Hand cranked telecentres

March 1, 2006 § Leave a comment

Colombo, Sri Lanka – February 24, 2006

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Science and Technology‘s Vidatha Resource Centre (VRC) program brings all sort of technology to the village level, including technology that is cranked by hand.


According to program director Mrs. PGP Abayarante the VRC’s are meant primarily as a livelihood training and technology promotion program for rural areas. However, the technologies being promoted are not just computers. These centres also house a coconut oil pressing machine (with a hand crank), a food dehydrator and a low pollution indoor cook stove. These are technologies invented by Sri Lankan research institutes with a mandate to produce tools to help the rural poor.


Interestingly, the computers themselves are seen primarily as an information delivery technology: they are a way to teach livelihood skills like fish farming, yogurt production and mushroom cultivation. The computers are also used to provide support materials for tools like the coconut oil machine. Of course, it’s not clear how sustainable a model like this can be in the long haul. However, still an interesting example of mixing analog and digital technology in a telecentre.

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