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Gemidiriya - Ray of hope for village entrepreneurs


Pottery industry: A helping hand from Gemidiriya to promote the industry

“Gemidiriya” is a project implemented under the Mahinda Chinthana by Nation building and Estate Infrastructure Development Ministry aiming at the spiritual and physical development of the rural community on par with other developed regions is progressing successfully with the active involvement of the beneficiary families and the dedicated participation of officials.

The Gemidiriya project was implemented in 2004 in certain selected districts with the financial assistance of the World Bank. The pilot project was inaugurated in the Polonnaruwa district. On the conclusion of pilot project it was expanded to Uva, Southern provinces and Ratnapura district in Sabaragamuwa province.

Gemidiriya is a 12 year project implemented to ensure livelihood improvement and saving activities of the rural community. The Vision of the Project is to lead the rural community towards development through organised rural community activities. The mission is to form an institutional mechanism to produce a community which can contribute to the national economy and prosperity of the country.

The World bank which observed the progress of the project agreed to allocate US$ 181 million to expand the project to other districts.

Jathika Saviya, Gama Neguma and Maga Neguma - the national development drives come under the Mahinda Chinthana national development concept.

The prime cause for the victory of the project was the active involvement of the rural community and the dedication of the Officials deployed for the project.

Unity, self-esteem, accountability, trust, realism, thrift, transparency, equity, consensus and sincerity were also the fundamental reasons for the victory of the project.

Main partners of the project are women of the respective areas. They are contributing 50 per cent while the youth of each area contribute 30 per cent.

Gemidiriya is a 12 year project implemented to ensure livelihood improvement and saving activities of the rural community.

The Vision of the Project is to lead the rural community towards development through organised rural community activities.

The mission is to form an institutional mechanism to produce a community which can contribute to the national economy and prosperity of the country.


Road development project


Water supply project

It is also intended to emerge as a self decision making society which can draw development plans and handle resource mobilization for the development of the community.

The Gemidiriya Community Development Fund

Capacity Building Fund, livelihood improvement Support Fund, funds for skills development to the youth, Special programme for the poorest of the poor.

Principles of Gemidiriya

Opportunity to all; Priority to poor, women and youth ; Transparency ; Accountability ; Cost sharing

The Gemidiriya project was implemented in seven districts consisting of 47 Divisional Secretariat Divisions covering 703 Grama Niladari Divisions in 2007. The Project was implemented in 54 Divisional Secretariat Divisions Comprising 842 Grama Niladari Divisions covering 1036 villages in 2008.

Monaragala, Badulla, Ratnapura, Hambantota, Matara, Galle and Polonnaruwa are the districts selected for the development project.

The Beliatta Divisional Secretariat Division is also one of the Divisional Secretariat Divisions out of 100 DS Divisions which is achieving the peak of development under the Gemidiriya rural Development project according to Beliatta Divisional Secretary Dileka W Sahabandu. This DS Division was in the 75th place coming out of its previous state owing to Gemidiriya rural development drive.

The Beliatta Divisional Secretariat Division is located among beautiful mountains and eye catching natural scenery close to Tangalle Town with 16539 families in 178 Grama Niladari Divisions.

The Government has allocated funds to develop the Beliatta Divisional Secretariat Division on par with other Divisional Secretariat divisions.

Village Savings Credit Organization

According to the statistics there are 11645 permanent housing units, 1811 semi permanent housing units and 773 temporary housing units in the Beliatta Divisional Secretariat division and 2173 housing units are yet to be electrified.

The VSCO is the loan Centre functioning under the Gemidiriya development drive established and run by the village women for the livelihood improvement of rural community as a self motivation project. The loans for the self employment attempts are sanctioned by VSCO on a credibility/viability basis. At the very outset the VSCO will allocate Rs. 15,000 and on the settlement of this amount the beneficiaries will be entitled for a loan of Rs. 50,000 and thereafter Rs. 100, 000.

A special feature of VSCO is that internally collected funds are used for rural development projects. They charge only a nominal interest for the loans. The external fund flow is completely controlled by the VSCO.

The Village women are playing a significant role in the VSCO maintenance and fund establishing procedures.

A rural Water Supply project is also progressing in Nugawela area. The project is expected to be handed over to the beneficiary families within two or three months.

Under the Village Development Project, 45 per cent for infrastructure Development, 45 per cent for livelihood development and 10 per cent for capacity building will be reserved.

In addition to this sum another 5 per cent for poverty alleviation and 10 per cent for skills development will be allocated.

Projects islandwide

Sumanadasa Widanapathi Arachchi a community activist of the area says that two roads Kongaha Asala Godameda road and Ratnapala road in Nugawela Grama Niladari Division were concreted under the Jathika Saviya project.

The Kongaha Asala Godameda road is the access road to Palletenna, Aluthwewa, Godamee-Ella and Modarawewa.

Sumanadasa said that it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who tarred roads in the area for the first time as an MP in 1970. He is now extending such projects islandwide as the President.

According to the Samurdhi Development Officer of Nugawela the Samurdhi Beneficiaries have joined hands for the success of ongoing development projects.

She said that a weekly fair is held at Beliatta on Monday and Thursday where the products of the Samurdhi beneficiaries are displayed.


A coir mill


A mini garment factory

A rural water supply scheme being constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.1 million to facilitate drinking water to nearly 269 families is progressing. A maintenance fund too has been established. The authorities said that they hope to open the scheme in one or two months.

Farming activities

Under the “Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu” concept assistance is given to the farmers to improve their farming activities.

A long felt need for the Beliatta area was a multi purpose complex which is now being constructed under the Gemidiriya rural development project.

A computer centre, Grama Niladari Office, VSCO Office, Community Welfare Centre and a VSCO Bank will function at each complex.

Under the Maga Neguma Project a 2,200 metre road has been concreted in Beliatta area.

Rural industries in Beliatta have gained a new life under the Gemidiriya development project. The pottery industry, brass works, home gardening are the income earning sources of this area. Sunflower cultivation is also becoming popular in this area.

NMK Agro has come forward to distribute seeds and to purchase the harvest for reasonable price. A pilot sunflower cultivation is successfully progressing in Kahawatta area.

Angulmadu is famous for iron, gold and brass works. These are the traditional industries of Angulmadu. The Angulmadu Brass industry distributes artistic goods to the market.

The Gemidiriya gave a helping hand to promote their industries. The Mihindupura pottery industry also gained a helping hand under the samurdhi project. Samurdhi granted Rs. 50,000 worth machinery to each pottery industry to expand their business.

According to the beneficiaries due to the assistance of Samurdhi they could overcome depending on the business people who bought their products for a song.

Cultivation

Due to the assistance of Gemidiriya the Angulmadu brass workers receive a net income of Rs. 40,000 per month excluding all other expenses. Sunflower cultivation is also one of the lucrative home gardening avenues in the area.

Kusumawathi a poor resident of Nihiluwa west living with her 11 year old son could construct a house at a cost of Rs. 200,000 with Rs. 50,000 financial assistance of Samurdhi and the assistance of villagers.

A coir mill and a mini garment factory are functioning at Karambaketiya with the financial assistance of Gemidiriya.

The owner of the coir mills Priyantha said that they produce nearly 70 kg rope per day.

He said that the financial difficulty is the only barrier to expand the business and looked forward to additional help from Gemidiriya.

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