18 January 2017, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. UN-Habitat officially launched the ‘Human Development Initiative through Empowerment and Settlement Improvement in the Plantation Settlements in Sri Lanka (HDI)’ project in Nuwara Eliya district with the participation of key project stakeholders. Funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), this project will be implemented by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development.
The main objective of the launch event was to introduce the project to key stakeholders and to discuss its implementation strategy and main outputs. The Programme commenced with opening remarks by Mr Chanaka Talpahewa, Country Programme Manager of UN-Habitat Sri Lanka. Speaking at the event, Ms. Ranjini Nadarajapillai, Secretary, Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development mentioned that the active support of all stakeholders is needed to improve the living standards of plantation communities. She appreciated UN-Habitat’s people centred approach of project implementation, and stated that this methodology can be replicated in development efforts elsewhere. Mrs W.W.R.U.M Amarasekara, Additional District Secretary, Nuwara Eliya and Mr. Vadivel Puththirasigamoney, Chairman, Plantation Human Development Trust also addressed the gathering. Mr. I. A Hameed, Senior Advisor, Housing and Community Development of UN-Habitat Sri Lanka presented the key elements of the project. The presentations were followed by an interactive discussion, with keen interest and commitment shown by all participants regarding the new project. Senior officials from Regional Plantation Companies, Government agencies, Civil Society Organisations and UN-Habitat also participated in the meeting.
The HDI project will contribute towards human development through capacity building of youth, communities and local authorities; increasing resilience of the communities through settlement planning and community infrastructure; and through awareness creation towards mainstreaming plantation settlements. It is expected to benefit over 10,000 persons directly and 250,000 persons indirectly in Nuwara Eliya district. The project will be implemented from January to December 2017 in the Kothmale and Nuwara Eliya Divisional Secretariat divisions.