Japan assists  livelihood projects in A’pura, Matara

The Government of Japan yesterday extended a sum of US$ 203,067 (approximately Rs. 25.4 million) grant aid for two projects to improve livelihoods of the communities in the Anuradhapura, and Matara districts under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).

The Grant Contracts were signed by Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan, N. K. Mudalige, Chairperson of Soba Kantha Environment Management and Community Development Foundation and A. Wijesundara, President of Community Resource Management Foundation were signed at the Ambassador’s residence in Colombo.

The first project is "the Project for Economic Empowerment of Women through Increased Production of Dried Fish and Enhancing the Marketing Network in Matara District" which will be implemented by Soba Kantha Environment Management and Community Development Foundation. Approximately Rs.11.3 million is allocated to construction of a dried fish processing & marketing complex along with 30 ovens, processing equipment and training to the women’s communities of 4 villages in Dondra Divisional Secretary Division in order to assist in improving livelihoods of 200 families through increasing the production of dried fish. This is the third dried fish project implemented by Soba Kantha, following the successful implementation of similar projects in 2010 and 2011.

Nilmini Kanthi Mudalige, Chairperson of Soba Kantha said " this project is initiated to improve the living standards of women community.  7 to 8 women can be benefitted from each oven and one oven can produce nearly 250kg of dried fish per month. As the products will be introduced to the market as a value added item, each member can earn more than Rs. 20,000 per month as a net profit".

The second project is "the Project for Rehabilitation of a Tank in the Conflict Affected Area in Anuradhapura". Community Resource Management Foundation will implement it with 14.1 million rupees for rehabilitation of a tank, sluice, spill, bathing area and access road in Gannurannepothana Village in Anuradhapura District. Mr. Awusadahamige Wijesundara, President of Community Resource Management Foundation stated that "the tank is more than 200 years old and previously provided water for paddy cultivation in both Yala & Maha seasons. But now famers can do cultivation only 50 acres due to low capacity of the tank. After rehabilitation of the tank, it is expected to expand paddy cultivation another 150 acres. It will help to enhance the income of the farmer community in the rural village".

 Japan provides its assistance to Sri Lanka on the concept of "Inclusive Economic Growth" and has supported the programs such as reconstruction in the North and East, agriculture and fisheries development, and rural development. In this context, the Government of Japan has decided to assist those projects, which are expected to promote Sri Lanka’s social and economic development as well as to enhance peace and reconciliation at the grassroots level.

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