Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Active Citizenship for Development Network (ACDN) organised a conference in Trincomalee to discuss ways to increase awareness among the poor of their human and economic rights at the local and national level. About 130 people came together to talk about proposals and ideas on local development to be submitted to provincial, regional and national authorities.
Set up by the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), the Uva Community Development Center, the Law and Society Trust Movement (LST), and the Center For Society and Religion, the network operates in 16 districts, including Colombo, Kalutara, Badulla, Kegalle, Monaragala, Ampara, Jaffna, Trincomalee and Mannara.
ACDN coordinator Pradeep Wanigasooriya said that in the country's north, 25 forums have already been established in four districts. This allows local community leaders to discuss issues and formulate proposals to submit ahead of the government's 2013 budget. "Our projects are people-oriented," Wanigasooriya explained.
The conference in Trincomalee also provided an opportunity for networking between various local groups and government officials.
"The meeting was not only useful to come with proposals concerning the 2013 budget, but also "to help participants become more aware about their strenghts and opportunities," Wanigasooriya added.
In addition, the ACDN has organised various courses to help the poor work with private companies and public officials, including courses on risks and opportunities of land concessions and mining.