Japanese Ambassador Visits UN-Habitat Infrastructure Project in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province

Tuesday, 3 November 2015, Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.  The Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, HisIMG_3137_Resized Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma and his wife Madam Akiko, visited Kilinochchi district today. During the visit, the Ambassador officially opened the Peptees Preschool in Vivekanadanagar East Village constructed through UN-Habitat’s post conflict infrastructure reconstruction project Rehabilitation of Community Infrastructure and Facilities in the Conflict Affected Areas in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka (RCIF).

The Peptees preschool is one of 25 preschools constructed by the RCIF project. Funded by the Government of Japan, this project was implemented from 2013 – 2015 by UN-Habitat in collaboration with local communities and the Government of Sri Lanka.

Mr. Kandasamy Murugaevel, Director of Zonal Education, Kilinochchi, Mr. G. Nageswaran, Divisional Secretary of IMG_3083Karachchi DS Division, preschool children and their parents, community members and UN-Habitat senior officers also participated in the opening ceremony.

The Peptees preschool had been badly damaged during the conflict. Following the end of the conflict, the preschool recommenced operations in 2011, first in the open air and later in a temporary building. For over 4 years, the preschool functioned with little access to facilities. The construction of the new building, managed by the Vivekanandanagar East Rural Development Society, was completed in May 2015. The preschool is currently benefitting 42 children.

Overall, the RCIF project has benefitted 180,000 returnees in over 120 villages in the districts of Mullaitivu and Killinochchi through the reconstruction of vital community infrastructure facilities. The initiatives included construction of 25 preschools, 30 multipurpose community centres, 96 km of internal access roads, 6 km of storm water drainage systems as well as rain water harvesting systems and tree planting initiatives. The Government of Japan provided funding of USD 3.6 Million (345 million Japanese Yen) for the initiative.

The second phase of the Japanese-funded project, “Rehabilitation of Community Infrastructure, Improvement of Livelihoods and Empowerment of Women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces” is now underway in the districts of Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar and Batticaloa. This phase, valued at USD3.6 Million (377 million Japanese Yen)IMG_3169 will construct 44 multipurpose community centres, 28 preschools, 32 km of internal access roads, 14 km of storm water drainage systems, 13 community storages, 12 km of irrigation systems along with rainwater harvesting systems and tree planting initiatives.

The communities have constructed infrastructure facilities through a “people’s participatory process” of reconstruction, placing communities at the centre of the decision-making process. The project has helped to build capacity of community members through extensive training programmes on leadership, management, construction skills and maintenance of infrastructure facilities, with a special focus on women’s participation and empowerment.

During the visit, His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma expressed his appreciation for the commitment and dedication of the community members in rebuilding infrastructure facilities.