Horizon Lanka

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Horizon Lanka

Sri Lanka
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

In rural areas plagued by unemployment, isolation, and fractured schools, Nandasiri Wanninayaka (Wanni) teaches students the skills they need to be competitive in the global marketplace. Wanni found a way to bring modern technology to isolated communities, link villagers to outside networks through email, and use alternative education (with an emphasis on the English language) to foster teamwork, creativity, and self-esteem among students. Wanni's plans include contracting an outsourcing venture that will employ 1,000 youth, creating access to a free English satellite TV station, and establishing e-commerce so farmers can avoid middlemen and sell their products at market prices. Horizon Lanka Foundation's innovative methods have attracted international interest and the Sri Lankan government has committed to replicate his model in many parts of the country.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Students in rural Sri Lanka are at a competitive disadvantage in today's economy for two reasons: They lack the training and English skills typically provided by urban schools, and the low level of infrastructure in rural areas discourages business investment. Recognizing that the education system in Sri Lanka is failing to keep pace with the requirements of the job market, Wanni has created a system to better prepare rural children to face the competitive world. His model relies on innovative teaching methods that combine training in English and computer skills with the development of community-wide internet connectivity. English skills serve little purpose if jobs remain unavailable. Thus, Wanni supplements his teaching efforts with the development of a technological infrastructure designed to attract communication, training, and employment opportunities that usually exist only in cities. Wanni is turning his village into an "e-village," equipping it with household computers and internet access. Using a combination of soft loans, subsidies, and gifts, Wanni has provided more than 50 computers to families and public schools in the area. Thirty of these computers are connected to the internet via an affordable "mesh" network technology provided by a popular mobile phone company. With this system in place, Wanni convinced a leading company to start business process outsourcing (BPO) in the area, which will employ 1,000 youth in coming years. His teaching methods have spread to adjoining villages, and he hopes to negotiate similar business contracts in the future. Wanni is creating a powerful model that is attracting the attention of local communities, the national government, the national and international business community, and multilateral institutions.