The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka recently launched the Women and ICT Frontier Initiative (WIFI) Suhruliya. This was done in partnership with the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT). The Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Women’s Bureau were also active contributors throughout this programme.
The launch was attended by the Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, senior government officials, private sector, academia and other related stakeholders.
The launch was further attended by representatives from Bhutan, Cambodia, India, and the Philippines. The representatives were here in order to facilitate an exchange of experiences among APCICT’s national partners and learn from Sri Lanka’s WIFI implementation. But what exactly is WIFI?
WIFI is APCICT’s programme that aims to promote women entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific through ICT human capacity development. Launched by APCICT in June 2016, it aims to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs in utilizing ICT to support their businesses. Additionally, it also aims at encouraging government leaders and policymakers to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs.The customized programme in Sri Lanka is retitled as WIFI Suhuruliya
In its initial roll-out, WIFI Suhuruliya is targeted to train District represented Women Development Officers attached to Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and also women entrepreneurs .Furthermore ICTA is integrating WIFI Suhuruliya in its Smart Social Circle, a national programme that seeks to empower citizens through ICT. ICTA firmly believes that empowering women via Suhuruliya is as vital as empowering all citizens in technological advancements.
The national launch which was held on the 26th was followed by Training of Trainers (ToT) and a community workshop in Jaffna district and to fit the country’s unique local context, Suhuruliya includes Sinhalese and Tamil versions of the WIFI training modules. An audiobook version has also been developed by ICTA to promote broader usage of the materials among women entrepreneurs and women development officers who will act as mentors in empowering women communities.