Foreign assistance has been a hot topic in Sri Lanka lately. Earlier Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe talked of loans taken by the previous regime to the tune of US$ 4 billion the other day and said this too had contributed to the country’s present economic crisis. However foreign assistance varies and is unique some times. Assistance given by Japan to Sri Lanka especially through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is such a scheme of assistance. These do not involve commercial loans but only does Sri Lanka’s economy good.
- Warakapola Hospital was granted a loan worth 3,935 million Yen to develop the new ultra modern building
- JICA provided 5,151 million Yen for Greater Kandy Water Supply Project
- Japan has also pledged assistance to the new parallel Kelani Bridge which is under construction
According to officials of the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka it is multifaceted. Therefore assistance comes through Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATYREPS), private public partnerships and volunteer programmes which are examples of assistance offered by Japan.
SATYREPS is designed to promote joint research in which both Japanese research institutions and those of developing countries work together in such countries under the JICA framework technical cooperation projects based on social needs. It aims to acquire new knowledge and utilize research outcomes to the benefit of the society with a view to resolving global issues such as environment, energy conservation and disaster prevention.
Assistance comes through Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATYREPS), private public partnerships and volunteer programmes which are examples of assistance offered by Japan
Volunteer programs support activities by citizens who wish to cooperate in the economic and social development as well as reconstruction of developing countries. The first volunteer was dispatched to Sri Lanka from Japan in 1981 and there are 70 volunteers in the country currently.
When it comes to private public partnerships it involves collaboration with the private sector.
The assistance programs include the Warakapola hospital project where JICA developed medical facilities at Warakapola Hospital where a loan worth Yen 3,935 million is given to develop a new ultra modern building. This new building which was opened in February this year comprises modern equipment to deal with non communicable diseases such as cardio-vascular disease. As one of the fastest growing countries in the world, non communicable diseases has overtaken communicable diseases in terms of mortality and had become a major health concern in the country. Therefore the medical facilities in the new building cater to this need. District Health Director Kegalle Dr. Vijith Gunasekera said the number of beds in the hospital has been increased to 500 from 150 with the Japanese assistance. “ We now have several new facilities in the hospital including a paediatric unit, radiology unit and consultancy services” Dr. Gunasekera said.
One of the two key initiatives implemented under the Japanese Volunteer programme is the training of baseball player undertaken by Kazuya Yagi who had developed a baseball team in S. W. R. D Bandaranaike MV in Kundasale. Yagi’s efforts have yielded results as one child from the school had been chosen for Sri Lanka’s junior team. Mr. Yagi said he hopes to create a women’s baseball team as well. Mr. Yagi speaks fluent Sinhalese. Satomi Wada who is conversant in Tamil provides training on environment protection in Vincent Girl’s High School Batticola. She demonstrated how to make compost to the children speaking in fluent Tamil.
One of the two key initiatives implemented under the Japanese Volunteer programme is the training of baseball player undertaken by Kazuya Yagi who had developed a baseball team in S. W. R. D Bandaranaike MV in Kundasale
Greater Kandy Water Supply Project is a Japanese funded symbolic project including construction of Katugastota Water Treatment Plant. The project has completely changed the landscape of waterw supply situation in the big urban city of Kandy. JICA supported the realization of the Project through its concessionary loan scheme up to Yen 5,151 million. The Project provides safe pipe born water supply to the population of around 400,000 in Kandy City and Suburb areas covering Gagavata Korale PS Division, Harispattuwa DS Division, Akurana DS Division, Part of Pathadumbhra DS Division, and Part of Poojapitiya DS Division.
The Project constructed fully-fledged water supply scheme facilities including water intake structure, water treatment plant, and water pumping stations with storage reservoirs, water towers, water transmission, water pipe mains and water distribution pipe lines for taking water to peoples door step. According to chief engineer of the project Sarath Gamini the water services of the pumping station in Kundasale is not confined to water supply alone but is also involved in testing quality of water meters as well. He said the supply of water is increased though the project. Japan which had provided funds to the tune of Yen 5,151 million for this project.
Another significant project funded by Japan is the Kundasale compost plant. This is a unique project according to environment officer Pradeshiya Sabha Kundalse Lalith K. Ratnayake as it is a joint effort of two local bodies namely Kundasale Pradeshiya Sabha and Pahatha Dumbara Pradeshiya Sabha. “Compost is made out of biodegradable garbage collected by both local bodies,” Mr. Ratnayake said. This project had proven to be a profitable one as the average monthly profit is said to be 250,000.
Another significant project funded by Japan is the Kundasale compost plant. This is a unique project according to environment officer Pradeshiya Sabha Kundalse Lalith K. Ratnayake as it is a joint effort of two local bodies namely Kundasale Pradeshiya Sabha and Pahatha Dumbara Pradeshiya Sabha
Shotcrete crib work using unit type wire net framework is an example of transfer of Japanese technology with private sector partnership. The framework which protects the Kandy Nursing School is protected from landslides by reticulated concrete. According to head of National Building Research Organization the school was caught in a landslide in 2011. A sum of Rs 8 million has been spent for the project. The project was carried out by KOIWA KANAAMI, Ltd and its partner NITTOKU Construction Ltd under the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA)’s assistance NBRO.
Japan has extended its support to the transport sector as well and a perfect example of this is the funding of Manmunai Bridge for which it had provided Yen 1,206 million. Japan has also pledged assistance to the new parallel Kelani Bridge, which is under construction