Norwegian ambassador visits Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Batticaloa coming within the Eastern Rehabilitation Organisation (ERO) network, met His Excellency Jan Westbourg, Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Government in Sri Lanka, at the Catholic Club in Batticaloa for a discussion, said sources.

Mr. Westbourg was accompanied by a representative of NORAD, the arm of the embassy dealing with economic development, and R. Sivanandaraja NORAD' s representative in Batticaloa.

During the discussion NGO representatives said that the increasing number of school dropouts was an acute problem in the region.

There was also a problem of families breaking up with women finding jobs in the Middle East and leaving their husbands and children behind. The NGO representatives also told the visiting ambassador of the inadequate water supply to Batticaloa.

Mr. Westbourg said that the Norwegian government was interested in promoting unity, peace and national integration in Sri Lanka. It was willing to fund such projects as well as self employment projects in the region. The Norwegians funded the Batticaloa integrated relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation project (BIRRRP) which ended last year.

Meanwhile, the NGOs present at the Catholic Club were only those within the ERO network, chaired by Bishop Kingsly Swampillai, Bishop of Batticaloa.

Other NGOs had either not been informed or chose to stay away, said sources.


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