LFSUS, RDB and RLISIT affiliate for Ratnapura Kanadola Low Income Settlement Upgrading Project

Saturday, 25 December 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Lanka Financial Services for Underserved Settlements, (LFSUS,) Ratnapura Low Income Settlement Improvement Trust (RLISIT) – a city development trust created by the Ratnapura Municipal Council – and Management Resources for Good Governance (MaRGG) capitalised by Cities Alliance through UN Habitat and Regional Development Bank – Ratnapura Branch (RDB) joined hands recently to upgrade the living conditions of low income settlers in Ratnapura.

On 30 November 2010, the launching ceremony of the event was held at the LFSUS Secretariat, where a cheque bearing a sum of Rs. 2.885 million was handed over to Upali Wickremasinghe – RLISIT President, by Chandula P. Abeywickrama, Chairman of LFSUS, as well as Deputy General Manager – Marketing and Retail Banking of HNB. Also present at the event were Laxman Perera – Programme Manager UN –Habitat Sri Lanka, Dr. Famy Ismile, Project Manager, UN – Habitat, R. Siriwardene – General Manager CBO RDB, Priyanka Gunawarnasooriya – Secretary, RLISIT, A.B. Ariyarathne – Deputy General Manager – Sales and Marketing Regional Development Bank, K.A.N. Perera – Executive Director, Management Resources for Good Governance (MaRGG), LFSUS Secretariat team and representatives from the Municipal Council.

MaRGG in its contemplation to support and help national and local governments and other clientele organisations and agencies to improve their governance system, mechanism and processes  in order to be participatory responsive and equitable has initiated the project following a research done in 2008 in the aim of creating a Ratnapura a city without slums.

Out of the eight identified settlements, Kanadola was selected as a pilot inventiveness where 30 selected beneficiaries will be facilitated with financial aid to make their place of abode habitable. The project is located in Ratnapura Municipal Council area covering a hill area of around 15 acres abutting the municipal solid waste dump site on one side and a large cemetery on the other.

Gradually they have been able to improve their houses but most of them are still incomplete or partially built, needing improvements to make them inhabitable and achieve the ultimate goal in making them bankable with the help of Regional Development Bank – the banker on this project.

Chief Executive Officer of LFSUS Ayanthi Gurusinghe welcomed the gathering explicated the role of LFSUS and highlighted the importance and pleasure of being part this significant endeavour as an organisation. She also lauded all stakeholders on their keen and stanch efforts displayed in the attempt.

LFSUS Chairman Chandula Abeywickrama spoke on behalf of LFSUS and mentioned the importance of this initiative towards the community in the aspects of health, education and business. He further stated that having apposite habitation would not only abet one socially but also financially and economically in creating sustainable living.

RLISIT President Upali Wickremasinghe spoke on behalf of RLISIT and introduced the inception of RLISIT through MaRGG and its role in the project.

According to the research done by MaRRG in 2008, out of the 9800 domiciles in Ratnapura, 21% are measured as temporary and semi-permanent dwellings. Within the Ratnapura Municipal Council area, eight settlements have been identified as needing assistant for house upgrading. He further stated that precautions were imperative as it carried the possibility of escalating within the coming years.

Providing financial inter alia by introducing financial products through banks and other financial institutes is indeed a vital peak needed among these informal sectors of the society. This would open up new doors of prospects which will spawn them in to new avenues through housing finance, opening the massive pathways of opportunity by way of providing a gateway to develop their business and create service.

This is where microfinance, entrepreneurship and sustainability are interdependent and contribute towards the stimulation of economic development and growth of the country, including all sectors of society in the development process.