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DateLine Thursday, 10 July 2008

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Socia Dialouge

- by Nadira Gunatileke


Making proper use of NGO funds

In Sinhala language there is a saying ‘Deyak we nam yam, Sudussatama ayithi viya yuthu’ (`If there is something, it should belong to the eligible person’). We have to talk about this today because when things get into wrong hands it has something to do with anti Sri Lankan elements, our identity and sovereignty.

According to Social Services and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri, we should make use of the funds flowing into INGOs and NGOs while not letting them to execute any offenses.

During an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Deputy Minister Premasiri said that a significant amount of foreign funds flow into Sri Lanka through INGOs and NGOs and we need to make maximum use of those funds while not letting them to involve in any anti Sri Lankan activities. He also suggested some systems to do so.

Sri Lanka is still a developing country and as ordinary Sri Lankans we cannot afford to study abroad or undergo training abroad spending our personal funds.

Therefore the majority of Sri Lankans look for scholarships and similar opportunities all the time to gain knowledge and training. A lot of state and private sector institutions receive such opportunities and they distribute them among local institutions, individuals and groups. There is an accepted well established procedure and criteria for the State sector to do the selection but in the private sector it is not so.

‘Sri Lankans going abroad on private sector scholarships pretending to be professionals’ is one of the main problems at the moment. There is an important reason for me to recall one such incident. It is because this is happening all the time here in Sri Lanka without anyone noticing it. According to my knowledge, in 2003 a group of journalists were sent on a scholarship to a Nordic country.

There have been allegations that some of them were not journalists. So how they were selected to that scholarship? The scholarship came through an NGO. Some of the journalists who went on that scholarship revealed their real faces after they returned to Sri Lanka.

They were working for NGOs. They did not have any connection whatsoever to journalism, mass communication or mass media. They did not have even basic qualifications. They did not have the accreditation issued by the Government Information Department.

The system of allocating percentages for each ethnicity is also very funny and strange. After learning the truth, the other rejected applicants raised their voices against the injustice done to them. There was no response at all from the NGO.

There were several other similar incidents in the past. Some of the persons who went abroad on scholarships could not understand, speak or write English. The other participants acted as their `interpreters’ all the time because of typical Sri Lankan caring nature.

What happens here is NGOs select some eligible persons (just to be on the safe side) and put their favourites to fill rest of the places.

When this happens unsuitable persons go abroad pretending that they are journalists, communicators, information officers and producers. No wonder they vanish into thin air just after landing on those cold rich countries.

Not having any English knowledge may be an advantage for them.

It is interesting to see what happens after these `journalists’ go to those foreign countries. The countries which offer us scholarships have a very clear agenda. Their main objectives are completely destroying the identity, sovereignty, and history of the country. They have a very cunning way of doing it. They have included their strategy in their `modules’. The longest and most `important’ `module’ is `Peace Journalism’.

During this module, the students who speak about victims of bomb blasts, massacres carried out by the terrorists, social services and social welfare services carried out by Sri Lankan armed forces, how arms reach the terrorists (not rebels) from foreign countries become the least talented students who get minimum marks.

The students who talk about `the rights of the terrorists become most talented students who get the highest number of marks. Conflicts in the third world countries are being interpreted in a very strange manner during this module whitewashing terrorists and offending the democratically elected Governments.

Any person who has an iota of brain and passed the eighth grade can understand that we have to stick to academic facts which is balanced when it comes to teaching any subject. There is a huge difference between teaching and brainwashing. We have to make use of all resources coming through private channels while not letting them brainwash selected groups.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

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