USAID Field Report Sri Lanka Sep 2003
USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) program has the goal of generating greater support for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict in Sri Lanka. To accomplish this, OTI has three objectives:
- demonstrate tangible benefits of peace;
- increase the amount and exchange of
information and diverse points of view on peace issues among various levels
of society and communities; and,
- reduce or prevent incidents of violence in conflict prone communities.
- support positive, community-based interaction
among diverse groups of people;
- promote citizen involvement in community
decision making, particularly for rehabilitating community-based infrastructure;
improve livelihoods and provide skills training; and,
- increase dissemination of balanced information and differing points of view.
DONORS SAY ASSISTANCE LINKED TO PEACE TALKS - The three largest donors in Sri Lanka - the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Japan Bank for International Cooperation - have stated they will not consider funding any new projects until the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) return to the peace talks and progress is made in the negotiations. The Tamil Tigers withdrew from the talks in April, accusing the government of failing to meet previous promises. It is expected that the LTTE will be presenting a proposal to the government in October, and it is hoped that negotiations will start up again by the end of the month.
LTTE CONSCRIPTION OF CHILDREN - The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) has reported the LTTE forcibly conscripted 23 children from a school and Hindu temple just days after ceremoniously releasing 49 child soldiers to a UNICEF half way house. Several hundred Tamil students protested the most recent abductions, a rare occurrence due to fear of reprisals from the LTTE. UNICEF and the SLMM were both outraged at the recent abductions, and SLMM is working to arrange a meeting between the abductees' parents and LTTE leadership to obtain their release.
A. Narrative Summary
September was the busiest month to date for the OTI program in Sri Lanka. All three offices were focused on signing grants and together cleared 19 of them. During this month, the Colombo-based Chief of Party spent a week at the Ampara office covering for the Regional Program Manager who was on leave. While there, she worked with staff to expand their understanding of the OTI program and increase their facility with the OTI database that tracks the grants' progress.
Also in September, the head of OTI/Washington's program development team came to Sri Lanka to help OTI staff fine tune the program strategy and develop a monitoring and evaluation plan. This plan will help gauge whether projects are having the desired effect and are contributing to the program's goal and objectives. The three-day session included a discussion of different methods of collecting data, as well as the specific information that needs to be examined.
B. August 2003 Grants Activity Summary
|Community Impact Projects||
|Media and Information||
C. Indicators of Success
As noted above, the 19 grants cleared by OTI's three offices in September totaled $346,959. With two program development officers now on board in Ampara, that office alone cleared 12 grants. The three offices are almost fully staffed, and as staff become more experienced they will be able to clear more grants each month. Each grant has a short duration and thus new grants need to be developed and cleared continuously. Six grants out of the Colombo office have been fully implemented already.
On September 17, OTI's Deniyaya Housing Challenge project was featured on Sri Lankan radio. This project was launched on August 7 and completed October 1 through the help of local youth who volunteered their services. During this time the project successfully achieved its goal of constructing 100 houses for Sinhalese and Tamil families in 60 days. After briefing listeners on the devastation in the Deniyaya region caused by the May floods, the broadcaster explained how the Low Country Community Based Organization Consortium rose to the challenge with the assistance of USAID. OTI's Program Development Officer then discussed how USAID has been working to build constituencies for peace throughout the country, emphasizing that such undertakings are only possible when conflict is absent.
D. Program Appraisal
The OTI/Sri Lanka program is up and running, with grants being cleared on a regular basis by all three offices. For the first time the program has reached its monthly funding goal, and is expected to continue to do so in coming months. With new ideas in place regarding program monitoring and evaluation, OTI/Sri Lanka will be better able to determine how successful its grants are and where changes need to be made.
Next Steps/ Priorities
In October, OTI will continue to review new proposals and fund new grants. Implementation will also begin on grants cleared during September. In particular, procurement staff from Colombo will assist the Ampara office in getting its 12 recently cleared grants implemented in a timely fashion. Staff in all three offices will also start including new monitoring criteria in the database.
For further information, please contact:
In Sri Lanka: Justin Sherman, Sri Lanka
Country Representative, email@example.com
In Washington, D.C.: Rachel Wax, Asia and Near East Program Manager, 202-712-1243 firstname.lastname@example.org