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The European Union (EU) is providing EUR 40 million to Sri Lanka to co-finance the "Strengthening Transformation, Reconciliation and Inclusive Democratic Engagement" (STRIDE) project. Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary to the Treasury at the Ministry of Finance, signed the financing agreement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka on 9 October 2019.
H.E. Tung-Lai Margue, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives said "Good governance and the participation of communities are important to ensure that a country's growth reaches everyone. Local government structures must be responsive to people's needs. These are key elements in ensuring effective governance on the ground which help address causes of conflict. With STRIDE, the EU contributes to long-term peace, security, and development in Sri Lanka".
The EU-funded STRIDE project is a collaboration with the World Bank-funded Local Government Development Project. It will be implemented in the Northern, Eastern, North Central, and Uva Provinces. The EU and the World Bank (WB) will introduce a small grants scheme to local authorities to strengthen their capacities in planning and service delivery with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). STRIDE will also strengthen community and special mediation boards to improve citizens' experience of and access to justice services.
The activities will be implemented by the WB, UNDP and the British Council together with The Asia Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Internal & Home Affairs and Provincial Council & Local Government as well as the Ministry of Justice and Prison Reforms.
The programme is expected to run for four years and will help an estimated one million Sri Lankan people under 134 local government authorities in the four provinces.