The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka will be hosting the e-Swabhimani Award Gala 2010 today (9) at the Cinnamon Grand under the patronage of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development. Mr. Lalith Weeratunga Secretary to HE the President will be the Guest of Honour at this event aimed at recognising the creativity and innovation of the country’s developers of digital content and applications.
Recognising the fact that the disparities in accessing information and communication technologies that exist in our society today stem not only from inadequate infrastructure but also from the lack of appropriate content, the ICTA initiated the e-Swabhimani Award in 2009. The aim of this Award is to encourage and incentivise local developers to come up with innovative applications and digital content that will impact on society as a whole. The design and development of good quality content and applications require creative imagination, engineering know-how as well as financial resources. Moreover creation of content and applications for societal use is often not addressed by commercial software developers since it does not generate much profit. It is therefore recognised that there is a need to incentivise and facilitate content creation.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) recognised this need as far back as 2003 and introduced the World Summit Award (WSA), a global initiative to select the world’s best e-content and innovative ICT applications. The WSA encourages member countries to organise national awards and the ICTA, as the apex body responsible for setting ICT policy direction in the Country and implementing the e-Sri Lanka Initiative, came to the fore with the e-Swabhimani Award, the National Award for the country’s best digital creations.
The e-Swabhimani is conducted along the lines of the WSA which ensures transparency and fairplay. All applications are reviewed by a Grand Jury comprising eminent experts chosen from different subject areas. The Knowledge Partner for e-Swabhimani Grand Jury 2010 was the Digital Empowerment Foundation of India, the organisers of the Manthan Award South Asia. The two-day Jury process was supported by a special evaluation and ranking software which is used in international contests of this nature. The Jury evaluated a range of online, offline, mobile and satellite content/systems. Final decisions were made after intensive deliberation and were based on a majority vote.
Referring to the special significance of the e-Content award programme completed for the second consecutive year ICTA Chief Executive Officer Reshan Dewapura said “Like e-Swabhimani 2009, but with a larger number of quality entries from a wider spectrum of categories, e-Swabhimani 2010, has served to unearth the hidden talent in developing content and application which will continue to benefit society. Through the e-Swabhimani awards we recognise the creativity and skills of developers of digital content in Sri Lanka. These awards may be termed the coronation of the digital content creators in Sri Lanka”.
e-Swabhimani 2010 attracted 163 applications, up from 133 in 2009, and came from 11 categories – e-Business and Commerce; e- Culture and Entertainment; e- Learning and Education; e- Enterprise and Livelihood; e-Science and Environment; e-Governance; e- Health; e-Inclusion; e-Localisation; e-News and m- Content. E-Learning and Education was by far the most popular with 40 applications while e-Business and Commerce and e-Culture and Entertainment coming in with 25 and 20 applications respectively. The winners of the e-Swabhimani 2010 will be announced at the Award Gala to be held today (9) and will be presented with the e- Swabhimani Trophy and the Winner’s Seal which they can use on their stationery and promotional material.
The e- Swabhimani this year will be of special significance since it will be the pre-cursor to the World Summit Award 2011. All e-Swabhimani winners will be eligible for consideration as the National nomination to the WSA where each country can submit only one nomination for a given category.