Japan extends its support to Ampara, Batticaloa and Monaragala Districts under the scheme of “Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects”

On the 9th of March 2023, His Excellency Mr. MIZUKOSHI Hideaki, Ambassador of Japan, signed the grant contract of 3 projects under the scheme of “Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects” (GGP) at his residence, together with Ms. Harshani Sandamali Gnanasinghe, Chairman of VOICE OF WORKING WOMEN (VOWW), Mr. Amarasingam Gajenthiran, Programme Manager of Street Child and Ms. Dharma S. Samaranayake, CEO of Peragamana Guild.

The Government of Japan has provided a total amount of US$ 203,703 (approx. Rs.73.5 million) for these 3 projects, “The Project for Constructing Irrigation Channel Systems in the Conflict Affected Area in Ampara”, “The Project for Constructing a School Building at Mavadimunmari G.T.M.S in Batticaloa” and “The Project for Constructing a Public Road in Kotiyagala, in Monaragala”.

Ambassador MIZUKOSHI reaffirmed his firm commitment to Japan’s continued support for building a sustainable living environment for vulnerable people in the Northern and Eastern provinces, in cooperation with local authorities and NGOs, referring to the importance of regional economic disparities through the development of the Northern and Eastern parts of the country in order to recover from the current economic crisis and achieve sustainable growth.

“The Project for Constructing Irrigation Channel Systems in the Conflict Affected Area in Ampara” aims to promote sustainable water management for food security and nutrition in agriculture through the construction of an anicut and rehabilitation of the irrigation channel system. This area is located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and most of the farmers can cultivate their land only during a few months of the rainy season, since, the existing irrigation system was dilapidated during the conflict. The new irrigation system will enable 595 families to farm year-round and increase crop production.

Commenting on the provision of this grant, Ms. Gnanasinghe stated that “The project includes activities (I) to construct an anicut (weir), (II) to rehabilitate dilapidated irrigation schemes and extension of existing canals and re-organize and strengthen Farmer Organization (FO) and its members (men and women) who are beneficiaries of the project. The principal crop grown in the rehabilitated area is paddy (rice). As an essential component, supply of adequate water for about 400 acres of vegetable cultivation is also included. The proposed activities are scheduled for completion within one year after the commencement of the project. With regard to gender equality, a general lack of awareness of the issues involving women was noted and steps would be taken to improve women empowerment and maintain a healthy gender balance.”

“The Project for Constructing School Building at Mavadimunmari G.T.M.S in Batticaloa” aims to provide sufficient and comfortable educational environment for the children through construction of a school building at Mavadimunmari G.T.M.S in Batticaloa District. The school has been categorized as “very difficult” by the Zonal Education Office because of the very remote location of the school in the area. At present, several classes are being conducted outside due to the shortage of classrooms. The new building will provide secure classrooms and an ICT room for the resettled children attending the school. 113 children and 13 teachers will benefit from access to safe, secure and conducive learning spaces with additional access to an interactive classroom space.

Mr. Amarasingam stated that “Street Child works across 21 countries and its aim is to ensure children are safe, in school, and learning especially, in low resource environments and emergencies. In Sri Lanka, Street Child has been delivering effective primary education programmes and school rehabilitation across the lowest performing districts since 2017. Sri Lanka is home to some of the most marginalized and underserved children in the world. Due to years of conflict, political upheaval, and COVID-19, the country is suffering massive financial hardship, and these children need our support if they are to stay in school and retain some hope of a brighter future.”

“The Project for Constructing a Public Road in Kotiyagala, in Monaragala” aims to improve access to major livelihood facilities and institutions such as markets, schools or hospitals of the remote villages in Kotiyagala. The residents of these villages are currently challenged by lack of a safe access road to reach the closest city in order to fulfill their basic livelihood requirements. They currently use an unpaved road with severe risks. While, the safest paved road is longer and need to travel by foot for about 6 to 7 kilometres. The proposed road will provide around 800 villagers with a safe and easier access to the closest city with only half the distance compared to the next safest option.

Ms. Samaranayake stated that “The first project under the GGP assistance was successfully implemented by Peragamana Guild to establish several tube wells and community development activities in Lathugala a marginalized village in Ampara district. GGP funding is yet again being provided to develop a 2.5 km long Devupudagama road in a village in Kotiyagala, in the Siyambalanduwa AGA division in the Monaragala District. Development of road facility will ease the hardship of the poor farmers, school children and the entire community, hitherto experienced due to lack of transportation.  On completion of the project with Japanese GGP assistance, the community will gain lots of benefits.”

In Sri Lanka, GGP began in 1989 and has provided grant assistance for 314 projects, including these three projects, totaling up to approximately 57 million US dollars.