6 April 2018, Nuwara Eliya. The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr. Lee Heon declared open a number of community infrastructure interventions in Nuwara Eliya District today. Funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), these interventions were implemented by UN-Habitat through the project “Human Development Initiative through Empowerment and Settlement Improvement in the Plantation Settlements in Sri Lanka”.
H.E. Mr. Lee Heon visited two estates supported by the project – Dunsinane and Liddesdale estates in Nuwara Eliya District, where he ceremonially opened a number of infrastructure outputs. These included a Multi-Purpose Community Centre, an open air theatre and playground at Liddesdale estate as well and a Child Development Centre, leisure park and retaining wall at Dunsinane estate. Mr. Lee Dong-ku, the Resident Representative of KOICA and Ms. Jie Soo Lee, Deputy Country Representative of KOICA also participated in the opening ceremonies. Also present at the events were senior Government officials including the District Secretary of Nuwara Eliya, Mr. M.B.R Pushpakumara, the Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Cooperative Development, Mrs. O. S. Perera and Mr. A.A.V. Sampath, Assistant Commissioner of Local Government, Nuwara Eliya. The Country Programme Manager of UN-Habitat Sri Lanka, Mr.Chanaka Talpahewa, senior managers of the Regional Plantation companies, senior officers of the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), residents of the estates and UN-Habitat staff also participated in the ceremonial openings.
At Liddesdale estate, H.E. the Ambassador distributed sports equipment to the youth club and participated in a game of cricket to officially open the playground. The vibrant opening ceremony with dance recitals, music and sports tournaments organized by the Liddesdale estate youth resulted in enthusiastic participation from school children and estate sports club members.
Following the official openings, H.E the Ambassador addressed the gathering at both locations and expressed his satisfaction with the successful completion of the HDI project. He particularly commended the participatory community based approach utilized by UN-Habitat that has been a key success factor of the project. The Nuwara Eliya District Secretary extended his appreciation to KOICA and the Government of South Korea for their funding support towards development initiatives in the District.
The HDI project is contributing 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 implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development. It is expected to benefit over 10,000 persons directly and 250,000 persons indirectly in Nuwara Eliya district. The project was implemented from January 2017 to March 2018 in the Kothmale, Nuwara Eliya and Walapane Divisional Secretariat divisions.