European Union funded project hands over 70 laptops to Development Officers (Mediation) across the country

The EU funded ‘Supporting Effective Dispute Resolution (SEDR)’, project amplified its support to the Mediation Boards Commission (MBC) through the provision of 70 laptops to enhance the administrative functions of the Development Officers (Mediation) across the island.

The event was graced by several dignitaries – Hon. Dr.Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Justice, Priyanath Perera, Secretary Mediation Boards Commission, Hon. Justice Yapa, Chairperson Mediation Boards Commission, Commissioners of the Mediation Boards Commission, Mr Lars Bredal, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and Maarya Rehman, Country Director British Council Sri Lanka.

SEDR is a four-year access to justice project implemented by the British Council, in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF), and funded by the European Union (EU). The EUR 7 million project is part of the EU’s overarching STRIDE (Strengthening Transformation, Reconciliation and Inclusive Democratic Engagement) Programme in Sri Lanka.

SEDR’s Result Area 4 includes an activity to support the administrative functioning of mediation boards through the provision of IT equipment. This is with the objective of supporting newly appointed Development Officers collate data. Under SEDR’s Result Area 1, significant work has already been done on enhancing the MBC’s website and building a mediation database to help the MBC function more seamlessly and to be able to monitor progress. The website will help with public awareness and will increase much needed access to mediation, which is more cost efficient and sustainable when compared with litigation.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Lars Bredal, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives stated that “The EU stands with Sri Lanka in its efforts to ensure everyone has access to justice. As digitalisation plays an increasingly important role in all facets of modern society, it is relevant to the functioning of the justice system, as it allows for improved access and delivery of justice services. We hope the provision of this equipment will be instrumental in facilitating and strengthening the work of the officers of the MBC.

An ICT Needs Assessment survey of 235 MBC staff, including the new cadre of Development Officers (Dos) – Mediation – was completed in the second half of 2021, and a training needs analysis was also done prior by a consultant hired by SEDR. The scope and focus of the ICT equipment to be procured was made with agreement between the MBC, Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and SEDR joint committee being that the best option was the provision of 70 laptops.

The British Council IT team completed the task of installing software (Windows10) onto these laptops, which also all come with SEDR-branding and carrier bags. As part of the distribution process of these laptops, SEDR will work in close liaison with the MBC and MOJ to design and present an online basic orientation training session, to ensure the 70 new users are enabled to obtain maximum benefit from both the new ICT hard and software. SEDR will furthermore support an additional online training session for new users, specifically focussing on how best to use the new equipment as part of the MBC’s new online mediation database/platform.

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