Sinhala  Tamil    Seperate    
Governtment of Sri Lanka


( Created date: 16-Dec-2003 )

Today U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey J. Lunstead unveiled U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) support for six fishing societies in Ampara and Batticaloa Districts.

The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) is assisting fishing societies along the Eastern coast from Pottuvil to Batticaloa. Fishing people along this coastal strip have been seriously affected by twenty years of conflict and security restrictions on coastal waters. As a result of the ceasefire, fishing communities in this area are returning to the sea. Unfortunately, much of the basic equipment needed to sustain their livelihoods was destroyed or cannot be replaced.

USAID/OTI, through its small grants program, is supporting six fishing societies with basic "start-up" equipment that will be used by the society membership on a rotating basis. Development assistance for each society is tailored specifically to its fishing needs, and may include boats, engines, nets and other fishing gear. USAID/OTI's assistance to the six fishing societies is valued at over $160,000 and will benefit approximately 5,200 fishermen and family members. Unveiling fishing society assistance in Kalmunai, Ambassador Lunstead said, "The fishing communities in this area have borne a great burden during the conflict years and we are helping them to rebuild their livelihoods in a more peaceful environment. It is my hope that they continue to prosper in a peaceful Sri Lanka."

While in the area, Ambassador Lunstead also opened the Ampara USAID/OTI field office. The new Ampara office allows USAID/OTI to expand its grant-making activities in an ethnically diverse community where there are great opportunities for conflict mitigation and management. By being in closer contact with local communities, the staff of USAID/OTI can better understand local issues and form strong partnerships with community based organizations.

The USAID/OTI Ampara field office has already made 23 grants with a value of $377,000. Since March 2003, USAID/OTI's flexible and fast small-grants program in Sri Lanka has made 88 grants totaling US $2.2 million.

USAID/OTI's Sri Lanka program assists in generating greater support for a negotiated peace settlement that will end the long-standing conflict in Sri Lanka. To accomplish this goal, OTI aims to demonstrate tangible benefits of peace, increase the exchange of information and diverse points of view on peace issues among various levels of society and communities, and reduce or prevent incidents of violence in conflict-prone communities.




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