Britain to fund Jaffna NGOs directly

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The British government will donate funds for minor reconstruction work and small development projects directly to NGOs and other social service organisations in Jaffna, said the British High Commissioner in Colombo. Mr. David Tatham gave an exclusive interview to the Tamil daily 'Virakesari' on Thursday.

The British government will grant 100,000 sterling to projects which develop the Jaffna peninsula's economy, increase production, alleviate poverty, improve health, education and women's development and to environmental projects.

Funds will also be released for digging public wells and repairing public buildings which may serve the local community, said the High Commissioner. Anyone with suggestions as to how this grant could be best utilized for the people of Jaffna could get in touch with the British mission in Colombo, he added. The High Commission has appointed Ms. Susan Elliot to directly handle this scheme.

Mr.Tatham told the Virakesari that his government intends to send three more generators to Jaffna for providing electricity.(five have been sent already)and repair damaged school buildings. He also stated that the mission was negotiating with organizations such as CARE for channeling aid to the people of Jaffna.

A social worker from the north said that the British aid was 'a drop in the ocean' considering the widespread destruction caused by the Sri Lankan forces in the peninsula in past two years alone.

However, he welcomed the British decision to grant the money directly to the projects rather than channeling it through dubious government rehabilitation and relief structures.

damaged_build_jaffna.jpg
SLA shelling destroyed much of Jaffna
In mid 1996, the Sri Lankan government appealed for aid to rebuild the city of Jaffna, which had been devastated by a major Sri Lankan army offensive. The government insisted that all grants should funded through its mechanisms.

However, several donors have chosen to allocate their grants directly to relief organisations instead, releasing the funds as and when they can be practically used.

 

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