Sunday, January 23, 2005

Net to People Operations

My intention when coming to Sri Lanka had been to open up field offices / Information and Resource Centres for the affected has not been successful – opening offices need a fixed attention for a few days and a budget in hand – a reliable, suitable and motivated person to take charge and confidence that the office will be sustained.

I did get verbal agreement for support for an interim office at my former work place (IFS) but afterwards, I was turned down. That was frustrating from the point of view of losing precious time. I had also volunteered to support the Welfare Society at IFS in undertaking relief work and I am waiting to hear back.

One of the contacts that I renewed here ( a batchmate of mine from University who is a DGM (Marikkar) at Lanka Transformers has promised to follow through with setting up office. He is extremely busy – LT is now a company with the biggest turnovers in the country after the banks and they have many holding companies. One of the holding companies is Lanka Online (lanka.com) and the plan is that we have to come up with proposals for them to formally accept at a company level – they would hopefully help with sites in the South, East and North and they have an office in Colombo at Ward Place. Still Marikkar is trying to do what he can in spite of being loaded – he has already traveled with medical supplies to the affected area – he also lost his wife’s relatives – the children with them survived – the parents had gone visiting to the Eastern Coast.

I am also going to look for funds for at least one office that can be bootstrapped off the existing project office that I have in Kandy. I am due to interview two persons tomorrow (both graduate students) who may turn out to be a interim hire to help with disaster work in my existing office – at the moment, the staff in the office have rallied around – leaving their regular duties – they have responded magnificently – but they need to get back to their regular work - I am spending tomorrow morning with them before leaving to Colombo in the afternoon before continuing on to the Airport.

My visit has been one that has been one of rewarding internal travel – still unfulfilled attempts to start up offices - of trial balloons that did not fly – of some good and useful contacts - trying to maintain contact with the IRC team geo/recoverlanka - useful coordinating work with the Polgolla staff.