The opening ceremony of SMART Social Circle was initiated in the 5 Grama Niladhari Division of Manmunai North Divisional Secretariat and was headed by Divisional Secretary Mr. Manikavasagar Thayaparan.

Smart social circle (SSC) initiative is one of the largest community empowerment efforts implemented with the intention of make all citizens effectively use emerging digital technologies and Social media for their day today life. This is a different type of model compared to other initiatives implemented in Sri Lanka, which is initiated and implemented with the collaboration of government and the government sector officials and the support of huge number of multiple stakeholders including public and private sector organizations.

The major uniqueness of this initiative is use of community driven governance mechanism. This is one of the very unique mechanisms and SMART Social Circle considered to be the first fulfledged digital society established in villages in Sri Lanka. This is a community own, community driven initiative implemented by ICTA with the support of government and other stakeholders.

The Smart social circle (SSC) initiative has been led by the ICTA to inculcate social awareness, recognize opportunities and critical issues in various geographical areas of Sri Lanka. This initiative will provide much needed facilities to citizens to engage in policy making of the government and contribute towards good governance. The idea is to create grass root level social circles using social media technology to cover all the Grama Niladhari (GN) divisions in the country, which will ultimately connect citizens with the digitized world via various digital  interfaces.

Since this is considered to be one of the main stream digital engagement arms at grassroot level in Sri Lanka, any type of agency, organization can consume this connected network of communities to deploy their information and services island wide.  This can be also used as a channel to reach different segments of the society in an effective manner. At present some government organizations including election department, Primary industries and SLCERT utilize this network to reach masses. The SMART Textbook initiative can also be used as a business model. As of today there are multiple initiatives partnering with the SMART Social Circle initiative.

The reason the SMART Social circle is one of a kind is the approach and implementation methodology followed. From the onset the project was targeted at all sectors of the community and was aimed at building capacities of all age groups regardless of ability, education level, race or any other external factors. Social media is playing a major role in this initiative and the initiative has been designed in a way that it involves citizens directly from each GN division, each division will have their own social media web page to connect with each other and the world, and therefore citizens will witness firsthand experience with the benefits of the program.

Objectives

To create an island-wide network of SMART social circles with knowledgeable, experienced & responsive staff by using social media and emerging technologies.
Specific objectives
•    To promote active partnership among citizens to organize, integrate and provide user-friendly on-line information and services.
•    To build networks among entrepreneurs, administrators, activists, educators, and innovators, who are working to create change through social media.
•    To establish research and development center for Citizen Journalism.
•    To link with industry and global knowledge centers
•    To produce Citizen Journalists in demand locally and internationally.

 

 

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