Advent of the digital economy has helped improve access to services and information where traditional channels have not been able to deliver. Reinforcing its commitment towards improving digital literacy in Sri Lanka, Facebook has announced the launch of a Digital Literacy Program. The program in partnership with Sarvodaya Fusion's “IT Yahamaga” initiative in Sinhala and Tamil underscores Facebook's mission of giving people the power to build communities. As part of the program, 20,000 school and university students will be educated over a 1- year period.
The program will include students from across different community groups in Colombo, Jaffna, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Matara, Hambantota, Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya, Monaragala, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ratnapura. The interactive training sessions will include training on safe and responsible use of the internet and contains topics that teach online users on how to think critically online, and effectively identify credible information from questionable information.
It also includes empathy as a key value to express online with the aim of not just creating a safer and informed community but one that embraces perspectives and respects differences of opinion.
Speaking at the launch of the program, Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director - India, South & Central Asia - Facebook said, “Our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. We believe that when we share information and connect, we achieve extraordinary things. In a young nation like Sri Lanka, with over 5 million Facebook users, what’s really needed is a raised awareness about the potential of the internet and the need to remain safe while being online. When this happens, we will see more meaningful and profound online experiences which will ultimately benefit the nation and its economy while strengthening its social fabric”
Maithree Malwattegoda, General Manager, Sarvodaya Fusion, added, “We are delighted with this collaboration with Facebook as it will go a long way in enhancing digital literacy in Sri Lanka. It is important that we make sure that we are putting the right intervention to address the responsible usage of internet. With our reach and experience in e-empowerment of communities at the grassroots and Facebook’s technology and online reach, we will work together towards maximizing the potential of the internet for the benefit of young people in Sri Lanka”
The program will help participants increase awareness of best practices to stay safe online. The internet plays a very large role in the lives of the youth of Sri Lanka and this program will go a long way in training the youth of Sri Lanka who are responsible, well-informed and insightful citizens.