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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, June 20, 2005

UN Volunteers and GEF focus on restoring livelihoods

Daily News: 17/06/2005"

Bonn, A new agreement signed earlier this week between the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will help coastal communities in Sri Lanka get back on track from the devastating impact of the December 26 tsunamis.

UNV and GEF are joining forces to rehabilitate and restore the coastal environment and the socio-economic activities of the communities, mainly fishing villages, devastated by the tsunamis. This initiative complements UNV's current presence in the country, where UN Volunteers have been working since early January with local NGOs and communities to rebuild people's lives.

Through GEF's Small Grants Programme (SGP), UN Volunteers will provide technical support and training to local NGOs in eight coastal villages.

They will focus on carrying out beach rehabilitation and biodiversity renewal initiatives, drinking water replenishment, income-generation projects, as well as raising awareness of marine and coastal ecosystem management among fishers, tourism operators, and other resource users.

GEF will fund the NGOs through the SGP and UNV will deploy teams of UN Volunteers who will work directly with the communities through these NGOs.

Activities will focus on a range of livelihood enhancements - from the set up of income generation projects to the creation of a microcredit system.

Now in the sixth month of its post-tsunami relief and recovery efforts, UNV is strengthening its assistance to the other affected communities in the region.

Along with the UN Human Settlements Programme, or UN-Habitat, UN Volunteer engineers, architects and city planners are part of a large-scale initiative to build safer and stronger homes in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Several private sector companies are also backing UNV's efforts by sponsoring their employees for short-term UN Volunteer assignments.

In March and April, several corporate volunteers from Energy Assistance, a voluntary organisation of employees from the energy corporation Suez International, spent two weeks each in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

The objectives of the initial mission were to survey the condition of the public power distribution system and identify rehabilitation needs.

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