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100 projects to help the poor under latest Gammadda initiative


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Peradeniya University Vice Chancellor Prof. Upul B. Dissanayake (second from left) hands over a copy of the third edition of Gammadda report to Capital Maharaja Managing Director Sashi Rajamahendran. Others from left: Peradeniya University Prof. Thilak Bandara and Capital Maharaja Group CEO Chevaan Daniel are also present 

 

  • Maharaja launches third edition of Gammadda targeting projects on water, sanitation and land  
  • Mobile app to gather data for volunteers unveiled
  • Door-to-door initiative to commence on 18 July

By Maleesha Sulthanagoda

A hundred new projects to help thousands of poor families resolve issues related to water, sanitation and farm land were launched on Thursday by the Gammadda Foundation, which is a charity under the Maharaja Group.

Maharaja Capital Group Director Chevaan Daniel speaking at the report launch shed light on the motivation behind the creation of the Gammadda initiative.

“The inability to comprehend, and reconcile the level of poverty, and inequality motivated us to set up the Gammadda Foundation. Although Sri Lanka isn’t a poor nation, 4.5% of the populace is currently living in poverty and these numbers only give us a vague representation of the real situation. It’s easy to accept poverty if Sri Lanka wasn’t blessed with bounties such as lakes, rivers, and forests. The numbers doesn’t paint a clear picture of the real situation, and it is wholly apparent when we walk from village to village. Gammadda is a response to this.” 

The Gammadda report highlights the socio-economic issues faced by the rural community of the country. The report is a collaborative effort between the University of Peradeniya, and the Gammadda Foundation to identify the needs of the rural families and determine which projects would assist them, by investigating the socio-economic issues faced by them.   

Through village forums, questionnaire surveys, and the door-to-door initiative, the volunteer teams collect information, which is later passed on to the crack team of analysts at the University of Peradeniya, spearheaded by Professor Thilak Bandara. These efforts are transformed into the Gammadda Report, which is later actioned by the Gammadda V-Force, and Gammadda Saviya. 

The Gammadda V-Force is a group of volunteers comprising of the Newsfirst newsroom, which involves themselves in carrying out the projects highlighted in the research report. The Gammadda Saviya is a committee formed with the rural communities that operate to ensure maintenance of completed projects, and to carry out new projects.

The foundation has released two prior research reports in 2016, and 2017, which highlighted many problems faced by the rural community, with actionable solutions which were also by in large carried out. The 2018 report aims to give an update on the day-to-day living situation of the rural citizens, and outlines future projects to improve the standard of living of the people in these types of areas.

University of Peradeniya Senior Lecturer Professor Thilak Bandara speaking at the research report launch expanded on the details included in the most recent report. “We have identified around 1500 socio-economic problems faced by the rural communities of the country. The major issue that we found through our research is the water availability problem. Water is widely available, but there are utilisation issues. Another major concern is transportation.”

The Senior Lecturer also mentioned that aspects such as the availability of farmable land in areas such as Puttalam, Matale, Kandy, and Badulla, wildlife interference during farming activities, rapid spread of kidney diseases, natural disasters, lack of sanitary facilities, and a lack of facilities in rural schools as other major issues plaguing the rural families from increasing their quality of life. He also added that the 2018 Gammadda report aims to rectify most of these issues through different projects. 

The Gammadda Door-To-Door mobile application was also unveiled at the Gammadda report launch. The app will be available to volunteer team leaders who will be heading out into the rural areas to gather information from the local masses. 

Pix by Lasantha Kumara

 


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