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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2673

Sri Lanka: RADA releases its action plan for year 2007

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 12 January, (Asiantribune.com): The Reconstruction and Development Agency [RADA] has decided to continue its support to implement a number of projects to help tsunami affected community in Sri Lanka .

The RADA’s Livelihood Development Director Kausal Rajapaksha said the RADA has already prepared its action plan for the year 2007 and hopes to launch the first half of its programme with assistance from the INGOs, NGOs and the private sector in the country.

According to the livelihood plan for the next six months period, it was further decided not to initiate new activities in the work plan but to carry out the actions already initiated.

The plan will monitor the ongoing livelihood development plans and it will extend necessary assistance to welfare camps in war affected areas.

The RADA’s Livelihood Director said that the RADA need of preparation of achievable targets nationally and district wise and strategy for DLDP marketing during next three months.

The RADA also indicated that it wishes to implement certain recommendations came out from post tsunami conference with relevant agencies e.g. tourism. First step should be presenting this document at the coming donor conference at the end of January.

“We have plans to setting up of economic center in South based on certain proposals came out from feasibility report (prepared by ILO),” he said.

The Plan includes starting of model clusters in districts to improve their market linkages and providing capital for investments and a cleaner city program will be started while giving income earning opportunities for poorest people especially for those who living in shanty houses where no room for production orient business.

The RADA hopes to Identify physically and economically vulnerable groups and capacity assessment on divisional basis will be useful for future training programs on skill developments. Sometime those people only asset may be the labor and this could be link with the Temporary Employment Generation (TEG)

Explore possibilities to expand the coverage of formal social security scheme to the informal sector, including potential subsidization of very poor (vulnerable group).Overview of risk factors to which different groups in the community are most prone.

The RADA also plans the signing of MOU with the Social Security Board to improve the coverage of Tsunami affected people.

North East area reintroduce of cash transfer program may arise in conflict area where Tsunami relief has not gone. It may be urgent need develop a package of interventions for those people and reduce the shortcomings in future.

Under this project, the RADA officials will attend the special needs of children and youths affected by the conflict who are living in Tsunami affected area and establish inter agency cooperation with Samadhi program, civil – conflict related program, flood and drought relief and other safety net programs run by the Provincial Councils (Probation and Child Care Dept.)

The temporary employment generation in the Eastern and Northern areas would commence within this year.

The restoration of livelihood in North East is more effective along with reactivation of community infrastructure facility. Regarding the economic infrastructure roads are the major component, which got dilapidated due to non-maintenance.

It also includes identifying employable beneficiaries in new housing schemes and similarly identifying potential community infrastructure projects with in the new housing scheme.

The RADA plans to increase the local economic recovery and development and to give more emphasize to monitoring of DLDP. Mr. Rajapaksha said, “RADA hopes to establish a DLDP monitoring system at district level and to introduce GIS to the District level for monitoring and tracking of DLDP and other projects.”

“We will work with a number of government legislators to prepare guidelines for Livelihood Officers about DLDP is marketing and getting support of Livelihood Officers for the livelihood development in resettlement housing schemes,” he said.

Identifying physically and economically vulnerable groups and capacity assessment on divisional basis will be useful for future training programs on skill developments. Sometime those people only asset may be the labor and this could be link with the Temporary Employment Generation (TEG)

The plan includes explore possibilities to expand the coverage of formal social security scheme to the informal sector, including potential subsidization of very poor (vulnerable group).
The restoration of livelihood in North East is more effective along with reactivation of community infrastructure facility .Regarding the economic infrastructure roads are the major component which got dilapidated due to non-maintenance.

Identify employable beneficiaries in new housing schemes and similarly identify potential community infrastructure projects with in the new housing scheme.

RADA Livelihood main initiatives are coordination of Sri Lankan and international donors and initiatives to support reconstruction of livelihoods at village, Division and District level. Where not even 10 months ago donors, the Government and (I)NGOs frequently planned and implemented recovery projects in isolation, all partners now agreed to common coordination and registration procedures.

Regularly and well organized coordination meetings and a comprehensive project data base are the two key building stones, initiated and facilitated by RADA.

Initiating evaluation and participatory planning of projects required at community and Divisional level to build back better after the Tsunami devastations and presentation of these so called Divisional Livelihood Development Plans (DLDPs) to donors and (I)NGOs. To date donors and (I)NGOs took up projects worth more than 600 Million LKR in order to build back livelihoods.

Capacity Building in the technical fields of Social Protection, Community Infrastructure recovery, Local Economic Development as well as in management skills has been provided to 369 persons who mainly come from local governance levels and implementing agencies.

RADA embarked on a campaign to educate the implementing agencies on the required standards that are required to ensure that costly investments in infrastructure development will be sustainable. To this purpose RADA developed guidelines on labor conditions, engineering standards and contracting and procurement standards which have been widely distributed to those who implement these works. Through a number of Labor Based Appropriate Technology (LBAT) programmes RADA was also able to share experiences on best practice by training technical staff from Pradeshiya Saba and Divisions and organizing field trips to successful sites.

The mobile service program, called "Back to Business" week allowed RADA and its partner FCCISL up to now to deeply penetrate 6 of 10 affected Districts with the remainder under preparation.

Over 30,000 affected people registered with RADA their complaints, wishes and help requests regarding their livelihood recovery. It is clearly evident that after two years of tsunami devastation still a sizeable number of affected people are languishing without support to re-build their livelihoods despite huge interventions by many key actors. 26% of the requests for support were answered by a relentless RADA task force, but still 70% remains to be answered in both word and deed and will continue to stretch its resources for at least the coming 6 months.

By assisting the Central Bank in processing information on the progress of loan disbursements via Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) RADA greatly enhanced its understanding and ability to monitor micro-finance assistance to tsunami affected micro- and small enterprises.

Through this mechanism by the end of August the NDTF, Susahana and FCCISL loan schemes disbursed a total value of SLR. 20,025 Million to 57,862 beneficiaries. Despite that the Sushana and NDTF schemes have been exhausted consultations through the "Back to Business Week" and the livelihood help desks found that there is still a big demand. In this light RADA Livelihood Unit has initiated a lobby campaign that might eventually lead to the revival of the Susahana loan with Government funding.

The majority of the efforts of RADA have been in strengthening the delivery of livelihood support at the district and divisional level while at the same time establishing partnerships and linkages at national level and monitoring the livelihood progress. This has enabled RADA to address a number of big issues in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Most of the people of whom their livelihood recovery is being supported by RADA, belong to the informal sector and were engaged in micro level economic activities. Despite the ongoing efforts deficiencies in targeting, provision of support combined with other factors still exist, in specifically leading to the exclusion of these weak and vulnerable groups. The feed back at the livelihood advisory committee meeting held on 12th September buttressed this shortcoming and revealed the need for RADA to further develop its support structure to be bale to address community level needs and aspirations

As a result, RADA Livelihood Unit has evaluated its current programme and reoriented its activities to address the need to work at community level livelihood development. This will further strengthen efforts to cater for the needs of the smallest and weakest economic links of this society, the micro entrepreneurs and informal sector self-employed who, more often than not women entrepreneurs being the only source of income for their families.

It is against this background, the following important amendments are being proposed to focus the program much stronger on the village level and increase its tangible results:

Information on the people who need support will be collected in consultation with the affected communities. The involvement of Village Rehabilitation Committees is considered useful in this respect. It may be prudent even to display the list of people seeking assistance at common a place so that the community will have a chance to validate the information;

A model for Community Change Plans for life and livelihoods will be developed and tested in 10 villages. Once the pilot has been evaluated the approach can be rolled out the other affected communities in need of assistance.

Local economic development tools to analyze value chains and local opportunities will be applied for those products and activities identified as potential sources of employment and community development.

A micro credit need assessment will be conducted in 10 affected districts through Focus Group Discussions with the families and entrepreneurs working in the informal and micro-enterprise sector who have not been able to access regular micro-finance schemes come to understand the needs and design a schemes that will address these needs to support deprived groups and fast-track livelihood restoration and development. In addition, support to strengthen the village level micro finance institutions is considered desirable to ensure the flow of loans to micro entrepreneurs;

A survey will be conducted among the communities that have been resettled in permanent housing schemes to assess the impact that this has on the livelihood strategies of families and individuals in order to device appropriate mechanisms to address these needs.

In Tsunami affected areas where civilian population has been temporarily displaced during a period of conflict the District Livelihood will coordinate and monitor Temporary Employment Schemes to ensure optimal targeting and maximum results from the onset.

Based upon these activities mentioned above RADA will develop a strong working relation with the most vulnerable and needy groups within the affected communities. This approach will be developed into a comprehensive livelihood development strategy that will complement and replace the current Income Recovery strategy end ensure that the knowledge base developed by RADA will be properly institutionalized to ensure sustainability of the activities.

- Asian Tribune -

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