January 12, 2007
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) , on behalf of the government of Japan, has entered into an agreement on 12th January, 2007 with the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government to extend technical cooperation to a project on Rural Livelihood Improvement in nine selected Grama Niladhari divisions in Hambantota district.
The target nine Grama Niladasi divisions will be selected out of most affected with poverty in Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Sooriyawewa, Lunugamvehera and Hambantota. The objective of the project is to increase the income and livelihood of the people in those target areas by project activities identified by the communities of the selected villages as their own plan and priority of development. Identification of development needs and priorities of villagers will done through a community workshop. This methodology is called Community Approach Program (CAP), for participatory rural development. It is expected that this development approach and the methodology is in line of the Gama Neguma program of the government.
In the plementation, this project aims atstrengthening and effectively utilizing the existing rural development institutions and practices (e.g. Community Action Planning and Community Contract System), the improvement of income and livelihood standard of the beneficiaries. The project activities will include agriculture techniques, women activities, skill development activities, health and nutrition activities small scale infrastructure etc. The achievement and method adopted in the implementation is expected to compile as a Rural Development Model to be applied in other places in the region in the future. The project activities will be carried out with a guidance and close supervision of Japanese experts whom are expected to share the Japanese experience in rural development.
The input for the project from JICA will consist with the provision of expertise, such as Community Development, Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure Engineering etc., Counterpart Training in Japan and Provision of Equipment and Materials required to achieve project objectives. The total value of the input from JICA is approximately Rs. 100 million for this project. The duration of the project will be four (4) years commencing from March 2007.
The request for this project was received from the Southern Provincial Council and followed by JICA conducted field investigations and discussions with relevant authorities at national, provincial, divisional secretariat and Grama Niladhari Divisions level for making preliminary arrangement for project formulation since 2004.
As regional disparity is an emerging feature in economic and social development process in Sri Lankaand it is one of the crucial issues at present, it is expected that this project will be effective to the southern region in Sri Lanka.. The poverty ratio in Hambantota is also about 23% which is one of the highest. The importance of capacity building of community based organizations in order to take part in development activities of livelihood improvement has been found in JICA studies.. In this background, JICA has decided to support improvement of rural livelihood of rural people in Hambantota district.
This project will be implemented by Southern Provincial Council with close cooperation with district secretariat of Hambantota. They have agreed to make necessary arrangements with allocation of necessary counterpart personal, counterpart fund and required office spaces etc. for smooth implementation of the project with Japanese experts whom are scheduled to reside in project sites from its commencement. For monitoring and steering of the project, a National level Coordination Committee headed by the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Regional (district and provincial) Coordination Committee and Divisional Project Implementation Committees have been proposed and agreed between JICA and Government of Sri Lanka.