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07/31/2014

The importance to give hard look at the past project: investigation by the MoFA after the project

Short time ago, on 23 and 24June, some officials from Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka
visited 2 past projects sites for the investigation after the project, implemented by the
MoFA.

On the first day, they visited the livelihood recovery assistance project for the returnees,
where 40 agro wells were constructed in Batticaloa district of Eastern parts of Sri Lanka
from June 2009 to November 2011.On the second day, they visited the livelihood recovery
assistance project for the returnees, where 29 agro wells and 14 culverts were constructed
in the same district of Eastern parts of Sri Lanka from November 2010 to December 2011.

At that time, Agro Well Maintenance Committees (AWMCs) which consist of 8 households per well were formed. We provided with water pumps (for pumping out the well water, and spraying their farming lands), barbed wires (for the wild animals to be fallen down into the wells), vegetable seeds and perennial plants with the said AWMCs. Also, we implemented some workshops of organic farming and methods to share the common wells and water pumps.   By cooperating each other through the workshops, we targeted at promoting their bonding within the community.  After 3 years and half months passed, I also tried to give hard look at the past projects, when I visited houses of some past beneficiaries.

(photo: stone plate, filled in each well)
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(photo: officials from the Embassy of Japan, Sri Lanka, while investigating the situation of the well(2 persons in front))
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(Photo: JEN staff, explaining about the well)
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The bottom line is that we all found out that the effectiveness of livelihood recovery, which we targeted at, was still lasting.  By hearing investigation and dialogue we conducted research towards 16 households selected at random out of the past beneficiaries.  The result showed that the income of all of the said households has been increased from 3 to 6 times(LKR 3,000-6000,JPY about 2,340-4680).  By using the income, obtaining from agriculture, there are some households who extend their faming lands, who purchased domestic animals, or who increased kinds of vegetables to plant. Also, there are other households who started a variety store, or who increased their income more than 10 times. Furthermore, there are some households who shared their income (obtained from agriculture) fairly towards neighbors, whom they cooperated newly with by starting agriculture collectively.

(photo: dialogue with past beneficiaries)
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(photo: beneficiary, who started new variety shop, by using the money from agriculture input)
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  We have been taught from a beneficiary with disabilities that how he had faced with the
difficulties in his life without proper job before receiving the assistance from JEN and how
his living is stable now.  In the premises, we could see well-grown perennial plants like
papaya, mango and Jackfruit, provided in those day.

(photo: Officials from the Embassy of Japan, Sri Lanka and JEN staffs, hearing from
the disabled beneficiary)
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(Photo: well-grown perennial tree)
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Furthermore, there’s many households who have kept using some organic farming methods such as organic fertilizers and organic insect killers, learned at the workshop at that time.  I’m grad to say that as secondary effect each well have been used not only by the past beneficiaries, but also 20-30 neighboring villagers per well. I was relieved that there’s “Positive Impact” clearly we could see.  Similarly, it shows that we can expect it became positive investigation, where beneficiaries’ living will be going up increasingly in the future.

(photo: beneficiary, using the organic insect killer, learned at the workshop of organic farming)
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(Photo: other than Jack fruit, we had papaya, cassava and mango from each beneficiaries they harvested, during our visit)
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However, we need to admit that there are the cases that the effective will be changed easily by the external factors, all assistance agencies cannot control.

As was referred to earlier, I placed major emphasis on “giving hard look at” the past projects this time.  As the result, it reveals that some “unexpected negative circumstances”.  As one of external factors, there is “climate change”.  This year, it was unusually hot summer during this dry season and it looks like near-drought situation in the North and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka.  Because of that effect, there are many wells where the water depth of the well is low and there is a household who is using well water for domestic purpose only.  Because of shortage of water, there’s household who stop doing farming for a while and find other jobs.  Due to this situation, there’re a agro well maintenance committee, where well and water pump are shared by not 8 households, but  2-3 households.  We strongly hope that the said households will start doing farming again after the rain comes during rainy season soon.  Nevertheless, I debate myself how the beneficiaries’ lives will be if their wells water were dried up every year, and whether to think of the assistance project, adaptable to the change of climate in the future.

(photo: the well, where we almost could see the bottom due to water shortage, effected by drought)
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Except for “Climate change”, there might be the exceptional cases like “moving after villager’s death”, “shortages of capacity and budget of the government”, and  “policy change of the government” in the future, caused by many “external factors”, where we cannot control.  In fact, our on-going project is also affected by the drought somehow. There might be some other external factors, which are not comprehended, lied hidden. But, we’ try our best to think of measures against such unexpected external factors.  I thought I need to buckle myself to the work, considering the importance to look for points for improvement always and give it a twist in order for positive effects of the present project for more beneficiaries to go on, after giving hard look at the past projects though this visit
.
Arisa Nishida
in charge of Sri Lanka program

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July 31, 2014 in Sri Lanka |