Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to assist Sri Lanka

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has offered to assist Sri Lanka in the development of Farmer Data Management Systems and Digital Strategy.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a merging of the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation, is an American private foundation founded by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates.

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) organized a workshop together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Colombo.

Representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Purvi Mehta and Siddharth Chaturvedi, senior agriculture authorities of the Sri Lanka Government together with industry experts and academics participated in this workshop.

ICTA said that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation intend to assist ICTA in the development of Farmer Data Management Systems and Digital Strategy of Sri Lankan Agriculture. ICTA will drive this initiative.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.

In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

The foundation has spent over $5 billion since 2009 in total commitments to agricultural development to support the needs of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (BMGF).

In 2014 Sri Lanka’s e-Library Nenasala Programme initiated and implemented by ICTA has been presented with the Access to Learning Award, presented by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The e-Library Nenasala programme, the winner of the 2014 Access to Learning Award was awarded a cash prize of one million US Dollars.

With 283 centres, eLNP constitutes a key component of the wider Nenasala telecentre network which numbered more than 790 countrywide at that time.

The Nenasalas have helped increase Sri Lanka’s computer usage and IT literacy rate from below 10 percent in 2004 to almost 40 percent after several years. 

 The BMGF has also reviewed the structure and performance of the Sri Lankan  agricultural research and extension systems (public and private) at the central and provincial levels, identify successes as well as constraints to improving the system s effectiveness for fostering innovation

It has proposed options for further policy and institutional development, drawing on lessons from international experience. The review focused principally on non plantation crops, although its main recommendations apply across the agricultural sector. 

A synthesis report summarized the main findings of the review and builds upon them by adding some new elements. The economic crisis in Sri Lanka is explicitly recognized. Additionally, the implications of changes in the wider agricultural context for agricultural research and extension have been explored, and have led to the adoption of an innovation systems perspective to organize the major findings

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