Foreign NGOs’ projects in NE do not benefit people – Thooyavan
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 May 2004, 03:48 GMT]
“Many foreign NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] are claiming in international forums that they are engaged in development work in the North-East, but the reality on the ground is that no development of benefit to the people has been completed,” said Mr. S. K. Thooyavan, the director of the Liberation Tigers’ development secretariat, speaking at a conference at the Jaffna district secretariat Tuesday, according to Uthayan, the Jaffna-based Tamil daily.
Mr. Thooyavan said that many NGOs are shortening their projects without benefiting the people, and by informing the donor nations that they have completed their projects, the NGOs are profiting financially. The senior LTTE official cited the lack of research studies on the economic resources of the region as a major reason for the NGOs’ failure to complete projects that truly benefit the people.
The conference was called to discuss a research study on the reconstruction of the sluice gate in Thondamannar.
Following are excerpts from Mr. Thooyavan’s speech:
“Several international funding agencies are coming forward to reconstruct the Jaffna district, but the lack of research studies on the needs of the district has forced them to delay implementation of serious reconstruction work.
“It is regrettable that many people who have no knowledge of the Jaffna district are trying to do such research studies based in Colombo, resulting in many flaws in their reports.
“Even in the recent NEIAP [the North East Irrigated Agricultural Project, funded by the World Bank] meeting in Colombo, some key decisions were made based on such flawed studies. We have clearly expressed the glaring shortcomings of such studies to the World Bank.
“Despite many NGOs coming forward to fund reconstruction, most of the projects done here have not been of any benefit to the people. They are trying to profit by informing the donor nations that they have completed projects here, without actually completing the planned scope of the projects. The main reason for this is that there is no proper research literature and documentation on the needs and resources of the district.
“As a result of the war in the past two decades, no such research studies were conducted. But currently there is relative peace, and the University community and all intellectuals should come forward to do such research on our nation’s resources.
“Even beyond the war, every ruling government in Colombo has attempted to destroy the resources of our nation. Today, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a partner in government in Colombo, is developing plans to block any development of our nation.
“Many local NGOs are coming forward to assist in our development. We welcome all assistance. However, regardless of who the funding agency is, if the agency has to leave projects half-way without any benefit to the people, it is better not to start at all.”