CIDA to fund tsunami recovery programmes
Women and youth affected by the tsunami will help "green" the coastal belt of the south and the east of the island while improving their home gardens and developing their livelihoods, under a Canadian aid programme. The trees will be planted along the affected coastal belt by Ruk Rakaganno (The Tree Society) with the help of the local community.
Three hundred women and youth in the Hambantota district are also being trained in hotel management and running a bakery under the same programme. The Don Bosco Salesian Provincial Delegation of Sri Lanka, the Chefs' Guild of Sri Lanka and the Canadian Executive Service Organization are carrying out this job-oriented training project.
These are two of the numerous projects to be undertaken by 18 local NGOs with funds from the Rs. 307 million Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) Local Tsunami Recovery Facility (LTRF) to develop some of the worst-hit areas. The tsunami claimed around 40,000 lives, leaving more than 300,000 homeless and affecting about 70% of the island's coastline.
Some of the other projects will cover market access for micro producers and an improved peace and rights based education with a focus on gender, a press release said.
The National Peace Council through its gender unit known as 'Prabodhini' with the help of CIDA will be implementing a project on the 'Empowerment of women and youth in tsunami-affected areas through rights-based and peace education.'
Canadian High Commission's Head of Aid and Counsellor (Development), Jonathan Wheatcroft told The Sunday Times that they were hoping to achieve gender equality in two ways. Gender-specific projects such as helping self-employed women with micro credit loans and the Women's Entrepreneurship Programme (WEP) and conducting workshops and social counselling that integrate both men and women will be carried out, he said.
The first workshop for LTRF project partners was held on April 24 in Colombo to build skills on integrating gender equality approaches to tsunami reconstruction activities with more such workshops planned in other parts of the country.