Initiated in January 2005 by the then Prime Minister and current President of Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapakse, Nenasala’s are small community based tele-centers where basic communication facilities like telephone, fax and email are available in addition to internet access. The Nenasala official website describes the project as “Initiative by the Government of Sri Lanka aims to provide access to diverse and unrestricted sources of information and means of communication to all the citizens.”
It’s been 8 long years since the first ever Nenasala was opened at the Kirivehara Temple in Katharagama. Now there are 700 Nenasala’s around the Island in every district of the country. Nenasala’s have been a great initiative by the government of Sri Lanka and also is a model that was tested and now upon being successful is being implemented by various other countries around the world.
The success of the Nenasala project was such that earlier this year, the manager of the Sooriyawewa Nenasala won the award for the Best Tele-Center Manager around the world beating 60 other Tele-Centers from 30 other countries in the world at the Global Tele-Center Awards in Spain. Recognizing this, ICTA Sri Lanka, the Information Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka which manages the Nenasala project decided to felicitate and award the best of the best Nenasala’s in Sri Lanka for the service, dedication and commitment towards building a better community.
The Nenasala Pranama – Swarna Sammana was held on the 28th of July 2013 at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. Almost 500 Nenasala owners from around the country and other guests from the industry were present at the event. The chief guest for the day was Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Hon. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. This was the first time that an awards ceremony as such was organized by ICTA Sri Lanka.
Several awards were given out at the event with the highest award being the Swarnna Sammana National Award. This is awarded in appreciation of the commitment and for being the most outstanding Nenasala in the island, which helps towards building the lives of the Rural Community through Information Technology. The Swarnna Sammana National Award was won by the Balangoda Nenasala from the Rathnapura District.
The next biggest award was the Prof. V. K. Samaranayake Memorial Award for the Nenasala that has been successful in achieving the Mandate with greatest impact on its objectives of Poverty Redution, Social and Economic Development, Peace Building, Elevating IT Literacy rate using innovative methods to achieve this Mandate. This award was won by Sooriyawewa Nenasala from the Hambantota Distirct.
The next set of awards were for the best Nenasala center in each province of Sri Lanka. The award winners for the Nenasala Provincial Best Performer Awards were:
- North Central Province : Galenbindunuwewa Nenasala – Anuradhapura
- Northern Province : Jaffna District Secretariat Nenasala – Jaffna
- Central Province : Theldeniya Nenasala – Kandy
- Sabaragamuwa Province : Nivithigala Nenasala – Ratnapura
- Uva Province : Buttala Nenasala – Moneragala
- Southern Province : Asiri IT Nenasala – Tissamaharama
- Western Province : ISLGN Nenasala – Colombo
- Eastern Province : Lahugala Nenasala – Ampara
- North Western Province : Udubaddawa Nenasala – Kurunegala
The best Nenasala centers in each district of Sri Lanka were awarded with the Nenasala District Best Performer awards. The winners of this award were:
- Ampara District : Sri Rewatha Nenasala – Dehiaththakandiya
- Anuradhapura District : DCS Nenasala – Parakramapura
- Badulla District : SAF Nenasala – Badulla
- Batticaloa District : OSDA Nenasala – Kattankudy
- Colombo District : Seethawaka Pradeshiya Sabha Nenasala – Colombo
- Galle District : Dhammapala Maha Vihara Nenasala – Neluwa
- Gampaha District : Deerananda Nenasala – Makola
- Hambantota District : Electro Nenasala – Ambalantota
- Kalutara District : Nippon Buddhist Nenasala – Kalutara
- Kandy District : Hurikaduwa Nenasala – Menikhinna
- Kegalle District : Publuc Library Nenasala – Bulathkohupitiya
- Kurunegala District : Youth Buddhist Society Nenasala -Narammala
- Matara District : Weligama Nenasala – Weligama
- Moneragala District : Sewanagala Nenasala – Sewanagala
- Mullaithivu District : Mullaithivu Nenasala – Mullaithivu Town
- Nuwara Eliya District : Sri Sudharshanarama Nen asala – Rikillagaskada
- Polonnaruwa District : Vindya Picture Palace Nenasala – Medirigiriya
- Puttalam District : Kadamayankulam Nenasala – Puttalam
- Ratnapura District : Panamura Nenasala – Panamura
- Trincomalee District : Mutur East Nenasala – Mutur
Merit awards were also presented to a few Nenasala’s who did not win any award in the best performer categories but deserved some recognition for their work. The Merit Award winners were:
- Ampara District : KDMC Nenasala – Kalmunai
- Anuradhapura District : Ranamayura Nenasala – Kebithigollewa
- Badulla District : Keselpotha Nenasala – Mahiyanganaya
- Badulla District : Bandarawela Nenasala – Bandarawela
- Batticaloa District : Swami Nadaraja Nenasala – Sittandy
- Galle District : Wilegoda Sports Club Nenasala – Ambalangoda
- Kalutara District : Molligoda Nenasala – Molligoda
- Kurunegala District : Polpithigama Nenasala – Polpithigama
- Kurunegala District : Abhinawarama Nenasala – Aswedduma
- Matara District : Urubokka Nenasala – Urubokka
- Moneragala District : Samadhi Nikethana Nenasala – Bibile
- Moneragala District : Thanamalwila Nenasala – Thanamalvila
- Moneragala District : Bodhirukkarama Nenasala – Bibile
- Polonnaruwa District : Ashokarama Nenasala – Medirigiriya
- Puttalam District : Norochcholai Nenasala – Kalpitiya
- Ratnapura District : Suraksha Nenasala – Kolonna
- Trincomalee District : Jinna Nagar Nenasala – Trincomalee
- Kandy District : Gatambe Nenasala – Kandy
- Nuwara Eliya District : Upcot Nenasala – Upcot
Mr. Reshan Devapura, CEO of ICTA Sri Lanka during his speech mentioned that the aim of ICTA was to set up 14,000 Nenasala centers by the year 2016. The Minister of Telecommunication and IT speaking at the event said that the government is committed towards bringing up the IT literacy rate of Sri Lanka up to 75% by 2016. The rate currently stands at 45%.
A book titled “Nenasala Experiences” authored by Prof. Basheer Ahmed was also launched at the event.
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