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Having attended many meetings over the last year at Divisional Secretariats, I have realized that that is the best unit for ensuring knowledge of the day to day problems people face, and putting measures in place to address them. While Grama Niladhari Divisions allow for better local knowledge, these are too small for effective interventions, even with regard to local difficulties such as bad roads, deficiencies in utilities, inadequate health services, insufficient  resources for education and training.

The Divisional Secretariat can coordinate matters in such areas, whilst also ensuring technical expertise at appropriate levels to plan and implement development projects. It is vital however that consultative mechanisms be introduced to ensure that local concerns are brought to the attention of decision makers, with opportunities to make suggestions and question decisions.

In the meetings I attend, we have suggested two such meetings a week, one to look at development issues, the other to deal with protection, and support for the vulnerable, including in particular women and children. These meetings should be open to all stakeholders, and should include government representation, including the liaison officers for each GN area appointed by the Divisional Secretary and the Police. Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

March 2013
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