Design for empowerment: empowering Sri Lankan farmers through mobile-based information system

Tamara Ginige, Deborah Richards, Athula Ginige, Michael Hitchens

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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We developed a mobile-based information system (MBIS) to empower users to improve their livelihood activities. To do so, we first developed an empowerment framework (since one does not exist) as a basis to develop the MBIS. In particular, we conducted this research to solve an agriculture over-production problem in Sri Lanka where farmers remain trapped in a poverty cycle. They cannot make informed decisions due to lack of access to timely, context-based actionable information to achieve a good revenue. We had to generate some essential information such as current production level in real-time by capturing farmers’ decisions such as what and how much to grow. For this purpose, we needed to empower farmers to actively engage them in informed decision-making process through the MBIS. In evaluating the impact of the MBIS, we found a statistically significant positive change in farmers’ empowerment levels based on measuring self-efficacy, sense of control, and motivation before and after they used the application. Commercial organizations have since adopted this mobile-based system in India and Sri Lanka to solve agricultural problems, in universities Africa to mitigate hidden hunger, and the Corporative Research Center in Australia to develop digital health applications to manage chronic diseases, which indicates the approach’s wide adoptability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Pages (from-to)444-483
Number of pages40
JournalCommunications of the Association for Information Systems
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Publisher 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Design Science Research
  • Empowerment Framework
  • Empowerment Processes
  • Mobile-based Information Systems
  • Sri Lankan Farmers


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