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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. 

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Slow tsunami housing progress worries RADA

The Island: 02/09/2006"

One of the main reasons for the slow progress made in housing for tsunami affected people has been due to some donors not keeping to their commitments despite the promises they made in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami.

Although the INGOs made pledges to build over 66,000 houses, much of it has not been realized to date as only MOUs for 16,487 housing units have been signed.

We the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) have raised concerns over certain INGOS not honouring the pledges made and not meeting the deliverable stipulated in the MOUs. The challenge we have faced today is to ensure that all INGOs keep to their promises. One of the options now made available to expedite construction is to convert the Donor Driven housing projects into the Owner Driven program where the beneficiaries themselves build their house utilizing the funds promised through pledges already made by leading INGOs.

In the immediate aftermath of tsunami the psychological environment of the coast was such that affected families were by and large not prepared to build their houses soon after the tragedy. Now one year and eight months later, the psychological environment of the coast has changed so dramatically that the affected families are no longer obsessed by fear and insecurity and are ready to come forward and rebuild their own houses if the funding support for the construction is provided. It is against this changed background H. E. the President has initiated a new policy of converting the Donor Driven housing reconstruction programme into Owner Driven programme.

According to the Owner Driven Housing programme under the new tsunami housing policy approved by his Excellency the President in May 2006, Government has taken steps to provide 250,000/= for affected families for the construction of houses whilst the INGOs are given the option of co-financing governments efforts by directly distributing among beneficiaries the funds which were allocated for building by the INGOs themselves.

To ensures transparency, donors who opted to convert to the Owner Driven program were given the list of beneficiaries whom they can co-finance so that INGOs themselves can verify their needs and make direct payments to these families. This conversion was the most practical way of solving some of the logistical issues faced in constructing houses by INGOs themselves for handing over to beneficiaries. Already some of the large scale INGOs such as the Red Cross have opted to convert two third of their pledges to the Owner Driven Program.

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