By Cassandra Mascarenhas
The winners of e-Swabhimani awards 2010 were revealed during an award gala bedecked with glamour and dazzle early this week.
|Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa (second from left) in conversation with Chairman ICTA Prof. P.W Epasinghe (second from right) at the e-Swabhimani awards ceremony. Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga (far left) and Chief Executive Officer – ICTA Reshan Dewapura (far right) are also present – Pic by Upul Abayasekara
Held for the second consecutive year, the initiative received a record breaking number of applications this year, which were then painstakingly whittled down to 163 nominations and finally 26 grand winners and seven merit awards after much deliberation on the part of a large and diverse judging panel.
The Chief Guest at the event was none other than Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa.
“This is another step in our journey to empower the citizens of Sri Lanka through innovative programmes such as eSri Lanka. This programme is a way of allowing the local talent in the country to show off their skills. We look to provide a platform through which developers of various programmes can be recognised and these skills in turn can be utilised in a progressive manner,” said Chief Operating Officer of the ICTA Reshan Dewapura, addressing the large audience.
He went on to commend the work of ICTA, for being the driving force of socio-economic development of Sri Lanka and hoped that e- Swabhimani in turn would go down in history as an innovative project that played a vital role in the betterment of society.
e-Swabhimani is an initiative of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka that commenced last year and is aimed at recognising excellence in digital content creation. The agency looks to stimulate a greater interest in the development of digital content and services to meet the needs of society through this programme and to also award the outstanding contributors to this sector.
Organised by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, eSri Lanka and the Presidential Secretariat, the highly popular programme also received support from its principal partner this year, Intel.
The 11 award categories included E-Business & Commerce, E-Culture & Entertainment, E-Learning & Education, E-Enterprise & Livelihood, E-Science & Environment, E-Government, E-Health, E-Inclusion, E-Localisation, E-News and M-Content.
This fairly broad spectrum of categories ensured many interesting entries and the winners ranged from established institutions such as Derana whose website www.adaderana.lk were one of the winners in the category of E-News to innovative individuals.
Yet another winner in the same category was the Yaaldevi Blog Aggregator which provides a platform for Sri Lankan Tamil community spread across the world to meet online; it has proved to be very popular so far with over 500 bloggers currently active on the website.
The e-Swabhimani Award process is conducted along the lines of the World Summit Award and has input from the Digital Empowerment Foundation of India who as the Knowledge Partner for the initiative ensures that the jury process conforms to international standards. The award is a stepping stone to other regional and international awards with all short listed submissions nominated to the Manthan Award South Asia.
e-Swabhimani 2010 also plays a role of special significance as it will act as the precursor for selection of the country’s best in digital content and application for submission to the World Summit Awards 2011.