Designing the Telecenter Program
for Poverty Reduction
The telecenter program is perhaps the most visible part of the e-Sri Lanka initiative. It provides the main interface between e-Sri Lanka and ordinary citizens, particularly in rural areas. By establishing telecenters, the program aims to bring information and communication services to rural areas of the South, North, and East where connectivity is being provided in parallel through the regional telecommunications networks. And through this delivery channel for content, it aims to bring critical public services to citizens in rural areas, where 80 percent of the country’s people and nearly 90 percent of its poor live (see annex 7.1).
The basic design of the telecenter program emerged from a process of thinking through the issues and options that first confronted program designers. The design was also shaped by principles based on international experience with similar efforts aimed at using ICT in ways that help reduce poverty and promote economic growth. This design process emphasizes building partnerships and integrating the telecenter program into poverty reduction strategies in the country.
The program is seen as a strategic opportunity to create partnerships of mutual benefit between the telecenters, government agencies, and