The three year project aims to strengthen Sri Lankan efforts to advance social cohesion and reconciliation. It works on three sub purposes - promote a cohesive Sri Lankan identity, reduce socio-economic disparities and enhance community resilience.
NPC is working to promote a cohesive Sri Lankan identity and aims to accomplish three results: to engage communities constructively in reconciliation processes; strengthen citizen-driven initiatives and networks to promote social cohesion and reconciliation across divided communities; and improve local and national government institutions processes promoting social cohesion and reconciliation.
During the first year of the project, NPC is working in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Moneragala and Vavuniya and focusing on one divisional secretariat of the district.
As the first activity of the project, NPC conducted information sessions for the Divisional Advisory Panel (DAP) formed in each division.
DAP is an ad-hoc body formed for the better implementation of the project and consists of 20 members with the leadership of the Divisional Secretary. DAP is expected to give guidance for the divisional and community level activities implemented under the project.
The first information session was conducted for the Vavuniya North DAP and the second information session was conducted for the Jaffna DAP. At both the sessions, the members of the Panel showed their interest in conducting various activities that would strengthen social cohesion and reconciliation within their communities.
NPC Board Member Professor M. S. Mookiah explained the need for social cohesion and reconciliation and the participants gave their perspectives on how the message of reconciliation should be passed to a wider audience.
The third Information session was held for the Seruwila DAP and the final session was conducted for the Buttala DAP.
NPC Executive Director Dr Jehan Perera gave participants an overview of the current political situation and explained the importance of the Transitional Justice process.
Many participants said the project was a timely one and they pledged their support to implement programmes in their divisions.
They noted that cultural exchange programmes would give an opportunity for people to understand the values and cultures of other communities, which would reduce misunderstanding and mistrust among different ethnic and religious groups and help to build a cohesive Sri Lankan identity.