NLEAP conducts 3 Virtual Orientation Sessions for the National Languages Fund (NLF) Call 2 Partners.
The Call 2 NLF partners participated in a series of virtual orientation sessions to familiarise themselves with some of the areas critical to the successful implementation of NLEAP.
The first session on Finance & Administration was conducted on the 31st of March. The participants were warmly welcomed by Mr. Don Brownell (Director – NLEAP) who highlighted the importance of the sessions planned and thanked the fund recipients for their participation. Following an introduction by Mr. M Thirunavukarasu (Deputy Director – NLEAP) which outlined the purpose of the orientation session, Mr. Christy Kekuluthotuwage (Finance & Administration Manager – NLEAP) provided the Fund recipients with a thorough and detailed understanding of the Finance and Administration essentials fundamental to the effective management of their NLF project activities.
The second Virtual Orientation Session commenced with the presentation on Monitoring and Evaluation by Mr. Guy Innes (M&E Expert, Alinea International). As Mr. Thirunavukarasu Marimuthu (Deputy Project Director – NLEAP) explained in his introduction, the purpose of the session was to provide Technical Assistance to the NLF Partners on the best practices to be followed when providing the required indicators and data critical to reporting. The tri lingual ‘Monitoring, Evaluation and Narrative – Reporting Guide for Grantees’, was circulated in advance of the session enabling the NLF Partners to familiarise themselves with the varied concepts, tools and templates critical to the successful monitoring and evaluation of the project. Therefore, starting his session with a Mini Capacity Assessment Test, Mr Innes proceeded to review the monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements for NLF projects, highlighting the data collection tools and the various templates outlined in the manual. This was followed by an orientation on Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) conducted by Ms. Saama Rajakaruna (Gender Equality Specialist, NLEAP). This session created a forum for NLF partners to discuss the rationale for promoting GEWE within Language Rights as well as to explore ways in GEWE could be promoted within their distinctive project initiatives. NLEAP’s two pronged approach to promoting Equality within Language Rights in Sri Lanka, including gender equality, and a specific focus on women’s empowerment, was highlighted to the partners. Promoting gender sensitive policies, programmes and language plans, collecting and disseminating gender disaggregated data, develop greater awareness and capacity for gender-based analysis, and ensuring gender equality in all planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting of activities were some of the aspects highlighted in order to achieve GEWE within Language Rights.
The final Virtual Orientation Session focused on the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) and Communications and Branding. The session on Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) was led by Ms. Veena Verma (Canada-based Project Director, Alinea International). A quick poll revealed that over 70% of the NLF partners were familiar and experienced with the HRBA to project implementation. Following a quick refresher about HRBA and its core principles the session was devoted to explore more deeply how HRBA could be applied to Language Rights in Sri Lanka. Reiterating the word of UNESCO “Language is the key to inclusion. Language is at the centre of human activity, self-expression and identity. Recognizing the primary importance that people place on their own language fosters the kind of true participation in development that achieves lasting results.” Ms Verma urged the NLF Partners to explore how they could best apply the HRBA principles to Language Rights within the scope of their distinctive project activity. The Communication and Branding session by Ms. Roshanara de Mel (Communications Officer, NLEAP) walked the partners through the guidelines to be followed with the usage of Project Branding. Consistency in NLF Partner communication activity will play a critical role in building confidence and consensus amongst key stakeholders, policy makers and the general public about the vital contribution Civil Society Organisations can make towards the implementation of the Official Languages Policy. Showcasing the diverse and creative approaches adapted by the NLF partners to promote Language Rights and/or facilitate Second Language Learning become in themselves credible, living examples of how language rights can be leveraged towards building national integration and reconciliation. Therefore the successful, consistent communication of NLF partner activity is a vital aspect.
The NLF partners were one and all deeply appreciative of the learning and insight derived from the multiple orientation sessions. NLEAP will continue to organise such capacity development opportunities for the partners as they work collectively to promote Language Rights and Second Language Learning amongst the general public and grass root communities in particular.
 UNESCO, Why Language Matters for Millennium Development Goals (2012)