Accidental (telecentre) tourist
May 6, 2007 § Leave a comment
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, April 2007. There was a big orange blob way ahead. It got bigger, and bigger. And then we stopped the van. The orange blob was actually a small building housing a Nenasala, an entrepreneurial rural telecentre created with financing and infrastructure from the eSriLanka program.
While the owner was surprised to see two van loads of people walking towards his telecentre, he was happy to talk. Turns out that his Nenasala has been up and running only six months, and that he also has a job working at a local Ministry of Agriculture extension telecentre (it seems these kinds of centres should be more tightly linked!). While the place was filled with kids using the computers, he said the biggest problem was getting customers. He also had trouble splitting his time with his other centre.
It was a nice treat to accidentally stumble across a working Nenasala with a passionate owner. But clearly, there was a need for more than connectivity (which they had) and computers. There seemed to be demand (or at least operator interest) in more formal agricultural service. Hopefully, the The Telecentre Family can serve as a way for ICTA, Sarvodaya and others to come up with many innovative services to fill this kind of need. There was no question that the owner was happy to hear of this initiative. He said he’d like to get involved when it comes to his part of the country.