Friday, December 17, 2010

Dialog tradenet won WSA Mobile Gold Award in the m-Inclusion Category

Buying awards, stealing awards, organizers giving awards to themselves is common all around the world today. Some awards are given for some reason to product or service which has no use/users.

Anyway, Dialog tradenet won WSA Mobile Gold award under the m-Inclusion category. Is tradenet really inclusive service?

Yes, it is an inclusive trade information exchange which has converged multiple access technologies such as USSD, SMS, WAP, Voice (IVR/Call Centre) and Web (, to reach all the socio-economic segments in Sri Lanka.

The World Summit Award Mobile is a global initiative within the framework of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO and the United National Global Alliance for ICT and Development (ICT4D).

Commenting on Sri Lanka’s success at the WSA, Secretary to H. E. the President, and Chairman of the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation and of the UN-ESCAP Committee of ICT Experts for Asia & Pacific, Lalith Weeratunga, said;

The World Summit Award for Dialog Tradenet is a testimony to the significant changes taking place in our country. The empowerment, Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) deliver to people, changes their lives and presents unprecedented opportunity for growth. This is why ICT and Access to Information are key pillars of the rapid development and expansion roadmap laid out by the government in the Mahinda Chinthana. As a government, we are thoroughly committed to making ICT an important part of our development story, and we will relentlessly support its growth and exploitation”.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Businesses for the Sustainability of Telecentres

“My farther reads the news paper online, now he does not want to buy the papers” – some anecdotes tries to prove that Telecentres are fully integrated with rural societies and they depend on the Telecentres for various services.

In fact, if a person in rural Sri Lanka tries to read a news paper on line, he has to pay at least $ 0.5 whereas he can buy the new paper for around $ 0.25. It may be worth for a busy executive to read the online version of a news paper but may not be for rural folks.

Telecentres made the technology available for rural communities. So what?

The real issue was we didn’t have applicable content and services to deliver through Telecentres. So services such as Dialog tradenet ( can make a real difference in terms of providing relevant services to the community while sustaining Telecentres with incremental revenue.

Three potential roles

  1. Finding products or services at cheaper rates for the community in the area (used products, etc.). That could be even finding the raw materials for SME businesses.

  1. Help entrepreneurs to find the market. Exploit the free advertising opportunity in tradenet. There is a potential of reaching a huge market of nearly seven million people (customer base of Dialog).

  1. Playing the role of an intermediary/Broker. Most of the rural products and service sellers find it difficult to interact with modern markets. So telecentre operator can play the role of intermediary to bridge the gap.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Dialog tradenet is a Truly Inclusive System

Dialog tradenet is fully mobile integrated Buy and Sell portal in Sri Lanka. The automated SMS matching alerts to connect buyers and sellers is a unique feature which is available only in tradenet. That also provides agricultural commodity prices to farmers and others.

Dialog tradenet covers all the strata of the socio-economic pyramid. It has some means of access for every Sri Lankan, making it a truly inclusive system.

E - English S - Sinhalese T - Tamil

USSD: #977# (From a Dialog Mobile)
SMS: In all three languages
Voice: 977 (From a Dialog Mobile)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ICT4D Truth

The concept of ICT4D is being abused by many people / companies / organizations for their own benefit. So now it is a challenge to convince people and get their support for genuine ICT4 Development (ICT4D) initiatives.

Following are some instances of fake ICT4D projects;

ICT4D projects to gain Political Mileage
ICT4D projects to get mere publicity
Projects just targeting Awards not real results
Projects to just please donors
D’ neglected ICT4D projects

Any organization, which implements ICT4D projects, could have many objectives, which is natural. But it is essential to give priority to people and their development if those are to be genuine ICT4D initiatives.

So, as development activists / ICT4D activists, it is our responsibility to highlight genuine ICT4D initiatives, give them due recognition and make them models for others to follow.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Research on “Mobile Phones for Agricultural Development in Sri Lanka”

With the exponential growth of mobile telephony in developing world, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the mobile phone has become one of the best channels to reach the rural farmers.

Here in Sri Lanka, already there are some mobile phone (telephone) based initiatives to provide the agricultural and other related services. In this research some of the existing initiatives were studied to understand the reasons for success/failure and new ways for improvements;

Following are three main initiatives studied;

1920 – Agrarian advisory service by Ministry of Agriculture
1919 – Government Information Centre, Telephone Service
GovSMS –SMS based Commodity Price Dissemination Service

The survey was conducted in Dambull (in Central Province of Sri Lanka) area with hundred (100) vegetable and fruit farmers and covered many areas such as; Agricultural information requirements of farmers, practical challenges, their existing information sources, their perceptions and expectations with regard to mobile telephony in agriculture, technical aspects, financial aspects, etc.

Hoping to share some of the findings here in the future.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Telecentre Management Course by IGNOU

“Telecentres are not sustainable; it is just waste of money”.

Let’s stop blaming telecentres, understand what went wrong and what went well. Let’s get things corrected. Now we should promote Telecentre Management as a profession not as just looking after some computers in a rural hut.

Starting a Telecentre Management Course is a really good and timely initiative by The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) together with other likeminded organizations.

Telecentre Management Course Contents;

CTCM-01: Fundamentals of Telecentres
CTCM-02: Understanding Community Needs
CTCM-03: Community Informatics
CTCM-04: Planning a Telecentre
CTCM-05: Telecentre Management Techniques
CTCM-06: Qualities of Telecentre Operators
CTCM-07: Basic IT Skills
CTCM-08: Content and Services in Telecentres
CTCM-09: Community Use of Telecentre
CTCM-10: Information Management at Telecentres
CTCM-11: Promoting Your Telecentre
CTCM-12: Assessing the Progress of Telecentres

It is good to hear that the course is going to be available in 10 international languages making it accessible to Telecentre Operators in other developing countries.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jaffna and Northern Province of Sri Lanka trying to Regain its Glory

Recently I visited Jaffna peninsula and other Northern parts of the island. On my way to Jaffna through A9 road, which is now opened for civilians, I could witness the massive destruction in Kilinochchi and other small towns due to the long civil war.

Anyway that horrible war is over now, people have new hopes about their future and sustainable socio-economic development in Northern Province.

There is a very high potential in those areas. We will see so many investments flowing in to those areas soon. Conducive environment is being created in Jaffna and other areas. The literacy rate in the Northern Province is 92.5 present and finding human resources would not be a tough challenge for any investor.

Other infrastructure requirements such as road access, electricity, water supply, communication facilities are being developed. The tallest multi purpose telecommunication tower (172 m) in Sri Lanka is being built in Kokavil near Kilinochchi town.

The mobile phone subscribers’ growth from 11 million to 13 million during the last six months of year 2009 was mainly due to the new subscribers from post conflicted Northern and the Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka.

Hope new development initiatives in Northern Province will keep our innocent tamil children in schools instead of bunkers in the future.