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LETTER FROM USAID
Thank you for your letter of August 6, 2010, regarding basic Information Technology (IT) training provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Sri Lanka. We appreciate your concerns about the program.
The new USAID activity referred to in your inquiry, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Alliance in Sri Lanka, was planned to train 3,000 disadvantaged Sri Lankans in basic business and computer skills for future employment in Sri Lankan companies willing to invest in the northern region despite continuing post-war insecurity. At this time, as a result of questions raised about this activity, USAID has suspended the program and is undertaking a review of it in accordance with USAID policy to document any negative impact on the U.S. job market. The project was determined to comply with policies, established in 2003, that were meant to ensure USAID's projects do not adversely affect U.S. jobs; however, USAID is now reviewing these guidelines to ensure they are applicable to today's increasingly globalized economy.
As you may be aware, USAID's post-conflict recovery program in Jaffna, in the north of Sri Lanka, targets the marginalized, economically depressed population, those most affected by the 25-year war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil-Eelam. By assisting those who were displaced from their homes during the conflict, USAID programs can help them join the workforce and also help to restore stability and security to a region still prone to unrest.
The conflict in Sri Lanka ended in May 2009, but the war devastated the country and its people are now engaged in a painful process of reconciliation and reconstruction. USAID has played a leading role in providing humanitarian assistance to 300,000 people displaced by the war. As these same people resettle in their northern Sri Lanka homes, USAID's goal is to assist the integration of these areas with the whole of Sri Lanka so that lives can be rebuilt and the country can achieve a lasting peace.
As we seek useful and appropriate ways to support the new peace in Sri Lanka, our investigation into the impact of planned programs will continue. We will keep you informed about the outcome of USAID's review of training programs in Sri Lanka.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Please let us know when this office can be of further assistance.