The European Union has signed an agreement to support internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugee returnees in nine Divisional Secretariat Divisions in the Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Batticaloa districts, to build houses and improve community infrastructure facilities.
The scope of the project covers Kilinochchi district including Karachchi and Kadawalai divisions and Mullaitivu district including Maritime Pattu, Puthukudiyiruppu divisions and selected villages in the Welioya division and in Batticaloa Eravur Pattu, Manmunai west, Manmunai south west, Poraithivu Pattu divisions. The financial grant amounts to Euro 14 million. This programme is expected to benefit more than 300,000 people and the activities are to be implemented from 2016 - 2018 (36 months). This project is to be executed under the overall supervision of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs with the leadership and guidance of Minister D.M.Swaminathan.
The agreement was signed on 7 December by the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, David Daly and the Habitat for Humanity, according to V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs. The objective of the project is to improve the living conditions of the affected communities. To minimize debt, vulnerable families will receive supplements for loans and construction training. To provide more holistic development support, livelihood opportunities will be provided in the form of vocational training and skills development to households and youth in the construction related sector. The project will follow a “home owner driven” process construction whereby the selected families will contribute through their own labour towards the construction efforts. The theme of the project is “homes not just houses” and building a sustainable future in Sri Lanka. The EU project will provide at least 3,410 permanent houses for 15,345 IDPs, and provide income opportunities for the families and social infrastructure for communities. All building materials will be sourced locally to support the domestic economy according to Sivagnanasothy.
The emphasis was not merely on building houses, but in turning them into homes and empowering home owners to transform from poverty and dependency to independence and self sufficiency. To build new homes, businesses and revive the region’s economy, this latest initiative follows on a previous housing programme of the European Union in the districts of Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Batticaloa which granted Euro 50 million. The project contributes to sustainable solutions for IDPs and refugee returnees said Sivagnanasothy.