Sri Lanka gets US$75mn World Bank credit for villages

Sept 11, 2009 (LBO) – The World Bank has approved a 75 million US dollar credit for village infrastructure development in Sri Lanka to expand its ‘Gemi Diriya’ project, the multilateral lender said. It has mobilized resources by promoting savings and village credit, and by linking communities to financial institutions and the private sector.

Gemi Diriya has also been instrumental in forging partnerships between the rural youth and key industries with employment potential, especially textile, food retail and the ICT sector.

Meena Munshi, World Bank team leader for the project said the project which is driven by community needs has been successful in transferring control over decision-making and financial resources to rural communities.

She said community institutions had been built that are now able to negotiate with the government and private sector on an equal footing.

“Our goal in the second phase of the program is for these community institutions to graduate into federations to facilitate better market and financial sector linkages, improving the delivery of livelihood support services, and improving technology,” Munshi said.

Gemi Diriya is a 12-year program and is expe