The European Union launched one of the largest programmes of development support in the country. The European Union will contribute Rs. 5.4 billion in to reduce poverty in the provinces by improving the income of poor people living in rural areas and helping to ensure that they have enough food to eat, even in times of hardship. Speaking […]
The Government of Sri Lanka, European Union, United Nations and IFC jointly inaugurate the exhibition ‘Celebrating Partnerships’
The roaming exhibition which was showcased in the Northern Province has now reached the districts of Ampara and Batticaloa. Inaugurated on 17 October in Ampara and 19 October in Battlicaloa, the pictures show a series of development work that has been done to address the needs of the population.
This exhibition is part of the EUR 60 million European Union’s Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP), which helps the poorest communities in Sri Lanka by providing basic infrastructure and services that benefit the local economy. EU-SDDP is jointly implemented by five UN agencies–UNDP , UNICEF, UNOPS, FAO, ILO and IFC, a member the World Bank Group.
The event was inaugurated by Mr. Olaf Heidelbach of the EU, and Government Agents Mr. Wanigasinghe and Assistant District Secretary Mr. A. Naveshvaran for Ampara and Batticaloa respectively. Also in attendance in Batticaloa was Director Planning of Batticaloa District Secretariat, R. Neduncheliyan. EU-SDDP covers the Batticaloa, Mannar, Vavuniya, Ampara, Monaragala, Anuradhapura and Puttalam districts impacting half a million people.
In the Eastern Province, the EU-SDDP through the UN and IFC has worked on a wide variety of issues. UNDP, in collaboration with government institutions has developed comprehensive ‘District Development Plans’ that will assist the districts in efficiently budgeting and expressing their needs. In addition, by supporting income generation activities and developing productive infrastructure the goal is that the people have better living standards. In the same districts of the East, UNICEF has assisted more than 18,000 children through provision of access to quality education. Further, more than 200,000 people will benefit from UNICEF’s work, providing increased access to quality water, sanitation and healthcare facilities and child protection services. Complementing the efforts is UNOPS that has been a leader in establishing an integrated solid waste management system that is managed by the Local Authorities in Batticaloa. In addition to the newly constructed waste management facilities, Local Authority now have the necessary capacity to provide a more efficient waste management service for over 400,000 people. The most important part of UNOPS support has been the ownership of the people that will also see small businesses earning money from different segments of the waste cycle.
Other UN agencies such as FAO works in partnership with the Government to increase income generation among the rural population by supporting 22,000 households for agriculture, livestock and fishery economic activities in the Eastern Province. Rural communities are benefitting from inclusive and sustainable agriculture, diversification of income sources, employment and entrepreneurship, and the sustainable management of natural resources. 30 irrigation tanks in the province were also rehabilitated while communities have been made aware about the importance of conserving the tank eco-system. Additionally, FAO has played a key role in strengthening of government institutions such as the Agriculture In-Service Training Center in Karadiyanaru which was reconstructed with funding of Rs. 82 million from the EU and the establishment of Sri Lanka’s first Multi-Species Marine Finfish Hatchery in Batticaloa.
Similarly, ILO’s support has been mainly in the field of enabling the youth to be gainfully employed. Through partnering with various vocational centers in the East, ILO has ensured that more than 1600 youth are trained in demand oriented courses such as hospitality, heavy equipment operating, ICT, welding, offset printing, construction site supervision and other construction trades. Twenty three vocational training centers belonging to public and private institutes in both districts, through the EU-SDDP and with ILO support have been equipped, provided with direct training cost, staff trained, with improved curriculum to address the needs of the employers and youth/job seekers. The newly established Public Employment Services (PES) Centers are in full operation and extend their services to youth of the districts.
To boost small business growth, IFC has helped facilitate more than 21,000 loans in Ampara and Batticaloa with a total value of EUR 42 million. An integral part of the work done has been to also support the integration of over 600 MSMEs, into large supply chains through training and capacity building programs. Further, to promote tourism to the region, IFC also launched the mobile business registration in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and partnered with National Geographic to develop a Geotourism Map guide for Eastern Sri Lanka.
The photos shown during the exhibition depict the extensive scope of the activities. The event was attended by a large number of people representing the EU, UN, IFC, Government of Sri Lanka, various district level government institutions and other key stakeholders. The EU-SDDP activities will end in mid-2018 but its impact is expected to be seen for many years to come.
Mr. Olaf Heidelbach of the EU speaking at the event
Assistant District Secretary Mr. A. Naveshvaran addressing the crowd in Batticaloa
Representatives of the EU, local government and partner organizations
Attendees enjoying the photo exhibition