The Australian High Commission in Colombo recently handed over 44 newly built toilets to beneficiaries in resettled villages in Manthai West, Mannar. The High Commission has to-date built 160 toilets in Manthai West for resettled villages in both Tamil and Muslim areas at a total value of Rs 10 million.
The project was part of the Direct Aid Program, the Australian Government's small grants scheme, which provides fast, high-impact development needs to grass roots communities.
Speaking at the handover, Second Secretary Chloe Ashbolt said, "We are pleased to fund the construction of such critical infrastructure for the resettled families of Mannar. Australia takes pride in the Direct Aid Program as it allows us to provide practical, tangible benefits directly to disadvantaged communities that urgently need assistance".
The project was implemented through three Mannar based community organizations: Rural Development Foundation; Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar and Mannar Association for Relief and Rehabilitation. The Direct Aid Program is available on a not-for-profit basis to community groups and encourages community participation in identification, design and implementation of projects. DAP provides support in the areas of health and sanitation, education and vocational training, income generation, small scale infrastructure for rural communities, women's empowerment and post war recovery. In the 2013-2014 financial year, Australia granted Rs 27 million in grants under the Direct Aid Program.