First women’s BPO debuts today in Jaffna
Fresh with the thoughts of International Women’s Day, the ICT Agency (ICTA) will today (9 March) launch the first women’s rural BPO.
It is also the third rural BPO to be launched and the Jaffna District venture is being launched in partnership with the Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunities.
This latest initiative is not only the very first in the Northern Province but it is also the very first women’s BPO in the country, a senior ICTA spokesperson said.
This new BPO, named after the Founder of the School, is the Eliza Agnew BPO Service Centre and is hosted at the Uduvil Girls’ College in Jaffna. Partnering FARO on this venture is Hayleys Business Solutions International Ltd. (HBSI), which is very enthusiastic about its foray into rural areas with outsourcing work. The company was closely involved in the project from the onset – in selecting operators, training and equipping the centre.
The project is the outcome of a successful collaboration between the ICTA and the Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunity, FARO.
It is a non-profit organisation that actively supports employment generation in rural areas by outsourcing business processes of Colombo based blue chip companies to the village.
The ICTA sees this as a very important milestone in its efforts at taking the benefits of ICT to every village and every citizen. More importantly it supports the Government of Sri Lanka in its efforts at ensuring an equitable development of the country in the aftermath of a civil war that plagued Sri Lanka for several decades.
The e-Society Programme of the ICTA has successfully implemented over 200 ICT based projects across the country. These projects have delivered to the door step of rural communities a host of valuable services – crop price information delivered to farmers via their mobiles; coordinates for fishing locations delivered to fisherman via their mobiles; text-to-Braille software which opens up the internet and e-mail up for the visually impaired; and e-learning software that makes learning fun for kids – this is just a small segment of what has been made possible.
The very first rural BPO was birthed in the village of Mahavilachchiya in the Anuradhapura District (http://www.ontimetechnologies.net). ICTA and FARO came together for this project, which today works for Informate, the BPO arm of John Keells Holdings.
The 20 operators are themselves the shareholders of the company and earn on average Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 a month. The company was even able to declare a 30% dividend this year. Since the boys and girls work in their own village, they do not have to incur any additional expense on board and lodging or on transport.
The success of this initial pilot led the ICTA and FARO to take their partnership further afield to the tsunami-affected village of Seenigama (http://www.seenigamabpo.com), where 15 young boys and girls work from their village for Informate and now to Uduvil in the war-torn Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
With this groundbreaking initiative, 15 young girls have been given the opportunity to provide back office accounting services to HBSI (Pvt) Ltd., one of the major business conglomerates in the country.
The Eliza Agnew BPO Service Centre in Udivul follows the unique ownership model as that of Ontime Technologies in Mahavilachchiya and Seenigama BPO Technologies where the operators themselves own and manage their company.
This project has not only provided sustainable employment opportunities to rural youth, but it has also paved the way for developing managerial capacity of young boys and girls in rural areas. The first CEO of the Mahavilachchiya BPO is in fact today employed by a leading private sector company in Colombo.