The national budget of 2018 incorporates several measures that clearly coincide with the village development models that IRDG has developed and canvassed. We are deeply heartened by this and believe large scale accelerated village development is now possible by creating sustainable livelihood for the most vulnerable in the year 2018.
During the year 2017 IRDG developed a few large-scale projects, commenced implementation and has created a wide network of key stakeholders.
Director Operations of IRDG Naga said
"we are in the verge of a massive village level livelihood development endeavour that is supported by the government of Sri Lanka particularly by the office of the national unity and reconciliation (ONUR), I-NGOs and NGOs.
An amount of Rs 12.5 billion has been allocated in the year 2018 national budget for reconciliation related initiatives. Considerable portion of this amount is directly targeted to support development of sustainable livelihood by the private sector including NGOs, for the beneficiaries.
The unemployment situation among youths are at a crisis point, but we are still unable to find personnel who have the required skills to engage in projects. Lack of required skill in the war affected provinces could be the limiting factor for development. We are in discussion with the University of Jaffna and professional project management services organisations in Colombo to set in motion a large scale “project management” capacity development initiative. The training will be result focused and will directly engage the candidates in projects providing hands-on training.
We have earmarked several villages in the Northern Province for development with anchor projects of significant scale and will commence implementation in the new year.
The CEO of IRDG Mr Rangarajah said,
“There is an urgent need to strengthen IRDG. A few volunteers working out of goodwill and great sacrifice will not be sufficient to undertake the enormous challenge that we need to take on. IRDG will rapidly increase its human capacity by recruiting more senior level local professionals and engaging overseas Sri Lankan professional volunteers with specific skill sets.”
IRDG has enlisted the assistance of Mr R Thiyagarajah (Chairman the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Joint Deputy Chairman Cargills Bank), Mr T Someswaran (Executive Committee Member of the International Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Member of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.) and Professor Rajeswaran (Consultant petroleum and engineering, Western Australia) to assist IRDG by connecting the villages with regional, national and international markets for our village produces.
“I think all the hard work required to mobilise villages and develop model projects have been completed, we had a steep learning curve in understanding village level dynamics. We are now well equipped to repeat our approach and model and rapidly create many villages for development.
IRDG has been created as a platform to facilitate regional development and would like to offer our learning and business models to diaspora charities and NGOs so we could have significantly larger impact. We have started discussions with local NGOs as well with the view to providing them some assistance to finetune their business models for a cohesive approach”.