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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

The government of Sri Lanka unveils Ampara District livelihood development plan to assist the tsunami-affected masses

By Sunil C. Perera – Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 05 October, (Asiantribune.com): The District Secretary of Ampara, behalf of the Government of SriLanka officially launched the Divisional Livelihood Development Plans for the nine Tsunami affected divisions of Ampara: Addalachchenai, Akkarapattu, Kalmunai Muslim, Kalmunai Tamil, Karative , Ninthavur, Pothuvil, Sainthamarudu, and Thirukkovil, at Ampara on last Monday.

The making of these plans have been facilitated by Reconstruction and Development Agency-RADA and supported by the Income Recovery Technical Assistance Programme (IRTAP) of International labour organization (ILO).

The purpose of the plans is to bring together communities, non-governmental organizations, private sector and local government in a joint planning process that is based upon community requirements and ongoing activities from a multitude of implementing institutions. The result of the process is a plan that has identified the gaps that still need to be filled in the road to full recovery of livelihoods of families and businesses in these tsunami affected areas. The planning process also improved coordination and better targeting of interventions as well as inclusion of communities in the decision making process. The DLDPS are also linked to the district recovery plans that are currently being formulated at district level by the District Reconstruction and Development Unit.

RADA's role is to facilitate and coordinate livelihood recovery activities; the ownership of the plans is with the local authorities and communities. Now that the plans have been finalized; the success will be in the actual implementation of the priority projects. Once the plans are launched the phase of helping the divisions in matching the identified projects with implementers will start. For that funds will be solicited from various sources, such as: central government funding, decentralized budget and from the donor community.

The Government of Sri Lanka , RADA and the International Labour Organization [ILO] have jointly identified 135 priority projects out of about 1000 projects under their Divisional Livelihood Development Plan[DLDP] Ampara district to assist tsunami affected masses to become haves.

The District Secretary of Ampara District Herath Abeyweera says the government wants to grab investment opportunities to launch these income recovery projects and develop community infrastructure, local economic development and the social protection.

The District Secretary said the RADA and other organizations have already identified 15 priority projects in each divisional secretary area and the total investment would be Rs.180 million for priority projects.

Mr.Herath said implementing of the proposed plans is not an easy task, but optimistic on the donors contribution to his district where worstly affected by Tsunami and conflict. We need INGOs and NGOs support to implement these projects, he said.

At present the government and other donors constructed 700 houses for the tsunami affected community and hopes to provide over 27,000 houses for all tsunami affected masses in the Ampara district.The government has allocated Rs.1500 million to complete this task, he said.

W.M.B.S. Nissanka who is Acting Director-livelihood division of RADA said that RADA is mandated by the president to assist district and divisional stakeholders in planning, monitoring and evaluations of tsunami reconstruction projects for sustainable developments.

"So far 27 such plans have been launched and completing balance 16 by end of the year" he said. Responding to the questions from media on donor assistance for DLDP, he said that "it is quite encouraging as donors have signed MoUs for 10 projects with government in Galle and Hambantota districts, out of 138 projects commited by various donors to implement."

He extended similar invitation for donors in Ampara district too. Responding questions made by the media; Chief Technical Advisor of the IRTAP, Doekle Wielinga said the ILO has implemented a district supply data base called "Coordinating and Planning System-CAPS" to collect data from the INGOS and NGOs and to minimize aid duplication while improving coordination. The district/divisional livelihood unit comprising ILO/RADA coordinator and Livelihood officers appointed by Ministry of Labour Relations assist district/divisional secretaries to develop a data source on aid distribution, project activities and details of the beneficiaries.

Speaking to media, Country Directress of the ILO Tine Staermose said the RADA, ILO and the government of Sri Lanka are now being developed DLDPs for 43 tsunami affected divisions including north and east. This indeed marks significant progress in the tsunami-affected districts,

further she said; One month after the tsunami, the government with the assistance of the multilateral donors and the ILO outlined a strategy for rebuilding livelihoods and reviving local economies in the affected areas known as the Rapid Income Recovery Program [RIRP] and later transform to IRTAP to foresee medium and long term development.

The key requirements were social protection for those who cannot work and for those who can work, temporary employment through community infrastructure rehabilitation and permanent income recovery through finance to replace productivity assets, capacity building vocational training and other support services.

A number of organizations are assisting with the overall income recovery effort , including banks, financial intermediaries , chambers of Commerce , INGOs and NGOs .

She said the ILO deals with the dignity of working people .The ILO also provides capacity building for implementing partners in local resource based infrastructure development , local economic recovery and development tools , capacity building on social protection , that aims improving the inclusion of vulnerable groups into the recovery programme.

- Asian Tribune -

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