Sep 11, 2018

Japan supports demining in North USD 1.25 m

The Government of Japan has decided to provide a total sum of US$ 1,249,997 (approx. Rs. 194 million) to SKAVITA Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka.

The Grant Contract were signed between His Excellency Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Lt Col (Retd) V.S.M. Sarath Jayawardhene, Programme Manager of SHARP and Mr. Rownan Fernandes, Technical Operations Manager of MAG, respectively, today (11) at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo.

SHARP will receive US$625,000 from this grant agreement, while MAG will receive US$624,997. It is expected that the two projects would contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in making mine-contaminated areas safe, enabling the resettlement of the displaced people and enhancing their livelihoods in the Northern region.

Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2003, with more than US$ 33 million in total through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP). This contribution has helped to accelerate and facilitate the resettlement and recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs), in view of the 2020 target of the government of Sri Lanka to be mine impact free.

Commenting on the provision of this grant, Lt Col (Retd) V.S.M. Sarath Jayawardhene said “SHARP was formed in 2014, and became the second local NGO currently to carry out de-mining activities in Sri Lanka. Today marks the granting of GGP funds to SHARP by Japan for the 3rd consecutive year, for which we are indeed very appreciative and grateful to Japan for assisting and encouraging SHARP to keep working on our demining operations. I wish to assure our sponsors that SHARP will continue to carry out our operations to the best of our ability diligently, efficiently and effectively to fulfil the desires of our sponsors.”

Mr. Rownan Fernandes stated “MAG is honored to accept this grant from the Government of Japan, an esteemed donor for Humanitarian Mine Action projects both within Sri Lanka and around the world. In the last four years alone, the partnership between MAG Sri Lanka and the Government of Japan has enabled the removal and destruction of over 11,000 landmines. It has helped tens of thousands of people to resettle and rebuild their lives and livelihoods in Mannar and Mullaithivu districts. While continuing the clearance operations in Mannar district, MAG is also looking forward to commence clearance activities in Vavuniya District under this new project. The funding from the People of Japan will not only contribute to saving lives but also building futures for the most mine-affected and poorest communities in the country. With this continued Japanese support, MAG is looking forward to continuing clearance activities in support of the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment to being mine impact free by 2020.”

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