Yowunpura 2016 was held in the picturesque city of Sigiriya from the 31st to the 1st of April 2016. The ancient KingdomCity hosted close to 5000 youth from all over the island and the usually quiet city was bustling with the activities that were planned by the Sri Lanka Youth Council and the strategic partners of which ICTA was one of the main contributors.
ICTA had to structure the programs and educational sessions by understanding the requirement the youth who would be participating and try to simulate the Sri Lanka they would take over in the future.Therefore the 3 Day event was planned in such a way that students were scheduled to participate in 6 workshops that spanned fromModern Technology to Social Media including SMART Social Media, Existing and future digital government solutions, Cyber Security which promoted responsibility and vigilancy in the cyber world , introduction to coding applications and one of the most relevant topics, Career guidance. Facilities were allocated so that at any given time 400 youth could attend the sessions which were allotted a time of one hour each.
The modern technology stall took the youth on a journey through some of the world’s newest tech inventions that have revolutionizedthe way we see, feel and explore the world. The virtual reality glasses took them on a whirlwind trip using 3D technology. They were given practical experience on the glasses and the theory behind the technology was explained in parallel. The 3D printer was a one of kind experience and the enthusiasm was evident by the inquisitiveness that was displayed. They were also educated on the raspberry PI computer technology. The Raspberry Pi is a series of credit card–sized single-board computers developed in England, United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intent to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries.
The Social Media forum conducted by the SMART Social Circle initiative of the ICTA had a two pronged approach to take their message across. They conducted a half an Hour session where the youth were immersed in self-exploration and they were further empowered by another half an hour of practical training. Tablet computers were used to create Email Addresses, Facebook Accounts, Linked-In pages and also to educate on methodologies for online training and trading. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive for this session and multiple requests were made to ICTA to conduct these presentations on a national scale in their respective villages.
The session on E-Government touched on the topics of the national policy framework and the future of an electronically enabled government. The youth were presented with the latest cloud storage functionalities of the government and its advantages. The session was interactive with a Q&A session at the end.
The Cyber Security session was well attended as the youth who participated in the previous sessions had many question on how to protect themselves from theperils that lurk behind the World Wide Web. They were educated on the basic steps on how to protect themselves when surfing the web and interacting with members of the social media world. They were also educated on how they could report suspicious activity and given details on whom they should contact in case they have been victimized online.
The session on careers was the much sought after as most youth were in the mindset that there were either no vacancies available in the ICT field or they had little or no chance of securing a job in the ICT field. This session focused on a step by step approach starting with how to filter and select from the plethora of schools offering degrees, diplomas, certificates and training sessions. They were educated on BPO and BPM jobs availability and how they could empower themselves if they start on their own and build slowly on abilities they possess. Examples were given on startups that have emerged and grown to companies that make difference in Sri Lanka.
Finally the youth made their way to the section allocated to teach the fundamentals of coding, application creation and they were encouraged to listen and comprehend what was thought by the presentation of a certificate upon completion of a basic coding system. Enthusiasm was once again shown as most youth were afraid of coding and had an inborn fear and this session eradicated this feeling and encouraged the youth who participated to venture into the world of coding and application creation.
In Conclusion the zones ICTA had created attracted close to 2800 youth from all across the country. They were each handed a booklet which gave step by step instructions on how to become a Knowledge Agent through the SMART Social Circle initiative. We believe we empowered almost all the participants as the feedback we received reflects the same.