|On the 13th and 14th of July 2020, The National Languages Fund (NLF), administered by the National Languages Equality Advancement Project (NLEAP), conducted three ‘Coordination and Networking Sessions’ with the selected fund recipients whose project scope includes activity in the Central Province. The sessions, conducted in compliance with prevalent health and safety regulations, commenced with opening remarks by Mrs. S. Theivendiram, t he Additional Secretary (National Languages) to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government and Mr. Don Brownell, Director of NLEAP. Mr. J.C. Ranepura, Additional Secretary of the Kandy District, was also present at the Kandy Session. The sessions for the Matale and Kandy Districts were conducted in Kandy and the session for the Nuwara Eliya District in Nuwara Eliya.
A presentation about the National Languages Fund by Mr. M. Thirunavukarasu, Deputy Director (NLEAP) outlined the key objectives of the Fund. The presentations by the NLFGrantees, facilitated by Mr. Mohamed Niyas, Language Policy Specialist (NLEAP), then outlined how the proposed project activity in the designated district worked towards achieving those objectives. This was followed by a briefing on aspects key to effective coordination, monitoring and evaluation, conducted by the Ministry Technical Team, Ms. Gnanie Wickramasinghe and Ms. Chathuri Jayathilake. This integral component which highlighted the next steps to be followed by the NLF Grantees, was supported by the National Integration Promotion Assistants(NIPA) of the respective district; Ms. Dishanthi Ekanayake(NIPA-Kandy), Ms. C D de Costa (NIPA-Matale) and Mr. Ananda Dissanayake (NIPA -Nuwara Eliya.
The NLF Grantees appreciated the opportunity to meet and network with fellow grantees, Ministry members, the respective contact points at each district and the NLEAP team. The facilitation of such networking sessions that build synergy amongst parties working towards building Language Rights and fostering Language Learning is key to the role that NLEAP plays as a catalyst, committed to fostering National Integration through Languages.
NLEAP, through the National Languages Fund, has committed over Rs 148,000,000 (CAD 1.1 Million ) to fund the projects of 21 Civil Society Organisations which will promote Language Rights and Language Learning in various parts of Sri Lanka. The selected projects will play a key role in fostering acceptance and appreciation by Sri Lankan men, women, and youth of the cultural diversity and bilingual nature of their country. Driving collective action for social integration and reconciliation through promotion of language equality, promoting implementation of the Official Languages Policy through Sign Language, promoting a multi-languages policy, pluralism and reconciliation through participation of youths and women, and enhancing inclusive local economic development through provision of services by local authorities in the language of choice, are just a few of the areas of development that will be facilitated through the National Languages Fund.
The outreach of funds is anticipated to impact over two hundred thousand women and men, living and working in the areas of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Monaragala, Badulla, Galle, Matara.The National Languages Fund plays an integral role in NLEAP’s mandate to build national integration and reconciliation by promoting language rights and language learning.
The National Languages Equality Advancement Project (NLEAP), supported by Global Affairs Canada, continues working closely with relevant local government actors, to fulfill the commitment of the Governments of Sri Lanka and Canada, towards building language equality and sensitivity to the ethno-cultural diversity of Sri Lanka. NLEAP is managed and implemented by Alinea International (previously Agriteam Canada), a global international development consultancy providing technical and management expertise that helps people improve their lives.