Shelter & Accommodation under Resettlement.
Safe accommodation is a pre-requisite of the families to be resettled. In line with the situation prevailed in 2014 planning of resettlement in the Northern districts initiated by SL Government. Since the demand for housing was high the Indian Government came forward to assist SL. Yet the number of families to be support was limited for 50,000, but the requirement was for 339,000 families. In this context, several leading agencies took part with Government to put up temporary as well as permanent shelters. RAHAMA being one of the supporting agencies got efficacious response from the donors and started construction of shelters in the locations assigned by the district authorities.[read more=” Read More” less=”Read Less”] The mobilization and organizing of the resettled families, especially women headed households in the project areas, considered to be an issue related to the land rights. In addition shelter and accommodation considered to be a primary need to build the assets of the resettlers who are mostly land less.
The programme was implemented in close collaboration with government departments and relevant technical partners such as the National Housing Development Authority, Government Agents, Divisional Secretaries and Community groups. The sites for resettlement schemes are selected based on a selection criteria adopted jointly by RAHAMA and the authorities since cleared land without mines is an extra-ordinary requirement. To manage construction with limited resources RAHAMA entered into a joint action with National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) too. Manager, NHDA articulated that “ Needless to say that demands for housing / shelter was very high among the returnee population. We had resources to construct number of houses but one practical difficulty was that we cannot release installments for construction, unless the house holder commences the work. Nevertheless, House holder being a returnee family cannot commence the construction. To overcome this problem we, together with Government Agent and RAHAMA agreed to perform construction as a joint action. Also, we are used to build houses, but we do not have skilled manpower for community mobilization, enriched group work and team building etc. and we are happy that RAHAMA could act on those aspects as well.”
While collaborative action was one of the strategies RAHAMA has to implement on house construction, few more other mechanisms too, were to be ushered ; such as to construct semi-permanent houses using limited resources and also to work in partnership with other donor agencies such as Halo Trust ; Sandifjord Viderregaende Skole (VGS), Norway.
Our experience in a new settlement located in Thelikarai, in Poonakary Division of the Kilinochchi District is exclusive. After the in-depth assessment of the area and population by Government authorities and RAHAMA, it was found that the people selected were living in temporary shelters under very poor conditions. Accordingly, RAHAMA implemented 17 semi-permanent houses with shared contribution from the house recipients as well. [/read]
Export Trade Programmer
Turmeric is one of the multi-use products which has many valuable possessions and uses such as in food, textile, medicine and cosmetic industries. The positive Chemical composition of Turmeric cultivated in Sri Lanka is assessed to be in higher quality due to the contextual attributes of the soil in particular in the Northern districts. RAHAMA in collaboration with the Dpt. of Agriculture designed a pilot project to assist few farmers to cultivate Turmeric in Jaffna District also having negotiated with a company in South India to export the processed stocks of Turmeric.[read more=” Read More” less=”Read Less”] The project aimed at to raise incomes of micro-level householders in Northern districts of Sri Lanka by providing essentially needed assistance to carry out Turmeric cultivation. Though, overall plan was to cultivate 50 Acres of Turmeric in order to assist 150 farmers, the pilot project was designed to cover an extent of 5 Acres. It is also expected to create value addition to the raw product to suit the export market. Raising awareness of targeted farmers was given higher priority partly to meet the quality requirement on export market needs and also to see how weather could affect a large scale of cultivation while also stressing on good practices to control product costs in comparison to farm-gate prices.
RAHAMA proceeded with the cultivation with the support of AVT Co. Ltd., India and also in collaboration with officials of the Dept. of Agriculture, DSs and Heads of Farmer Organizations. Since this was a joint project the import company met the cost of operation while RAHAMA managed the operational costs including the implementation of the pilot project. At the end of 2017 the harvest was exported to India after drying, cleaning and packaging. When the overall outcomes are concerned, the farmers did their part in a good manner, yet, unexpected drought affected the expected quantity of harvest. The final assessment revealed that the product quality was 90 % mainly due to the first-hand experience of farmers on Turmeric cultivation and predominantly owing to the unfavorable weather conditions. Fresh plan of action on new Turmeric project is under preparation.[/read]
The union is slowly limping back to normalcy , but without this stores we wouldn’t have restored the market because without the stores facility we cannot procure the seasonal supply , which means the production will end up in the hands of the middlemen who will pay less price to the farmers for the paddy.
Rebuilding the Rural farm Economy: Storage and Marketing
Currently the stores were built with the assistance of RAHAMA and the farmers union. It can accommodate some 450,000 kilos of paddy which the farmers can have at 4/00 Rs per kilo more than the prevailing price in the local market. He further claims that the union which has now started a mill has produced more 1,600,000 kilos of rice so far to the national market. The project is a joint venture initiated by the Government Agent, RAHAMA with FORUT funds, and cooperation of the farmers union. The challenges for the union are to reduce the loans of its members who have obtained various kinds of loans for the production of paddy due to resource constrains. The union feels if the micro finance scheme is developed the business could be further enhanced and production demand could be high. Moreover it is also an important issue to develop the irrigation facilities to ensure the supply of water for better production.[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]Have you achieved your objectives? The General Manger says most of it. We have started the purchase of paddy by giving the farmer a better price, we have employed women for this project, and we are supplying inputs though our loan programs and we sell quality rice at a reasonable price. What are other issues pending? Well we need more stores to expand our services. Due to the capacity problem we have rented out another store to help the farmers to sell the produce to us. We are planning more facilities such as organic farming methods, organic fertilizer production etc. to reduce the use of chemicals among the farmer.[/read]