Digital Fabrication Labs (FabLabs) for Implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Solidarity and Social Economy (SSE) in Sri Lanka

Résumé - EN

Digital Fabrication and 3-D Printing are changing the way the world has seen manufacturing. By sharing designs and blueprints over the internet, it is possible to digitally print 3-dimentional objects locally from anywhere and print “almost anything”. Started as a project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the concepts of digital manufacturing are spreading all over the world in the form of Fabrication Laboratory (FabLaB), a non-profitable as well as an open development movement. A group of Sri Lankan Social Scientists from Sri Lanka and the United States has been collaborating to explore the opportunities for digital fabrication as a part of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in post -conflict economic development in Sri Lanka. As a result of this work, FabLanka Foundation, a not-for-profit social enterprise launched in 2016 for socio – economic development through promoting Digital Fabrication Technology with the emphasis on 3-D Printing. The aims of the Foundation are to share knowledge, enhance innovation and transfer technology in community development while contributing to Solidity and Social Economy (SSE) in Sri Lanka. This will be done by setting up a network of FabLabs as National Innovation Centres (NIC’s) spread across the island. A FabLab provides widespread access to modern means of innovation. It is also a technologically advanced globally connected local workshop offering Digital Fabrication. This paper discusses the objectives, process and challenges faced in this project and how digital fabrication technologies can be used in achieving some of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the SSE of post-war context of Sri Lanka.