The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, although having been a long process, nonetheless provided relief to Nonviolent Peaceforce Sri Lanka. The endorsement and acceptance from government agencies working in the promotion, protection and well-being of children gave greater confidence to the organization in pursuing its mission and mandate in the country.
A series of dialogues and consultations with various government bodies and partner organizations on how to implement projects in collaboration with them are on-going. As part of the organization’s exit strategy, Nonviolent Peaceforce (NPSL) is identifying key local organizations that can continue its works after the organization has departed.
Upon signing the MoU NPSL immediately focused on obtaining the Presidential Task Force approval needed to enter areas/ in the Northern Province of Vavuniya. This is the region where NPSL wishes to focus in its last phase or presence here.
Although there are no formal activities launched for those defending people’s rights NPSL provides assistance where it can on a low-profile basis. Direct intervention is minimal, however the established rapport NPSL has with a range of concerned organizations, particularly on human rights concerns, enables us to respond where we can. NPSL maintains cordial working relationships with organizations such as the Law and Society Trust, The Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust (NTT) and Centre for Human Rights & Development (CHRD).
Basic Negotiation Skills and Threat Mitigation Training
Our Introduction on Basic Negotiation Skills and Threat Mitigation training is being rolled out and we conducted a workshop on this theme at Kathankudy Nassar Vidiyalayam (high School). The training was requested by the school principal who is also Chair of the local Mediation Board. The training was attended by 24 Sixth Form Muslim students.
The importance and relevance of this project is becoming more visible in all the districts we work in, although currently full implementation is only in the eastern province (Batticaloa). The many requests coming from different sectors are studied based our 2011 plan of activities and what we have a budget for.
In the Northern district (Vavuniya), our trainings on Basic Negotiation Skills and Threat Mitigation is a training component of the Child Protection Programme. The training was provided to volunteers formed by NPSL in earlier trainings held jointly with the National Child Protection Authority. These are the young volunteers who’ll be eventually become our Child Rights Defenders.
At the district level, particularly in Vavuniya, activities under the project were focused on giving accompaniment to Government staff. This was done through the provision of transportation to NCPA officers enabling them to visit and monitor communities and villages. This maintains NPSL’s presence and visibility in the district. NPSL was able to provide two accompaniments and conducted two field visits for the month of April 2011.
Our present structure of staffing, especially in the field sites, presents some limitations for the Child Protection Programme. However the addition to our team of the new Child Protection Programme Coordinator has boosted staff capacity and morale.
For the month of April 2011, staff in two districts focused their activities on gathering stories for a study on impact using the Most Significant Change methodology. This has involved various stakeholders, partners, and beneficiaries. The MSC is aimed at improving our understanding of the impacts of NPSL’s presence and activities in the country. We hope to look at impacts in personal, community, relationship and government changes.
The culmination of the activity will be on the 5th of May 2011 and be held in the Batticaloa.