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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

US Agency for International Development Improves Livelihoods of Kirinda Fishermen

Colombo, 25 January, ( On a hot afternoon in January, hundreds of fishermen paused their midday activities to join local and national government officials, religious and community leaders, and representatives of the US government to officially open the new United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Kirinda Harbor Mechanics Workshop at the base of the Kirinda Harbor in the south.

Attendees included Mr. Asanga Abeyagoonesekara, Chairman of the Ceylon Fisheries Harbor Corporation (CFHC), Mr. G. Piyasena, Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources, and USAID Mission Director, Rebecca Cohn. During the ceremony, Chairman Abeyagoonesekara remarked that he was proud that everyone could come together “and work so hard to create a new beginning for the fishermen of Kirinda.”

Kirinda Harbor fishermen gather for the opening of the USAID-funded mechanics workshop.Kirinda Harbor fishermen gather for the opening of the USAID-funded mechanics workshop.

Kirinda is known as the fishing capital of Tissamaharama and thousands of people depend on the harbor for their livelihoods. Just over two years ago, still visibly devastated by the tsunami, many of these same fishermen gathered here to celebrate the completion of another USAID project, the dredging of the harbor.

USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn told the crowd that it was clear that more than simply dredging needed to be done to ensure long-term sustainable economic growth at the harbor. “When we saw the state of the mechanics workshop and found out that there was no other place to maintain and repair harbor equipment in the area we knew we could help,” Ms. Cohn said. “Based on a strong relationship forged during the dredging efforts and the collaborative spirit of the people of Kirinda, USAID is proud to have had the opportunity to rehabilitate the mechanics workshop.”

The mechanics workshop was built as part of a USAID’s Transition Initiatives program, which is aimed at strengthening the relationship between community members and their local government leaders. Ms. Cohn closed her remarks by complimenting the collaborative work efforts of the Ceylon Fisheries Harbor Corporation and the Harbor Management Committee, “We are optimistic that the relationship between the CFHC and the community-led committee will continue to blossom and evolve, making the harbor a true gathering place for all members of the community.”

- Asian Tribune -

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