Vision Mannar is a district-wide business initiative that aims to develop boutique businesses based on Mannar’s famous products for tourist and export markets: mainly rice, dry fish, salt and palmyrah. Although Mannar was once famous for such products, the district did not benefit from this because of a lack of product development; branding and packaging; a reluctance to embrace new technology; and low standards in all stages of manufacturing and production. This project has many objectives – to value add to existing Mannar products, develop and promote high quality items for external markets, build the capacity of small and medium enterprises to produce export quality goods and to reduce regional poverty and high levels of unemployment (particularly for vulnerable groups). External funding of this project is essential.
Activities summary from the last visit to Sri Lanka
• Reviewed the extensive “Vision Mannar” proposal and budget completed by Diarne Kreltszheim, Diaspora Lanka volunteer, and Chamber staff in June last year. Also developed a modified and less funds-heavy version.
• Held several meetings with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to seek funds for the “Vision Mannar” proposal.
• Worked closely with Chamber staff to develop new projects and find funding.
• Wait for UNDP feedback. The Government and UNDP are currently in negotiations about project and funding guidelines so until the outcomes are known, local resourcing decisions cannot be made.
To address the inequities between urban and rural areas within Mannar District and to provide a solid foundation of computer, IT and English ability for young people, two CMV centres have been established in Vidathaltheevu (Catholic) and Pudukudiruppu (Muslim) villages. Computer training and English language classes are being run for children and young people to serve as a basis for a brighter future. The CMV program is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of ITP and is being coordinated by Kamal Raj and Al Hathir.
English class at Vidathaltheevu
Activities summary from the last visit to Sri Lanka
• Volunteers Huyen Lai (Vietnam) and Mirjam Link (Estonia) ran a December vacation program for school-aged children from the two villages, combining English learning and fun activities.
• Children’s Day was celebrated in style at Pudukuduirippu with student presentations of poetry, stories, song and dance.
Sri Lanka was able to complete demining in human settlement areas in the shortest period of time on record, said Ministry of Defence Spokesman and MOD Media Centre Director Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya .
He made these observations at a press conference held at the MOD Media Centre, Kollupitiya, yesterday. “Sri Lanka heads the list of countries which had completed demining in areas earmarked for human settlement, and farming lands, within the shortest period of time under international standards in the aftermath of the elimination of terrorism,” Brigadier Wanigasuriya said.
He added that 1.1 million landmines and explosives that were strewn by the LTTE terrorists have been recovered by the Security Forces and other groups that were engaged in the demining program. Countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia have not yet been completely demined after several decades since the end of conflict in those countries.
Brigadier Wanigasooriya said Sri Lanka was able to demine areas for human settlement and their farming lands a hundred percent and there is only 82 square kilometers to be demined out of the 2,064 square kilometres that was strewn with landmines, claymores, high explosives etc by the LTTE before terrorism was eliminated. He added the area that has to be demined is in the thick jungles and the demining program is in progress. Brigadier Wanigasuriya stated that the demining is conducted not as per Sri Lankan standards but under UN Demining Program standards.
He added that when demining was completed, such areas were inspected and guaranteed by UNDP officials before lands were handed over to the civilians. He also added that of the demined lands, more than 70 percent was demined by the Security Forces. The rest was deminded by local and foreign NGOs. He further said that Sri Lanka could humbly be proud of its success in the demining program within a short period of time as none of the countries have been able to achieve such a degree of success in demining after a conflict was ended. He added that mines in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia etc have not yet been completely removed, though years after conflict.
“Local productions have shown tremendous progress in the recent past. The provincial administration under the guidance of the Governor, taking every possible step to improve the productivity of local production.”
Opening ceremony of Pandatharippu palm jaggery production factory of Pandatharippu Palmyrah Development Board was held on 24th April 2013. Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda and Governor of Northern Province GA Chandrasiri participated as chief guests.
This factory was established to produce local jaggery products with modern technology and high standard and thereby, it will help to improve the livelihood of the relevant society. The arrangements for local and foreign marketing facilities have been made.
This jaggery factory which is located at Keerimalai, Periyavilan, Pandatharippu was declared open by the chief guests. They also unveiled the commemorative plaque of the factory. The guests also made a observation visit to see the machinery and activities. Sales activities were also officially launched.
The factory was constructed at a cost of 21 million rupees with the financial support of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It is estimated that 1,200 bottles of palm juice (karupani) can be produced per day through this factory.
Divisional Secretary of Vali South-West Muralitharan, Cooperative Commissioner Mathumathy Vasanthakumar, Asst. Commissioner of Cooperative Development Arunthavanathan, Regional Manager of UNDP Gnanaganeshan and several relevant officials also took part at this event.