Posts Tagged ‘ICT’

World’s First Wind Up Mobile Phone

October 20, 2009


This will not be exciting news for Sri Lanka as it is a country which has nearly 80% of the households with access to the main electricity grid. But this would be very good news for other countries with poor electricity penetration in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Currently the above phone which is called “Ventus”, is in the prototype stage of development.

As per the TCL (, the company behind the development of this product, after cranking the phone for a minute, one can get four times that in talk time and it’s powered by a specially developed ultra thin dynamo.

Another interesting feature is that it also has solar panels incorporated into it so if you leave it in the sun it can be left on standby for extended periods of time.

Company has not revealed how near they are going to release it as a commercial product. But hope that would be a great news for people who walks miles to get their phones charged.




ICT for Agriculture in Sri Lanka

July 8, 2009


The agriculture sector in Sri Lanka employs 31.3% of the total labor force of the country, but its contribution to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) is just 11.9% (Central Bank of Sri Lanka). So, basically one third of the labor force is utilized to produce the just over ten percent of the GDP.

This is just one side of the issue, but when we consider other issues related to this, such as large amount of government’s money spent on agriculture as subsidies (fertilizer subsidies, etc.) which can be invested on some other sector for better results, continuous poverty of rural people who are engaged in agriculture, etc. – it is clear that we have a issue of productivity within the agriculture sector and we need to address it immediately.

There are many factors (policy, legal framework, technology, knowledge, markets, research, etc.) to be considered while trying to improve the productivity of agriculture, but in all of them the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can definitely play a role of a catalyst.

Fortunately this has been understood, by the various stakeholders in the agriculture sector and as a result we can see many initiatives under the theme of ICT4 Agriculture today in Sri Lanka. As an attempt to bring all those different initiatives to one platform, Prof. Mangala De Zoysa (University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka) and some other likeminded people have organized the Sri Lanka’s first ever ICT4 Agriculture Conference (, which is really a need of the hour.


The Role of a Telecentre in Poverty Alleviation

June 3, 2009

[Telecentres and socio-economic development]

Poverty indeed has many faces. Many of these faces remain unrecognized or out of focus as they are linked to other aspects of deprivation, such as isolation. The Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) initiatives such as Telecentres can start attacking this vicious cycle from Isolation. The physical and social isolation may, in turn, negatively impact on economic, health and educational status and make it increasingly difficult for poor people to take advantage of poverty alleviation strategies.

Poverty can be described as the inability of enjoying the minimal standards of living. It has many dimensions to it and one way it can be explained is by using the following diagram, the ‘deprivation trap’ (Chambers, 1983).

Deprivation Trap

Deprivation Trap

All the aspects (pentagons) are tightly interconnected/ interdependent and any development initiative has to be multidimensional. But depending on the development programme and the core competencies of the institution which is implementing the programme they will focus more on one or more selected areas. A Telecentre which can connect particular community with the rest of the world through the communication facilities can mainly focus on the “isolation” section and drive through it to alleviate poverty by finding solutions to the other areas such as powerlessness, vulnerability, etc.

Due to Isolation;

Little participation (not part of the mainstream)
Telecentre can give a voice to the community and let that to be heard to the local and regional decision makers

Less informed (not aware)
Telecentre can provide the up-to-date/real time information to the community

Few contacts with important people/institutions (such as markets, other services and extension workers)
Telecentres can link the community with markets, government offices, extension offices and let the community to get the information/services from those.
Telecentres can provide educational facilities through e-Learning/ distance learning, etc. Can provide market prices to the farmers and help others finding the employments in urban areas

Though the proposed approach for Telecentres is with more focus on “isolation”, there will be positive impact on other dimensions too. People will be empowered with information such as on micro credit facilities, markets and public services, allowing them to make decisions that are better informed. Once they have access to market prices, the middle man can not easily exploit the farmers. So the poor farmers are less vulnerable. They will be able to earn more and save more.

Physical weakness will be countered with more awareness on diseases and health problems, preventive actions, etc. Delivering health related educational programmes through Telecentres will lead to good health conditions among family members, and handle other issues such as frequent pregnancies, births and deaths.

Most of the poor communities are living in disaster prone areas, and more vulnerable to natural disasters. Telecentre will make them more resistant through early warning, etc. and minimize the negative impact of those. Powerlessness always leads to exploitation, but a more connected community is harder to exploit and will have the power to negotiate on terms such as labour and production.


Disaster Emergency Warning Network (DEWN)

February 2, 2009

Sri Lanka’s First Mass Alert Emergency Warning System Launched


30 January 2009, Colombo: The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka, together with Dialog Telekom launched Sri Lanka’s first mass alert warning system – the Disaster & Emergency Warning Network (DEWN), under the patronage of Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights. DEWN was developed by Dialog in collaboration with its partners the Dialog-UoM Research Lab and Microimage, following research and development undertaken after the tsunami disaster of 2004. DEWN is controlled by the DMC and is an Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) initiative by Dialog.

How DEWN Works

The Emergency Operations Centre of the DMC has been given access to the secure DEWN alerting interface. When information is received by the DMC, the information is verified and alerts can be issued.
In a potential disaster scenario, the DMC will first use DEWN to alert the emergency personnel on their individual phones, and public alerts will be issued only when a threat is adequately verified. In addition to messages received on mobile phones, specially designed DEWN remote alarms will also be used to alert nominated emergency personnel.

SMS -> District Coordinators of the DMC (25 Districts)
SMS -> Members in the Key Contact Database (heads of different institutions such as schools, hospitals, police stations, etc.)
SMS -> To the DEWN alarm devices which are located at the community centers
Cell Broadcast -> to the General Public (DEWN Alarm device too supports CB)