwar countries such as Afghanistan, etc. and may be Sri Lanka’s North and East too in near future. Having lessons in a central server and enabling students island wide through WiMax technology wouldn’t be a dream within next few years to come. Dialog Telekom has already done a survey in Mahavilachchiya on feasibility of using WiMax.

    After seeing the marvelous achievements that Horizon Lanka Foundation had made possible in the village of Mahavilachchiya through ICT education and the introduction of mesh technology, the visitors returned to their vehicles visibly shaking their heads in disbelief. Then they returned to the Horizon Lanka premises and watched the boys playing a cricket match while girls were playing a soccer match. Mr. Ranjith Pushpakumara and some students were running a commentary in English over the PA system and it proved to be very interesting to the visiting team. Mr Ranjith was practicing what he preached in his presentation, using sports to improve English language skills. Mr. Hewage and Mr. Dissanayake spent some time talking with the students and they really enjoyed this experience. One student told the writer later that she felt scared at first when Mr. Hewage came and talked to her but that fear vanished soon. ‘How nice if all the big officials are so pleasant and approachable like Mr. Hewage’, she added.

    As the day was coming to an end, the visitors bid farewell to the members of Mahavilachchiya eVillage and Horizon Lanka Foundation. They reluctantly got into their vehicles to begin the long journey back home. These pioneers in ICT education from all over Sri Lanka had seen a lot, learned a lot and they definitely took with them the memory of an unforgettable experience, an inspiration that would help them spread the ICT culture they came into contact in Mahavilachchiya – the eVillage in the jungle.

  146. Horizon Kids on Intel Stage

    Watch the video clip of the presentation Horizon Lanka students and I did with Intel’s Chairman Dr. Craig Barret on December 2005 in Colombo. The video clip is uploaded to YouTube. Visit the website http://www.horizonlanka.org to access the video clip.

  147. Education and Failed States

    I don’t know how much this story is related to Mahavilachchiya thread. Still since MoE had visited the place, I hope there is some relevance. At least they can learn from Mahavilachchiya.

    Read the fllowing article which was on Daily Island today.

    Education and Failed States – An Addendum
    by Savimon Urugodawatta
    Executive Committee member,
    Central Colleges Past Pupils Association of Sri Lanka

    Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara

    The Editor of The Island has once again commented on a very important subject, namely Education, which is a vital aspect in the development of any country, for it is the corner stone of economic, cultural and spiritual development of a nation. In this instance, the Minister in charge of Education himself has openly and bravely come out with the actual situation when he says, “There is a break down of education management at all levels from Isurupaya downwards and that has taken its toll on the school system”.

    The Island in its editorial of March 5, has elaborated several points which have led to the decline in education, one among which is that “Examinations have undergone unwarranted changes and vital subjects have been dropped and reintroduced from time to time according to the whims and fancies of politicians”.

    As an addendum to the editorial comments of The island, I would like to touch upon some salient aspects, which have contributed to the present mess in education and also to the national problems that we are now struggling to solve today.

    It was a visionary like Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara , whom we call the ‘Father of Free Education’, who foresaw the problems the country would face after independence and prepared the groundwork to place the country on a sound footing. A few of the important reforms he carried out can be categorised as follows :

    1. Free Education for all, irrespective of caste, creed and wealth (and also age) so that children of all classes could gain knowledge in the school and develop their brotherhood to become useful citizens of the country.

    2. His education system evolved from the rural schools he experimented from Handessa in the 1930s and which were considered as a useful experiment in education in the whole of Asia.

    3. He established 54 Central Schools covering all the electorates of the time and equipped them with good and efficient Principals and teachers, hostels for scholars, laboratories, workshops, playgrounds, etc., which were then confined only to the Christian Missionary Schools and a few Buddhist denominational schools..

    4. He handpicked efficient and straightforward teachers to man these schools and gave them every encouragement to develop them, keeping a close eye on them. It was unfortunate that subsequently, such good Principals were promoted to be Directors of Education without grooming successors to take over. Such good and efficient Principals should have been kept in the schools, giving them the necessary perks in the school itself. We, representing the Central Colleges Past Pupils’ Association of Sri Lanka, brought this matter up with the National Education Commission in 1992. We brought to the notice of the Commission the dearth of good and efficient Principals to man the schools and requested the Commission to take suitable measures to train a cadre of Principals to take over from those who retire but so far nothing tangible has happened. .

    5. Kannangara brought the estate schools to the main stream of education and looked after the estate children as well, which fact won him the votes of the estate workers at Mathugama in 1947, whereas, in other electorates they voted against the UNP.

    6. He introduced science, agriculture, woodwork, pottery, leatherwork, music and dancing, book binding, etc., into the school curricula so that children, after leaving school, could be gainfully engaged in lucrative vocations.

    7. He established Resident Training Colleges to train the required teachers for the various subjects up to Senior level. These are non existent today.

    8. He streamlined the assisted schools belonging to different denominations by paying the teachers’ salaries direct to the teachers, thereby doing away with mishandling of government funds by school managers.

    9. He planned to establish Practical Schools for those who failed to go for higher studies and 8th standard selective test was planned for this purpose. The succeeding Ministers did not pay any heed to this matter.

    10. He introduced the medium of the mother tongue so that children could easily develop their thinking faculties, at the same time paying due attention to the teaching of English and Sinahla /Tamil.

    11. Thus, he laid the foundation for a classless and creedless society which was the aspiration of the progressives of the time.

    However, the elite class headed by Mr. D.S. Senanayake conspired to defeat him in 1947 election, and thereafter, did everything they could to obstruct and retard the Education Reforms that CWWK had very thoughtfully introduced in 1945. Dr. H.W. Howes was brought down from Gibraltar to be the Director of Education with the ultimate aim of strangling the Free Education system. This was done successfully and now we reap the benefits in the form of communal and economic problems that we are facing today.

    What ails the education

    system today

    Education administrators, guided by politicians without vision, carried out a number of operations in the body of education from time to time, thereby bringing forth the predicament that education has come to today. Some of the ill conceived reforms carried out can be enumerated as follows :

    a) In the early 1950s, there were 3 compulsory subjects for the Senior Level Examination, namely, First Language (mother tongue), Second Language (English/ Pali/ Sanskrit/ Tamil etc.) and Arithmetic or Mathematics. Subsequently, these were reduced to 2 subjects, namely, the First Language and Arithmetic/,Mathematics. Sinhalese Language and Literature (also Tamil Language and Literature) which were treated as 2 subjects were made in to one, making the students neither proficient in language nor in literature. This has resulted in the decline of the SInhala/ Tamil language even among the University Professors and Lecturers, leave alone teachers.

    b) With the coming into being of the Provincial Councils (which had only ruined the country and not even solved the problem for which they were established), the education became a devolved subject coming within the purview of the Provincial Councils. However, successive governments established another set of schools called National Schools administered by the line Ministry, without establishing adequate machinery to administer them. Due to this remote control system, most of the National Schools (including most Central Schools) are being neglected and today some of them had become more and more uncontrollable just as the Universities.

    c) There is no transfer system for Principals and teachers in both National schools and Provincial schools. Even if a Principal is found to be inefficient and corrupt, he cannot be replaced or transferred due to stringent procedures. If a Provincial school teacher wants a transfer to a national school, he has to go through 14 steps.

    d) In the days gone by, there were Boards of Survey carried out annually in every school and Administration, Finance, Inventories, methods of teaching, results at Public Exams, Sports, Environment etc. were all checked by a competent team from the Education Department. As far as I am aware, this vital aspect of education administration has been neglected. I am aware of a school where the Principal of the school has changed 4 times during a period of nearly 30 years, without Boards of Survey being held.

    e) The Navodaya Scholarship system which replaced the 5th Standard Scholarship Examination introduced by C W W K, has created a system of so-called Popular Schools, thereby uprooting the village children from their cultural environment and exposing them to a cosmopolitan culture. This was running counter to the Kannangara system which brought up children in their traditional environment. His vision was to develop decentralised centres of higher learning spread through out the country. It is a well known fact that most parents are only interested in their children only up to Grade 5 and thereafter, their destiny is left in the hands of the school teachers and tuition masters.

    Education in a

    f) The Tuition system, which has now become the canker in the whole education system, has come into being from the time the school curriculum and syllabuses were revised, leaving a gap between the O/ L syllabus and A/ L syllabus, bringing forth a set of Tuition Masters, who came in to fill in the gap, without which children could not follow A/ L classes. In our days, there was a continuity in the syllabuses from 6th Standard up to University level.

    g) International Schools – Education, which was considered a sacred subject from time immemorial, has now become a profitable venture as a result of the neglect of English language in the normal Govt. schools. (Closing down of the English Training colleges has led to this situation in a large way. The Vidhya Peethas, I feel, have not been able to fill that gap.) The overemphasis placed on the English medium by Politicians and Administrators, who had their children educated abroad, also had led to the mushrooming of these International schools. The elite class (including drug barons, uneducated Mudalalis and underworld kingpins) send their children to International schools, spending several millions of illicitly earned money, with the aim of making their children achieve what they themselves could not. These schools, registered under the Company Ordinance or as B O I Projects, bring up children in an atmosphere of an alien culture, imparting knowledge in subjects relevant to British Education system, much against the vision of Dr. C.W.W. Kannagara and against the existing Law of the Island pertaining to education.

    h) The underlying vision of these International schools was well manifested when reading a news item that appeared in the Daily News of Feb. 8th, under the heading ” 53 Lankan teens for 2007 Future Leaders Summit. ” According to this news release, of the 53 students selected to represent Sri Lanka at this Future Leaders summit to be held in Washington D.C., 50 are from International schools and only 3 from National schools ( 1 from Nalanda and 2 from Royal). It is pertinent to question the basis and criteria on which these students were selected. The release further says that these students are sponsored by their parents. This means that only those who can afford to bear the expenses can send their children to the Future Leaders Summit. This also means that students attending national schools have no chance of attending Future Leaders Summit. ( Poor folks have no chance of becoming Future Leaders in the country of their birth ! )

    Since Independence, Sri Lanka has undergone 3 Youth uprisings, namely, J V P uprisings of 1971 and 1989 and the Tamil Youth uprising in the 1980s. If the Kannangara Education system had been implemented in its entirety and in its true form, I feel that such situations would never have arisen. If Kannangara’s vision had been followed, the language problem, which was a precursor to the ethnic problem, would not have arisen.

    The Youth Commission appointed in 1990s to study the background to the youth uprisings and make suitable recommendations to avoid such things in future, had recommended the appointment of a National Education Commission to draft a National Education Policy , which may not be changed with the change of Governments, change of Ministers and change of Secretaries. This Commission, I feel, has miserably failed to address the real issues and advise the Governments on a prudent Education Policy, may be due to their failure to take independent decisions, without been dictated by the powers that be. Some times, the Commission has become dumping ground for political rejects at elections.

    I am of the opinion that the Government should pay their urgent attention to this problem of Education, as much as the current national problem, before the stage will be set for a further youth uprising.

  148. All lengthy pieces that deal with education in Sri Lanka essentially talk about the good old days, criticize new private initiatives and end with the admonition that government should pay its urgent attention to problems of education.

    Do these people live in the real world?

    Have these people had to deal with government lately in matters related to the education of their children, or any other issue for that matter? Do they have young children who need schooling? If their children have already had their schooling, where were they educated? How did they get those children into those schools? If they were lucky enough find a good school without pulling strings, lying or paying bribes, are those children able to do the same for the education of their own children? There should be a disclosure statement on the ‘education of one’s own progeny’ disclosure statement at the end of every education rant.

    Secondly, we only have anecdotes about international schools. It is time to get some representative statistics and opinion surveys from parents who send their children to those schools. I would not surprised if it turns out that there is a substantial number of parents who send their children to those schools because their social standing did not allow them entry to elite schools.

  149. Simon Urugodawatte belongs to the generation of leftists, who dominated in the Sri Lanka scene in the pre 1977. This generation died everywhere in the aftermath of the fall of Soviet system in early 1990s but unfortunately not in Sri Lanka, where we have one or two remaining relics preached us ‘bana’ from time to time.

    We should not take them seriously. These people still live in 1970s.

    .

  150. Over to you Mr Secretary of Education.

    From The Island, today http://www.island.lk/2007/03/14/features1.html

    Poor Standards of English – Whose fault?
    by Peter Melvyn

    Everyone wants to learn English and this has become a bonanza for hundreds of teachers to cash in by offering private classes. There’s a lot of money to be made and English language teachers and others have been quick to exploit the demand. At 200 rupees for a two hour session, it’s easy to rake in four to six thousand rupees, or as much as 25% or more of a teacher’s monthly salary for an easy morning’s work. Ironically, it is often the same teachers conducting these tuition classes as those teaching English in schools. If they are using the same failing methods, then the parents have been unwittingly deceived, and the students will make little or no progress. Parents do not question either the qualifications or competence of these teachers, and since most of the parents have few English language skills, how are they to judge?

    Why is it that after 11 years of daily English lessons at school so few exhibit any real knowledge in reading, writing and speaking the language? Surely there must be something wrong but few are willing to confront the situation or to apportion blame. It’s easy to blame the students for not studying and applying themselves to the lessons. Likewise, the teachers can be blamed for using poor teaching methods and lack of dedication. Principals, who all too often do not speak English, exhibit little influence over their teachers as long as they follow the prescribed syllabus. Divisional inspectors make very infrequent visits to schools, and when they do perform an inspection, it is little more than checking that the textbook units for the grade have been covered. These inspectors all too often have little insight into modern teaching methods and it is the “blind leading the blind”. Ultimately, it is the desk-bound officers at the Ministry of Education, and the N.I.E. who have the responsibility for syllabus, textbooks, and monitoring standards. How often they actually visit schools, especially in rural areas, to experience first-hand progress or lack of progress in English language, is questionable.

    In many aspects English should be easier to learn than many Asian and Oriental languages. First of all English writing is seen everywhere, and many words have become part of everyday language. In spoken and written English, a high percentage of basic words are single syllable.

    The boy, dog and cat are in the big house. When this sentence is translated to Sinhala or Tamil, it requires almost double the number of syllables. In fact very few words in Sinhala are single syllable. In English there are approximately 300 words that are CVC – consonant-vowel-consonant i.e. cat, dog, pot, tin, etc. using mainly 20 letters of the alphabet. In addition, many of the common verbs such as walk, hop, can, run, cook, read, look, etc. are also single syllable words. Contrast these with the words in Sinhala for boy, girl ,and other everyday words and it should be obvious that learning basic spoken English (and spelling), with far fewer syllables, must be relatively easier. Simple questions such as “what’s your name?” is far shorter than the Sinhala equivalent. With an alphabet of only 26 letters, there are many similarities: a, o, b, d, p, q, g and f, t, h, j, I, y. In urban and even rural areas, you don’t need to look far to see English words on shops, notices, and on the huge advertising boards polluting main roads.

    So why is it that so many students find it so difficult to become reasonably proficient in English? And why is it that the majority of teachers and civil servants have such a poor working knowledge of English? What has gone wrong and is still going wrong? With children the spoken language must precede reading and writing. This is fundamental educational theory and psychology. Yet most children begin their formal English in grade 3 with reading and writing. The very first page of the required government textbook contains 12 words for reading. The 256 pages teacher’s guide does not even suggest to practice asking students own names. Instead it focuses on stories with 4 children and 2 animals. Children are told to repeat the phrase “that’s my name”, – hardly useful or colloquial! In spite of the fact that the initial pages display lovely pictures of boys, girls, an elephant and a monkey, in the entire 132 pages only the word elephant appears and we have to wait until page 34 for this. The words for boy, girl, and monkey do not make an appearance! Yet the 15 joint authors, whom we assume are highly qualified English language teachers, did consider it necessary to include words such as rectangle, wound, stethoscope, saucer, syringe, handle, beautiful, and many other words that are more in keeping with “O” level standards. This initial textbook for grade 3 includes a vocabulary of almost 350 words.

    Is it any wonder that by grade 5 less than 10% of students have achieved the expected standard. The National Education Research and Evaluation Centre in a thorough research “Achievements after four years of schooling” was highly critical of the N.I.E. and concluded that “The low levels of mastery attainment (in English) call for comprehensive, systematic, and sustained strategies to accelerate attainment by quality improvement, in particular, by diagnostic and remedial interventions…serious attention should be focused on quality improvement in teaching and learning English”.

    Since the report was published in 2004 there have been numerous pronouncements by Ministers, Directors, and others both in the education departments and other institutions, yet the same system prevails. No one will take responsibility for this abysmal failing. They continue spending vast sums on new textbooks, seminars and ministerial expenses, either ignoring the situation they are fully aware of, or are totally unable to offer any practical solutions. If the Ministry of Education and the N.I.E. are unable to find quick and successful ways to remedy these failures, they must call upon the support of others with the necessary expertise. Meanwhile, the teachers and businessmen involved in private tuition, are happy with the present situation. International schools now educate over 200,000 students and the number of these schools are rapidly multiplying.

    It may be the expressed desired outcome that every child has equal access to quality education. However, some are more equal than others. Those parents who can afford a private education, or good tuition or can get their children into the top schools are confident that English standards will be high. Meanwhile, the majority will continue to spend 11 years of daily English lessons to little profit. At least that will ensure a healthy supply of plantation workers, housemaids, and labourers.

  151. I have a suggestion.

    Why not move the education related discussions to http://www.educationforum.lk?

    Sometime back we have had some good discussions there but now it looks like the site is deserted. (Some text even appear in Greek. I do not know why)

    Why not make that a dynamic space where we can discuss education related issues than cluttering the space here? (which is more towards ICTs)

    .

  152. That is a good idea. This space should be dedicated to sling mud at me.

  153. Life after Connectivity in Sri Lanka’s First e-Village

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/2007/03/14/ft/15.asp

    FINANCIAL TIMES

    Life after Connectivity in Sri Lanka’s First e-Village

    In the small jungle village of Mahavilachchiya, children rush home once school has ended for lunch and a rest. The scene is similar to that in villages across the country. However, the seemingly isolated, rural countryside can be misleading. The children in Mahavilachchiya, soon after arriving home, turn on their computers and check email, do research for their homework assignments, and read local news. Mahavilachchiya, a village 40 km from Anuradhapura, has the privilege of being Sri Lanka’s first e-village and boasts the highest computer density of any other village in the country. On November 4, 2006 Sri Lanka’s first outdoor mesh network was launched in the village bringing internet connectivity to 30 households and two schools.

    The Mahavilachchiya project was made possible through a partnership between a local NGO, the Horizon Lanka Foundation which has been educating the children of Mahavilachchiya in English and ICT for the past 10 years. The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) through a partnership with Enterprise Technology (Pvt) Ltd (ETPL) and a grant from the Pan Asia R&D Grants Program was responsible for the implementation of the project.

    According to ICTA “the primary objective of the project is to demonstrate the effective contribution of an IT infrastructure in accelerated socio-economic development.” The e-village project aims to increase opportunities for growth and provide a better quality of life for people in rural communities. In the three short months following its inception, the e-village in Mahavilachchiya has demonstrated that it is well on its way to achieving these goals and improving the lives of the people in the region.

    Comparing Mahavilachchiya with national ICT statistics demonstrates the uniqueness of the project. According to a report by the Dept. of Census and Statistics, the ICT literacy of Sri Lanka is only 10% of the population. In Mahavilachchiya the Horizon Lanka Academy has provided numerous students with access to ICT. The Foundation also features laptops, internet connectivity and an extensive computer lab; resources found in less than 10% of Sri Lankan schools and previously only available in affluent areas. The e-village project is not only setting a new standard for the nation but also for other countries seeking solutions to bridge the digital divide.

    A survey conducted by ICTA in January, 2007 found that students in Mahavilachchiya use the internet in various ways including communication, help with homework, and access to donors and businesses. Students surveyed had diverse career goals and the marketable skills to ensure their success. Thanks to the arrival of mesh technology the village has been working towards economic development and is currently working with a BPO to bring jobs to the region and training has already been provided for some in the village.

    While the e-village has been a huge achievement so far, the Mahavilachchiya success story is far from over. The next step involves the creation of future e villages and nurturing their progress. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has included funds for replicating the e-Village in the 2007 budget. Through studying the Mahavilachchiya pilot project it is hoped that e-villages can be successfully replicated throughout Sri Lanka.

  154. I think this article goes well with both Mahavilachchiya, eSri Lanka. Not to mention donald’s language problem too.

    `Duplicate and Unavailable’: How Internet Bypasses Ugandan Farmers
    PANOS (London)

    Jennifer Bakyawa
    Kampala

    When Uganda joined the internet bandwagon less than a decade ago it
    had hopes of delivering important information to farmers. It hasn’t
    worked out that way: much of the information bypasses farmers (many
    of them are too poor to access the internet) and there is a general
    lack of coherence in the way they are presented.

    It’s been less than a decade since Uganda – along with scores of
    other developing countries – began using the Internet as a means of
    delivering agricultural information to farmers. Now there is
    increasing evidence that the technology remains beyond the reach of
    many farmers.

    In the late 1990s, it seemed like a good idea – and a cheap one too –
    to extend the Internet to rural Uganda. Several donors
    enthusiastically jumped on the Internet bandwagon and funded websites
    and telecentres catering to farmers.

    Experts argued that improving farmers’ access to the latest
    agricultural information through modern technologies would increase
    agricultural production – without information on markets farmers were
    unable to decide what crops to grow, which in turn lowered their
    power to bargain for better prices.

    Across the country, telecentres were established – a typical one had
    one or two computers and telephone lines set up in a small room.
    Farmers had to subscribe to be members.

    Now a paper written by researchers at the International Institute for
    Communication and Development at The Hague says that although the
    Internet has “drastically changed” the information landscape in the
    field of agriculture and natural resources, the information is
    scattered across the Internet and not organised in a way most
    relevant to farmers.

    The targeted users, such as small farmers, often have problems
    finding and accessing relevant information in usable formats, the
    researchers say.

    Emily Arayo, media liaison officer at the International Institute of
    Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a nongovernmental organisation in
    Kampala agrees: “Most information exchange is between research
    scientists. It is information for researchers, policy makers and
    decision-makers. For farmers the information needs to be broken down
    to what is directly relevant to them.”

    The paper, Fertile Grounds: Opportunities For Greater Coherence In
    Agricultural Information Systems with case studies of Ghana, Tanzania
    and Uganda, says, “International services do not always link with
    national information networks, and therefore information is either
    duplicated, not available or cannot be found by the intended
    audience.”

    “We are not kidding ourselves that farmers are using the Internet –
    we know they are not!” says Emmet Murphy, deputy programme manager of
    ACDI-VOCA (Agricultural Cooperative Development International-
    Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance), an international non-
    profit development group that provides technical assistance, training
    and support in agriculture.

    Over 80 percent of Uganda’s population is engaged in agriculture.

    The paper notes that many current service providers maintain data
    collections which tend to exist in isolation from complementary
    services provided by others. The government’s National Agricultural
    Research Organisation, for instance, has an outreach initiative which
    aims at making direct contact with farmers’ groups, but it is not
    working with the IITA which is helping farmers set up such groups.

    This lack of collaboration in the agricultural sector, it says, has
    led to a large quantity of unlinked information systems. As a result,
    some projects have lost momentum and a number of websites and online
    databases have become empty, without up-to-date content.

    It is not as if the Internet is not serving rural Uganda. ACDI-VOCA
    sponsors a website called Foodnet – run by the IITA – which has post-
    harvest and market research information on 28 key commodities. The
    information itself comes from IITA workers, who collect data from the
    main district markets and sub-county markets.

    The IITA also prepares radio scripts and chat-shows for farmers which
    are broadcast on local radio stations. The IITA radio service and
    Foodnet currently cover 32 of Uganda’s 56 districts.

    The problem, says Kevin Semmanda, senior information scientist in the
    Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, is that most
    farmers do not have direct access to the Internet: “The telecentres
    have had little impact. Very few farmers have the means and knowledge
    of accessing the Internet.” If you are not a paid member, you have to
    pay for each visit.

    Arayo says farmers normally get the information they need from
    secondary sources such as extension workers and radio programmes.
    Given Uganda’s low literacy level (62 percent, according to the World
    Bank), it is very difficult for them to benefit directly from the
    Internet. Besides, the main language of the Internet is English,
    whereas there are some 20 indigenous local languages spoken in Uganda.

    Moses Were, 33, a peasant farmer in Mukona district in central
    Uganda, acknowledges that the Internet has uses – timely and
    accessible market information, he says, could help “eliminate many
    middlemen.” Were, who has been growing cocoa, vanilla and coffee for
    10 years, is literate but cannot afford to buy a computer – and in
    any case, there is no electricity in his house.

    Arayo says the National Agricultural Advisory Services, a government
    agency, regularly puts up farming information on notice boards at its
    sub-county offices, but admits there is no guarantee farmers will see
    it. It is far more useful for extension workers to collate
    information from Foodnet and deliver it to farmers.

    Experts agree that the lack of access to information is directly
    related to rural poverty. But although the Ugandan government’s Plan
    for Modernisation of Agriculture identifies providing farmers with
    market information as a priority it does not specify how this is to
    be done.

    Joseph Mukasa Mpaga, a 72-year-old farmer, says he does not rely on
    the Internet for market prices. There is only one Internet kiosk in
    his village of Kasawo, some 120 km from Kampala, and he cannot afford
    to pay for it. Rather he and his colleagues get the latest market
    prices from other farmers returning from the Kampala market.

    David Luwandagga, Kampala’s data collector for the IITA maintains
    that reaching information from the Internet is vital for all sorts of
    reasons – for instance, when farmers in a certain region learn that
    their counterparts elsewhere are receiving a better price because of
    the quality of their produce, they will try and achieve the same
    standards. It is also vital for building food security by sounding
    early warnings of drought.

    At the moment, a variety of media appear to be servicing farmers’
    needs in Uganda – farmers in Masindi district in western Uganda
    refuse to sell their products to traders until they have listened to
    the radio bulletin about prices. Semmanda says rather than focussing
    on the Internet alone, agricultural officers should also use video,
    music, drama and radio to strengthen the extension system.

    “Radio moves faster than the Internet,” agrees Arayo. “It also takes
    care of the language problem.”

  155. Mahavilachchiya got the central attraction even at this event.

    Intel launches World Ahead programme in Sri Lanka http://www.asiantribune.com/index.php?q=node/5008
    Thu, 2007-03-22 02:40

    Sunil C. Perera – Reporting from Colombo

    Colombo, 22 March, (Asiantribune.com): World’s renowned blue-chip company –Intel Corporation has launched its newest worldwide concept “World Ahead Programme” in Sri Lanka.

    This programme covers 60 countries, including Sri Lanka , said Chris Thomas, its Strategic Manager at a media briefing held in Colombo on Tuesday .

    The Intel Corporation invests one billion US$ to launch this project and to speed access to un-compromised technology and education for people in the world’s developing communities.

    Sri Lanka is now one of the key countries to be covered by this programme , he said.

    This is a continent-wide project, which includes an eSchools initiative targeting schools across Sri Lanka . Its ultimate goal is to equip students with the IT skills and knowledge to compete in a global information society. As part of the initiative, a variety of consortia, each headed by a leading global technology company, are designing and delivering cutting-edge IT solutions to meet the needs of students.

    As part of an initial demonstration phase, few schools in rural areas have been equipped with broadband internet connected PC labs. Students use the PCs across all subjects. Some assignments must be completed electronically, using Microsoft Office* programs, developing skills, that will be of benefit in their working lives. Educational software for maths, physics and business studies, based on the Sri Lankan curriculum, is also used to support study. . Students are now empowered to drive their own learning, rather than relying solely on guidance from the teacher.

    The Intel World Ahead Program aims to enhance lives by accelerating access to uncompromised technology for everyone, anywhere in the world. Focused on people in the world’s developing communities, it integrates and extends Intel’s efforts to advance progress in three areas: accessibility, connectivity, and education. Intel’s goal is not only to extend affordable PC access but to develop the PCs tailored to local needs, drive critical connectivity, cultivate sustainable local capabilities, and provide the technology education needed to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

    The program’s 5-year objectives are to extend wireless broadband PC access to the world’s next billion users while training 10 million more teachers on the effective use of technology in education – with the possibility of reaching another 1 billion students. Investment: Intel will invest more than $1 billion over the next 5 years across the three focus areas of accessibility, connectivity, and education.

    Partnering with public and private organizations, Intel is driving WiMAX broadband deployments that will reach cities as well as suburban and rural communities that previously were either impossible or too costly for carriers to pursue. Intel World Ahead Program will connect another billion children and adults to the Internet and to the rest of the world.

    According to the Intel’s local Representative Indika de Soyza this project create opportunities for widespread ownership and use of Personal computers through affordability PCs tailored to regional needs. This programme prepares students for success in the global economy through education programmes and resources, including professional development for teachers worldwide.

    Under the project Dialog GSM will provides telephone connectivity through Wimax system and the Intel Corporation provides necessary infrastructure jointly with the government of Sri Lanka.

    The Ministry of Education, dialog GSM and Intel Corporation plan to support rural schools to follow educational programmes through this project. All these schools will connect through Wimax and the Dialog GSM assists to launch a Satellite Television channel to telecast educational programmes.

    – Asian Tribune –

  156. Putting in the right place.

    The following two comments from Harsha de Silva and Dr. Gaminitillake should go to this thread instead of software issues it seems

    # harsha de silva on Mar 28th, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    this friday 30th evening at 9:30 ‘biz1st in focus’ on mtv and shakthi tv will telecast a show on wifi issues. we have a segment on mahavilachchiya and a discussion with the father of wifi…

    harsha

    # 134 Donald Gaminitillake on Mar 30th, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Harsha

    I think you have to go to a school to learn what to speak.
    You used the word “POOR” many times
    Also “RURAL POOR”
    Not the people in Mahavilachchiya is poor neither the urban people are rich.
    You guys are the people who try to create the digital divide
    That is what you wanted. You had no guts to talk the language problem either.

    All you want to show off was “POOR” and “RURAL POOR”

    You have never understood the rich hearts of the people of Mahavilachchiya you are just a book smart individual.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  157. I am not yet a “Dr.”

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Colombo

  158. Mahavilachchiya on Sirasa

    There will be a program on Mahavilachchiya on Sirasa tonight. 10.00 PM.

  159. IT happens in Mahavilachchiya

    A very professional discussion is going on about Mahavilachchiya in the following thread of GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY FORUM. Sounds promising.

    http://globaltechforum.wordpress.com/2007/03/09/it-happens-in-mahavilachchiya/#comment-70

  160. # Iresha Dilhani Says:
    April 10th, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Our thanks should go to all the donors, who help us for succeeding our project. I thank on behalf of all the student at Horizon Lanka Foundation to the donors who where helping to up keep the HLF in providing us the prevailing facilities including PCs, other peripherals for studies, as well as my sincerely thank should go to the who help us for uploading our first website. It was the greatest help for our success. Then all the other donors also were keen to help us.

    And then we are going to thank who helped us providing internet to Horizon Lanka. In the past we had to travel 80 kms back and forth to log to the internet. And we missed important emails. It was a very difficult time. But after getting the Internet connection, it is easy to communicate. We thank all those helped us getting internet. (I will not list the names of individuals as the list is too long.)

    We also thank the generous donors who built our first computer lab and the second computer lab as well, those were huge turning points in our project.

    After that we got a chance to connect to the internet from our houses. It was a never expected dream. But it became true. Now we can do more work quickly with help of Mesh Internet Project. At the moment 28 houses and two schools can use internet from in the village. We can easily check our emails, visit web sits, communicate with our donors, and etc. Our village students can search their O/L examination results from their homes. It was a dream. We thank for UNDP, ICTA, and ETPL for helping to get Mesh technology to our village.

    And also we thank to Lirneasia Blog for dedicating a link to Mahavilachchiya. It is useful for our development. Unfortunately we did not contribute to this thread as we were busy with some other projects and will contribute from this vacation onwards. We do not want to see people fighting here. Please get together to help take the project forward.

    Iresha@horizonlanka.org

  161. What has happened to this 100 million rupee e-village project?

    e-Village http://icta.lk/Insidepages/programmes/e-Village.asp

    Upcoming e-Villages

    Objective
    The primary objective of the project is to demonstrate the effective contribution of an IT infrastructure in the accelerated socio-economic development. To provide increased opportunities for growth and a better quality of life for citizens in rural communities, particularly the youth, by using ICT as a tool and enabler for development.

    Description
    The e-Village concept initialized with a pilot project in a small village in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka – Mahavillachchiya. The village, with limited access to resources and few opportunities for its youth benefited greatly when ICT was introduced. Through dedicated teachers, individuals and organizations, the village youth were empowered with the knowledge and skills needed to access the means for a better quality life. An example of the impact the partners contribution and efforts have made on the village is secondary level students are now commissioned to design websites and are earning more than their parents who are mostly farmers.

    ICTA is now looking to replicate this successful model in other villages across the country. Villages with limited resources and opportunities for their youth will be identified, and provided with ICT facilities for e-learning, e-commerce, and other services. ICTA will work in collaboration with partners to bring in a greater resource pool of expertise and services, to develop the village and allow for innovative social mobility amongst the members of the community.

    Target Group
    Rural Communities

    Project Results
    Increased access to information and knowledge for children and adults
    Increased awareness on the benefits of ICT and increased participation of villagers in ICT based activities such as e-commerce, e- learning etc.
    Multi media library services to the community
    Gradual dispersion of ICTs to neighbouring villages
    Skilled trainers at village level

    Project Benefits
    Empowered rural communities through access to information

  162. # Iresha Dilhani Says:
    April 10th, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Our thanks should go to all the donors, who help us for succeeding our project. I thank on behalf of all the student at Horizon Lanka Foundation to the donors who where helping to up keep the HLF in providing us the prevailing facilities including PCs, other peripherals for studies, as well as my sincerely thank should go to the who help us for uploading our first website. It was the greatest help for our success. Then all the other donors also were keen to help us.

    And then we are going to thank who helped us providing internet to Horizon Lanka. In the past we had to travel 80 kms back and forth to log to the internet. And we missed important emails. It was a very difficult time. But after getting the Internet connection, it is easy to communicate. We thank all those helped us getting internet. (I will not list the names of individuals as the list is too long.)

    We also thank the generous donors who built our first computer lab and the second computer lab as well, those were huge turning points in our project.

    After that we got a chance to connect to the internet from our houses. It was a never expected dream. But it became true. Now we can do more work quickly with help of Mesh Internet Project. At the moment 28 houses and two schools can use internet from in the village. We can easily check our emails, visit web sits, communicate with our donors, and etc. Our village students can search their O/L examination results from their homes. It was a dream. We thank for UNDP, ICTA, and ETPL for helping to get Mesh technology to our village.

    And also we thank to Lirneasia Blog for dedicating a link to Mahavilachchiya. It is useful for our development. Unfortunately we did not contribute to this thread as we were busy with some other projects and will contribute from this vacation onwards. We do not want to see people fighting here. Please get together to help take the project forward.

    Iresha Dilhani,
    Iresha@horizonlanka.org

  163. Ruvini Senevirathna

    Getting Internet to Mahavilachchiya village is a great pleasure to us. Trough Internet connection we can do many kind of things. Horizon Lanka is formed to do new experiments. We do something new everytime we get a chance for it. For an example, we are doing e-learning using internet. Therefore we are using IM chatting software’s like Skype and Yahoo. Skype is good for voice communication.

    Not only for e-learning we use this software for communicate with online radio. Using this I could communicate with ahamu radio as an announcer from Horizon Lanka Foundation. Ahamu radio is doing by a Sri Lankan. So I got that opportunity to join Ahamu Radio http://www.ahamu.com live through Skype.

    The day which we opened mesh network of Horizon Lanka Foundation was a busy day for me with Ahamu Radio because I gave live news updates, live interviews to ahamu radio about the Opening Ceremony of the mesh network.

    I interviewed some of visitors. The most exciting moment was interviewing the Secretary to the President, Mr. Lalith Weeratunga who was the Chief Guest of the occasion. I was lucky to interview for the whole world, trough Ahamu Radio. It was a great opportunity for me. And I think I did my best. Most of my online friends, my sponsors and Horizon well-wishers said they listened to it and I felt proud of myself.

    I am doing the radio program from my home in Mahavilachchiya using Skype and I broadcast the news about HLF and the Mahavilachchiya village too on Saturdays with Ahamu. I try to get maximum benefits out of this opportunity. And hope to show that we can do a radio station from here in future. I think in the future we can have that chance also. Looks like that day is very close.

  164. Even this page takes long time to download. Please continue in a new page.

  165. Dear all
    I’m from Lakaruna computer club, Hingurukaduwa.
    As a student of the first batch of our club, we were not hearing about Horizon Lanka. We just do something for our IT and English knowledge and gradually we can come to this stage. Now our club is five years old. At the middle of our way we saw the legend of Horizon. It was a big encouragement for our hard journey.
    We just received 24 hours internet connectivity to our village please come toward us.
    Srimal Iresh
    srimal@lakaruna.org
    http://www.lakaruna.org

  166. Dear Administrator

    Dear Admin,

    Can you start a new page for this thread. It take a lot of time to download the page now.

  167. Even this page takes a long time to upload. Please do not let a page go more than 100 comments. We do not have the broadband facilities. We are managing with dial up connections.

  168. Wednesday April 25, 2007 Daily mirror
    Follow India: Take it to the village

    Telecommunication

    Information Technology (IT) is a new field that thrives today with the introduction of modern techniques in communication and assimilation of knowledge and skills, to suit the fast developing world. The government, with the programme of establishing three “Nenasala Centres” in each Divisional Secretariat area, is aiming to link the village with the outside world under the concept of modern globalization. The whole world will be a global village at the end of the century.
    The average villager cannot be isolated from the rest of the world today as new vistas have opened up. There are village lasses working mainly in Middle Eastern as well as other European countries who wish to communicate with their homes. So are the many parents, relations and friends who exchange pleasantries as well as views on matters that affect their day to day life. They would, for instance, wish to know the world price of oil when our prices of petrol and diesel rise sky high from time to time. They have a right to know the world trends in consumable items which have a direct impact on their living. These knowledge and information are no longer the prerogative of a few in power. Knowledge and information is universal.
    But have we been able to face this challenge? In the cosmopolitan areas, we can observe the younger generation patronizing the cyber cafes. They log on to websites to obtain the necessary information.
    A few make use of e-mail facilities too. But what about the 80% village population? Electricity is not available to most of the rural villages in Sri Lanka which makes them inaccessible to it and other modern electronic facilities.
    India has coal powered and diesel powered electricity in addition to hydropower and electricity is not a luxury to them. Remote villages are provided with this facility and India has embarked on a rapid rural development programme. Telephone facilities too are available in these remote areas. There are sign boards everywhere indicating the availability of IT facilities. And these are very cheap compared to our rates in Sri Lanka.
    A telephone call to Sri Lanka will cost around Indian rupees 15 to 20 for a conversation of over 10 minutes. The cost of a person to person call from Sri Lanka to India is Rs. 250 for the first three minutes and each additional minute costs Rs. 50.

    If telephone facilities are provided at affordable prices it would help create employment among the rural masses in Sri Lanka. The Tourist Resorts could have telephone booths as in India so that it would be a new venture for the livelihoods among the rural youth.
    The idea in separating the Telecommunication Department from the Postal Department with the establishment of Sri Lanka Telecom was to provide a better and faster service to the consumer. But in reality this objective has not been achieved.
    To cite one instance, when Teldeniya town was submerged by the Victoria reservoir, the auto exchange at Teldeniya too went under water. A new site for the exchange was offered in Teldeniya by the Mahaweli Project, But sad to say Sri Lanka Telecom is yet to start work on the exchange. This is the snail’s speed in which our IT field operates. Let us follow India. The Indian government has identified five sectors in its budget for 2007. The IT sector takes second place among textiles, tourism and biotechnology.
    S.B.Karaliyadde
    Kandy

  169. I take that back.

  170. Bombs sounds!!!

    Here we have high technology facilities more than other villages in Sri Lanka. And our students are getting maximum benifits out of them. That is not a secret. All the things are coming gooood in the village.

    BUT…..

    All are talking about peace. but i dont understand what is this peace. Becuase at all night we hear boomb sounds from some where. Can’t tell where are they from. But we hear them. Even its not a small sound it is such a huge sounds like Dombbbbbb!!!! It is a huge trouble for us. Specially for our studies. Because most of us do studies at night.

    I dont know where and for what, these bomb blast. We don’t hear any oficial news for these from televtions. However it has become a huge trouble for us. Oh!! again just heard a bomb balst sound!!!

    HOWEVER WILL HOPE THSE TROUBLES WILL BE FINISHED SOON.

  171. Read the article written by Isuru Senevirathna on OnTime Technologies BPO, Sri Lanka’s first BPO which started at Horizon Lanka, Mahavilachchiya. This article appeared in “i4d” magazine’s July Issue. You can read the PDF version at this link http://www.horizonlanka.org/media/i4d_july_2007/isuru_i4d.pdf

    Rural BPO, Sri Lanka

    What dreams may come true!

    “However, now I am 19 years old and I am confident that we can do something for our village from the knowledge we gained during a period of about nine years from Horizon Lanka.” An article written by Isuru Senevirathna, Horizon Lanka Foundation,
    Sri Lanka isuru@horizonlanka.org – July 2007 | Vol. V No. 7 | http://www.i4donline.net

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    ‘Horizon Lanka’, the model for taking ICT to the rural villages, is a famous word in Sri Lanka. It is also receiving international recognition. In fact, we never thought of creating a model to take ICT to the rural villages. First, we only wanted to develop our village. For this, we had a great hero to guide us. He is Mr. Nandasiri Wanninayaka, our English teacher since 1998. I was 11 years old then.

    Mr. Nandasiri was teaching us English in a public school of my village. His teaching method was able to attract us to the subject, although English was a subject hated by most children. Before Mr. Nandasiri it was difficult to learn, as we did not have a teacher who could teach us in a better way. But, Mr. Nandasiri managed to turn the tables. While we were continuing studies, our elder brothers and sisters started a journal called ‘The Horizon’. We wrote stories to that journal and Mr. Nandasiri photocopied them from the nearest town, which is 40 kilometers away from my village. By a stroke of good luck, the US embassy found out about the journal through an article which was written by Mr. Gamini Akmeemana for a public English newspaper in Sri Lanka. The US embassy helped us with a 486 model computer and a dot-matrix printer, along with some computer books.

    Mr. Nandasiri started teaching us about computers with the knowledge he gained from reading those books, as he himself did not have enough knowledge about computers. Each student got 5 minutes to operate the computer under Mr. Nandasiri’s guidance. This was a fantastic experience for us children of poor farmers.

    With Nandasiri sir’s leaving public school, we were really sad since nobody could do Nandasiri sir’s job there. We did not give up our way. We got together as a team and talked him to arrange an English class for us. He accepted our request and started the class under a huge mango tree in his garden. And we did not forget to continue the journal too. A family called Gaminitillake donated a used computer to our English class and we stared a website with their help and uploaded it from the town. Through the website, we got a big publicity throughout the world. It was a big revolution of us. Lot of donors came to us and helped to improve our English and computer knowledge. Eventually we could build a small computer room with the support of donors and the capacity of our parents. This was our journey……

    Today we have a modern computer Lab that was donated by Mr & Mrs. Charles. And we could build a tower to connect to the Internet from our village since we had to travel 80 kilometers up and down to access internet from the nearest city ‘Anuradhapura’.
    However, now I am 19 years old and I am confident that we can do something for our village from the knowledge we gained during a period of about nine years from Horizon Lanka.

    About ten months ago, I realised one of the dream, in my life. I could travel to two countries for a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) training. I never had been out from this small island. But I was lucky to travel to Laos and New Delhi in India with the sponsorship of ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. During that training, we could see practically their operations and the way a BPO company meets the clients’ demand, on time with good quality. Eventually we ended the training and returned to Sri Lanka with the mind of starting our BPO Company in Mahavilachchiya. After a training period of three months, we had an opportunity to start a BPO company in rural Mahavilachchiya village. A foundation called FARO (Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunities) is helping us in the initial stage to run the company. Already we have started the company named OnTime Technologies (Pvt) Ltd. John Keells is a major client of us.

    We also are discussing with Dialog Telekom Ltd. and Singer Sri Lanka to get some more work for our youth. Around 50 youths are being trained to take up BPO jobs from Mahavilachchiya. Mahavilachchiya has very good infrastructure like a modern computer lab with 512 KBPS internet connection, 50 computers in the village households – 30 of them are connected to Internet through mesh technology – and 7 Wi-Fi zones in the village where you can use your laptops. Through our company, we are offering job opportunities for the youths in the village. This is a big revolution in the village and we are happy to say. This is what we wanted to do. However, we could do it. Now we are using same Horizon Lanka building and Horizon Lanka equipments. In the future, we hope to develop our company as the largest BPO company in Sri Lanka and build a huge building and develop as an our owned company. Nirosh Manjula, who trained with me in Laos and India and I am running this company.

    I take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us to success this journey.

    Horizon Lanka Foundation

    The Horizon Lanka Foundation was established in 1998 because of the determination of a group of children from the rural village of Mahavilachchiya. Their thirst for knowledge and educational advancement led them to the door of Mr. Nandasiri Wanninayaka (now CEO of HL Foundation), their former English teacher in the public school. Thus began an after school club providing children further education in English and computers. It has become a popular place for many children of the village. Since 1998, the Horizon Lanka Foundation has branched out. As well as providing an all round education to the village children at Horizon Lanka Academy, they have expanded into the Information Age and now service the entire community with their computer lab, which has 24h Internet access. In 2001, the website http://www.horizonlanka.org was launched by the children of Horizon Lanka Academy, opening a window to the world.

    HLF is also responsible for beginning a project, which is bringing PCs to the homes of the villagers of Mahavilachchiya. So far more than 30 homes have been furnished with a computer and this is increasing monthly. MicroScholarships is a project of the Horizon Lanka foundation that aims to help deserving students in their education. Many capable students in rural Sri Lanka are forced to interrupt their schooling because of financial difficulties. MicroScholarships ensure that every child covered under the scheme gets a quality education and a happy childhood. Under it, volunteers offer financial assistance that gives the child a small amount of money every month. The efforts, funded purely by kind donations and sponsorship, are now providing over 160 students of the village with computing skills, access to the Internet, PCs in their homes, an Academy to improve their education specializing in ICT and English and most importantly, giving the children and community fresh hope for their futures.

    Source: http://www.horizonlanka.org

  172. Mahavilachchiya’s mesh Internet Project has been nominated for i4d Award 2007

    Mahavilachchiya’s mesh Internet Project has been nominated for i4d Award 2007. Visit http://www.i4donline.net/i4dAward2007/review_detail.asp?BRSNo=65 and vote.

  173. Visit http://hlacademy.wordpress.com/2007/10/07/buddhika-prasanna-one-of-the-youngest-bloggers-in-horizon-lanka-academy-gets-3000-hits-to-his-blog/

    Buddhika Prasanna Kumara, one of the youngest bloggers in Horizon Lanka Academy has reached 3000 hits to his blog by today. This is the most number of hits any of the Horizon Lanka student or a staff member has got so far. Buddhika joined blogsphere only on 6th May, 2007. Others had started blogs few months earlier to Buddhika. He was not one of those kids who wrote essays a lot earlier and it was due to blogging he is improving his writing. He was not the brightest in his class either. He was one of the slowest and laziest for academic activities. But blogging has made him keener in academic affairs.

    The first thing Buddhika does in a morning is checking the number of hits and moderating comments he has received. He keeps checking the number of hits and comments and writes more and more small essays. This clearly shows that blogging can improve language skills of the students in a dramatic way. We think other students in Sri Lanka also should start blogging and improve English. You can encourage these kids by visiting their blogs and sending comments. You can see more blogs from Mahavilachchiya under BLOGROLL at http://hlacademy.wordpress.com. Thanks to mesh Internet in village houses students are very active in blogging now.

  174. Visit http://www.sundaytimes.lk/071007/FinancialTimes/ft305.html

    Brand new laptop for village blogger

    Seventeen year old Tharanga Sampath is the proud owner of a brand new laptop for being the best blogger at Horizon Lanka Academy in Mahavilachchiya village in north-central Sri Lanka.

    The laptop was donated by Dr. Ing. E. Leuthold from Switzerland in coordination with the Lak Saviya Foundation after contacting the Horizon Lanka Foundation in April, Horizon said. Leuthod has already promised to send two more laptops for the next two best students.

    What began as an after school club providing children further education in English and computers, Horizon Lanka has branched out, providing an all round education to the village children.

    It has expanded into the information age and now services the entire community with computer labs with 24 hour Internet access. Staff at the Foundation describes Tharanga as ‘showing a keen interest in Horizon affairs for the past few months since he joined the Foundation.’

    He has recently been given the responsibility of handling lessons for juniors and ‘has the good quality of fulfilling whatever duty is assigned to him with a great deal of preparation and devotion.’ (NG)

  175. This thread is too long and has been closed. Please continue discussions in the new thread:

    http://www.lirneasia.net/2006/11/village-with-a-mesh-network-but-not-a-single-telephone/

  176. kumareswaran.janarththanan

    I have succcesful complect g.c.e(o/l). I have succesful complect in g.c.e(A/l).pendeing reselt.