Meta partners with Sarvodaya-Fusion’s “IT යහමග” Program, to launch a new phase of digital skills training program to equip Sri Lankans with the necessary tools to become more aware and responsible digital citizens.
Continuing the partnership since 2018, Meta and Sarvodaya-Fusion, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) in Sri Lanka, launched We Think Digital in Sri Lanka in 2020, providing the resources to foster responsible digital citizens through program editions targeting schools, universities and families.
Meta and Sarvodaya-Fusion’s collaboration since 2018, enabled them to educate over 35,000 children and youth. This has helped Sri Lankans develop their skills on how to navigate the growing digital space responsibly.
The Covid pandemic has created a new normal in the country and access and usage of the Internet has increased exponentially. This amplified access and usage brings with it wider scope of opportunities. However, with this comes a need for greater responsibility from its users when consuming these benefits. This collaboration during the new phase in 2021/2022, aims to provide the necessary awareness and guidance to school students, university students, psycho-social counsellors, youth club members, women and girls. The focus will be on strengthening resilience through capacity building; promoting critical thinking and fostering digital citizenship, to create a harmonious and a less harmful digital world.
In his keynote speech, Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth and Sports and State Minister of Digital Technology and Entrepreneur Development said that more Sri Lankans are now seeing the advantages of digitalization. He added, “Meta and Sarvodaya-Fusion, along with their partnership with ICTA, has played a big role in this perception change and I believe we need more initiatives like this to come forward, analyze data, and develop new mechanisms in order for us to successfully implement and fulfill our vision for the nation.”
At the virtual launch, Maithree Malwattegoda – General Manager, Sarvodaya Fusion mentioned that technology can be used to bring equality and inclusivity in learning to the society. She discussed the need to strengthen resilience through capacity building and fostering digital citizenship with the aim of creating a more responsible digital world that has a positive impact on youth and their future.
The event was also graced by Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, President of Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya, and Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Chairman,LIRNEasia/ Senior Advisor & Board Member, Sarvodaya-Fusion. There was a session where young people who had gone through the training shared their positive experience.
Other speakers and panelists included Senura Abeywardena, Public Policy Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives at Meta, Sameera Jayawardena – Director, Capacity Building, ICTA, Vasana Edirisuriya – Deputy Director of Education, ICT branch, Ministry of Education, Nethmini Medawela – Hashtag Generation and Gayani Hurulle, Research Manager,LIRNEasia, Nishshanka De Silva, Technology Advisor and Sanara De Silva, Student Activist,
The event was also attended by special invitees from the partner organizations and industry as well as school principals, teachers, school students and university students.
Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama, Policy Programs Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives at Meta said, “Meta is committed to develop digital citizenship in Sri Lanka, and also is keen to support digital adoption among Sri Lankans. We will continue to work collaboratively with government and civil society stakeholders to reach more Sri Lankans,”