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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, April 11, 2005

Await NGO monitors

Online edition of Sunday Observer - News: "by Jayantha Sri Nissanka

The Government plans to introduce a monitoring system for Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) by way of getting them to work on National Action Plans.

At present there are no laws in Sri Lanka to directly monitor the work of NGOs and they work on projects designed by them. Now the Ministry of Social Services has decided to get the NGOs to work on National Plans designed by the Government.

As the first initiative, the Ministry summoned all NGOs in the Southern Province involved in children related projects last Thursday for a discussion to introduce a National Action Plan for Children in Galle.

"Hereafter, NGOs have to adhere to the requirements of National Plans designed by the Government", Social

Services Ministry Additional Secretary W. H. Zoysa told the Sunday Observer. The NGOs have earned the wrath of certain political parties and many organisations over their work in Sri Lanka. When asked whether the Ministry has received complaints against any NGO, Zoysa replied negatively. Another meeting will be held on April 20, in Trincomalee for all NGOs operating in the Eastern Province. Thereafter, a national level programme will be held in Colombo for all NGOs in the country to introduce a National Plan for Tsunami Victims for a two-year period, he said.

When contacted the Registrar's office of the National Secretariat for Non Governmental Organisations said that 945 organisations have registered as Non Governmental Organisations so far. About 200 applications have also been received from various organisations after December 26. However, now the Social Services Ministry has to obtain the clearance from the NGO Unit in the Ministry of Finance prior to registration. The Finance Ministry will give clearance for local NGOs if they can show Rs. 3 million contribution in three years. Foreign NGOs need to bring $ 1 million in three years to be eligible for registration.

Though, the Finance Ministry requested NGOs which were working on tsunami related projects to register with the Ministry, only 235 NGOs have responded positively.

Many foreign Governments have pledged that they will assist us to help tsunami victims but tsunami aid has not come to Sri Lanka in the form of money only. They sent us food items,equipment, medicine, etc, Social Services Minister Sumedha Jayasena told the Sunday Observer.

Some NGOs have constructed houses for tsunami victims. A German national has built 50 houses in Telwatte in Galle District. The Red Cross (ICRC) has pledged to build 15,000 houses too. "Donors are waiting until we prepare project plans to build houses,hospitals,other public buildings, etc", she said

When contacted the Director General of Customs Sarath Jayathilake said that tsunami aid containers are still being cleared at Orugodawatte. He said that 58 containers of UNICEF were released last week and daily about 20 tsunami aid containers are released with the help of the Social Services Ministry."

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