USAID Matara market restoration project
Matara -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has completed a project in Matara that not only gives vendors a brand new place to sell their wares, but also helps them to become better business people.
The Matara Municipal Council's central market place or pola was completely destroyed by the tsunami, depriving the community of a primary source of goods and services for 4,000 daily customers, and the livelihoods of more than 300 producers, suppliers and vendors. USAID provided funds for complete reconstruction of the marketplace, including 200 vending stalls, and new water supply, drainage, and sanitation systems, according to a USAID statement.
"Like people all around the world, Americans were deeply shocked and saddened by the tsunami tragedy, so it is an honour for the U.S. government to make a small contribution to rebuilding your community," U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission James R. Moore said in a ceremony dedicating the new pola. "We hope this market will be a source of pride for all the people of Matara for a long time to come."
In conjunction with the physical reconstruction, USAID also helped train more than 200 of the market's multi-ethnic vendors develop business management skills, assisting them in forming a collective society to address work-related issues, institute a new system for solid-waste management, and identify best practices for vendors and customers alike.
The project was developed in collaboration with the Municipal Council as part of its overall post-tsunami redevelopment master plan. The new pola is a central element of that plan, which boosts the local economy, improves services to the public, and increases revenues for the city. It also makes for a more attractive Matara.