'Lack of transparency in NGO activities'
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 June 2002, 02:14 GMT]
There was a lack of transparency in the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the north and east, with some aid workers putting their personal betterment ahead of the interests of the people they ought to be assisting, speakers told a two-day workshop on the Poverty Alleviation Programme organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry assisting Vanni Rehabilitation and sponsored by the Northeast Provincial Planning Secretariat in Trincomalee Sunday. The workshop concluded with a play enacted by a group of artistes who specially came to Trincomalee from the Vanni region.
The assistant resident representative of the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Dr.Nandana Gunawardene, UNDP expatriate representative in Trincomalee, Mr.G.Krisuhnamoorthy, Chief Secretary of the North East Provincial Council, Mullaitivu Government Agent Mr.V.Suntharam and several representatives of local and foreign non-governmental organizations witnessed the play.
Mr.S.Rangarajah, the Secretary to the North East Governor conducted the second day workshop as Moderator.
Mr.S.Suntharalingam, head of the Anpu Illam orphanage in Trincomalee speaking on 'The orphaned children and poverty' criticised the activities of the local and foreign NGOs in the country.
"The foreign NGOs think in terms of their countries when planning out relief programme in Sri Lanka for affected people. The local NGOs do not take into consideration the suffering of the war-affected people in remote areas. Retired government officials join local NGOs to spend the twilight of life with comfort and good salary. Some retired officials use the NGOs as a stepping stone for greener pastures abroad," said Mr. Suntharalingam.
Mr.S.Jeyamurugan of Trincomalee Gandhi Seva Sangam said that people in Eachilampathu village in Mutur east are unable to sell their produce at a good price. The middlemen buy the produce from these villagers at a very low price. The poverty alleviation programme of the NGOs does not work in Eachilampathu as no marketing facilities have been provided to farmers to sell their produce.
The moderator of the workshop, Mr.Rangarajah, said there was less transparency in the NGO activities in the northeast province
Mr.V.Suntharam, Government Agent Mullaitivu district said "only A9 main road has been developed. But other roads in the Vanni region are in a state of repair causing immense hardship to the people in the sphere of transport".
The group of artistes whose performance concluded the event comprised an administrative officer and a female typist of Mullaitivu district secretariat, teachers, displaced public servants and unemployed graduates.
The play focused the suffering of the people of Vanni region underwent during the military operations by the State armed forces before the ceasefire agreement came into force.