From left: Chinthaka Wijewickrema Past Chairman FITIS, Dr. Kithsiri Manchanayakke – Chairman FITIS , Manoj Hemaratne–Project Manager, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, Chitranganie Mubarak–Chairperson of ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, Sameera Jayawardena - Program Manager - ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, Indika De Zoysa – Senior consultant, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka
The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the nation’s apex ICT institution under the Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of IT Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS), the apex ICT Industry Association in Sri Lanka.
Chitranganie Mubarak, Chairperson of ICTA signed the agreement on behalf of ICTA and Dr. Kithsiri Manchanayakke, Chairman FITIS signed it on behalf of FITIS in the presence of many officials from ICTA and FITIS including Indika De Zoysa – Senior consultant, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, Sameera Jayawardena - Programme Manager, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, Manoj Hemaratne – Project Manager , ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, Chinthaka Wijewickrema Past Chairman FITIS.
Smart social circle is an initiative developed by the ICTA to empower citizens through the promotion of the effective use of Digital technologies and ethical use of social media to improve their living standards by enhancing their incomes and improving living environment.
Expressing her views on this new alliance, Chitranganie Mubarak said, “As the apex body for driving ICT development in the country it is incumbent on us to ensure that the benefits of ICT development reaches all sections of our society. It is only then we can talk of being digitally inclusive. ICTA launched the Smart social circle initiative last year and its outreach and scope has exceeded our expectations. But this is not something we can sustain and drive on our own. We need partners, strong committed partners and FITIS as the largest industry body in this domain is well equipped to take up this role. ICTA’s association with FITIS goes back many years and the MOU we have signed today only strengthens our commitment to jointly ensure that Sri Lanka forges forward towards a digital economy which is beneficial to all sections of our society.”
ICTA’s objective is to create an island-wide network of Smart social circles with knowledgeable, experienced & responsive citizens through the effective use of emerging digital technologies and social media. For this purpose, they expect to develop 860 Smart social circles in 860 Grama Niladhari (GN) divisions in all 25 districts during the year 2017. Smart social circle is a community which consists of representatives from villages, members of community organizations, school children, house wives, small and medium scale enterprises, social activists, charitable organizations.
A minimum of 10 competent knowledge agents will get selected from each GN division including government officials working at grassroots, and members from the community and get trained on effective use of digital technologies and applications. They are expected to be worked as digital ambassadors/facilitators who encourages adoption of digital technologies among communities. They will also promote and guide communities on citizen journalism, good governance, and disaster risk management in societal development. 8000 knowledge agents from 800 Grama Niladhari divisions will get empowered during year 2017.
“This is a historic occasion for Sri Lanka’s ICT industry. FITIS and ICTA have been working very closely for several industry development initiatives and we jointly conduct several programs very successfully. Joining with ICTA for an important initiative like ‘Smart Circle’ will benefit the country in massive way. From this joint initiative, FITIS and ICTA expect to promote active partnership among citizens to organize, integrate and provide user-friendly on-line information and services, build networks among entrepreneurs, administrators, activists, educators, and innovators, who are working to create change through social media, establish research and development center for Citizen Journalism, link with industry and global knowledge centers and produce Citizen Journalists in demand locally and internationally” said Dr. Kithsiri Manchanayakk –Chairman FITIS.