Annual report 2013

 Message from the Chairman of the CSNHA.
The year 2013 has been a very important year for the Co-operative Society of Netherlands for Humanitarian Activities. During this year we had been acting with foresight and giving priority to activities that could benefit the victims of the war in the long run.

We are convinced that working through the co-operative societies among them is the best option available to uplift the lives of those affected by the war. During this year we had been able to effectively convey this idea to many of the charitable organisations in Europe, which are helping the war victims with funds to improve their living conditions. The fact that some of these organisations in England, Switzerland and Denmark have accepted that this is a better option, is indicative of the success of the efforts of the CSNHA in propagating the idea of working through co-operatives.
This has been possible due to the dedication with which the members of the Executive Committee of the CSNHA worked during this year. It is hoped that they will continue to work with greater vigour and make it possible for the CSNHA to render a more effective service to those affected by the war in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
It is our expectation that the co-operatives concerned in these provinces would be able to work independently without political interference and make those affected by the war stand on their own feet through their own efforts. The CSNHA hopes to strive to make this a reality.
Thank you.
Chandranathan Vallipuranathan, Chairman, CSNHA

 

An introduction to the CSNHA
The Co-operative Society of The Netherlands for Humanitarian Activities (CSNHA) is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-sectarian organisation registered as a co-operative society in the Netherlands.
The large number of civilians rendered destitute in the aftermath of the war in Sri Lanka in May, 2009 are being helped in many ways by a number of charitable organisations among the Tamils in the diaspora. Hardly any of the assistance provided is channelled through the co-operatives among them. Consequently despite the continued assistance directly to the war victims, there was no visible change in the lives of most of the war victims. Therefore the CSNHA was formed by the Tamil speaking persons of Sri Lankan origin in The Netherlands to co-operate with the large number of grass-root level co-operatives that existed in among the victims of the war in Sri Lanka to provide assistance to them and to spread the message among those helping them from the diaspora, the message that helping them through co-operatives as a better option to giving grants to individual victims of the war.
After working for several months during 2012, informally, the Co-operative Society of Netherlands for Humanitarian Activities society was registered with the Dutch authorities on 14th December, 2012 as a co-operative society for the stated objectives functioning according to the internationally accepted co-operative principles.
The CSNHA has an Executive Committee elected by the members of the Society. The term of office of this Executive Committee is two years. They could be re-elected to the Committee or replaced by other members from the general body. Only those who are Tamil speaking persons of Sri Lankan origin residing in Netherlands could be regular members of the Society. Others could be associate members with the approval of the Executive Committee.

The Objectives of the Society
The CSNHA hs the following objectives –
1. To develop programs for the well- being of the people of Sri Lanka and others who have been directly or indirectly affected by the adverse impacts of the post war situation in the country.
2. To develop and implement projects that will facilitate the improvement of the living standards of the widows, children and other people who have been affected by wars in general and the war that was concluded in May, 2009 in Sri Lanka, in particular.
On principle the CSNHA has decided to assist victims of the war only through co-operative societies in the target area in which they are members. If a war victim is not a member of any co-operative society, steps would be taken to get him enrolled to one of the nearly 1329 societies that exist in such areas. This number has been confirmed in a report in the website of the Governor of the Northern Province (vide http://www.np.gov.lk/pdf/cooperatives.pdf ) Steps are also to be taken to re-activate defunct societies in the area. These societies are motivated to use any funds received to help their members through revolving funds and provide soft loans for identified feasible ventures of the members. This enables the funds provided as assistance to be used over and over again to benefit several members of the society. Besides this makes the use of the funds completely transparent for the members and the donors to see how the funds are being used.

The Methodolody of the CSNHA
The CSNHA solicits funds from donors and Funding Agencies for specific projects of the Society. The projects of the CSNHA are prepared for a target area, after a careful collection of the relevant data, an identification of the needs of the people of the area, a survey of its resources, a study of the feasibility of proposed ventures of the beneficiaries and the opportunities and challenges the target group may have to face in the implementation of the project. Once the project gets going, provision is made for training of the beneficiaries in the ventures they chose and monitor their progress systematically. Provision is also made by an evaluation of the impact of the project at the end of a project cycle by an independent evaluator to learn from any mistakes that may have been made during the implementation process.
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Members of the Executive Committee
Mr. Chandranathan Vallipuranathan      Chairman
Mr. Ramakrishnan Sambasivam              Secretary
Mr. Gunaseelan Mariyanayagam             Treasurer
Ms. Rajani Iqbal Project                            Director
Mr. Thayananthan Anandasundaram    Board Member
Mr. M.C.M. Iqbal                                        Board Member
Mr. Thanigasalam Sinnathamby             Board Member

The Structure of the CSNHA
The Members of the CSNHA are all Tamil speaking residents of the Netherlands who have voluntarily joined the society. They form the General Body of the Society. Nine members of the General Body are elected to the Board of Directors. The term of office of the members of the Board is two years from the date of their election. They are eligible for re-election at the end of each term.
The Board has the option of admitting non-Tamil speaking persons residing in The Netherlands as Associate Members. Such members can attend meetings of the General body but do not have a right to vote at such meeting.
Among the members of the General Body are five persons who are considered to the founder members of the Society. Every Board elected shall consist of at least three founder members.
The Board of Directors elects one from among them to be the Chief Director, who is known as the Chairman, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Project Director.
The Board of Directors meet at least once every month and reviews the activities of the organisation.
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Activities of the Organisation
The following is a brief note on the activities of the CSNHA during the year 2013
ï‚· Preparation of a documentary on the current issues of women affected by the recently concluded war in Sri Lanka with special reference to those in the Wanni Districts in collaboration with The Tamil Forum of Malaysia.
ï‚· Arranged and conducted a Panel Discussion as a side event at the UNHRC in Geneva on the problems of the women in the war affected areas in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The discussion started with the show of the documentary to the audience.
(A full report on this activity is available elsewhere in this Report)
ï‚· Conducted meetings on 10th March, 2013 in Berne and Lausanne in Switzerland, to raise awareness of the members of Tamil Diaspora organisations there on the plight of the war victims in Sri Lanka and on how the CSNHA is proposing to help them through co-operatives.
 Conducted a Cultural Show and a meeting on the occasion of the International Women’s Day in March, 2013 at Den Helder in Netherlands. This programme attracted a large gathering whose awareness of the need to help women victims of the war was raised.
ï‚· Conducted a cultural show and awareness raising programme for the Sri Lankans residing in and around Zeist in the District of Utrecht in Netherlands in June, 2013, in collaboration with a Tamil Cultural organisation there. Explanations were given to the audience how co-operatives can help war victims in Sri Lanka. During the discussion that followed many doubts about co-operatives were cleared by answering questions of those in the audience.
 Facilitated the organisation of commemoration meetings in the Wanni Districts of Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, and the Jaffna District to commemorate the International Widows’ Day in June 2013. These were arranged in collaboration with Ray of Hope, UK and an unnamed organisation in Switzerland.
ï‚· A series of articles were written and published in online journals on the following topics:
         International Widows’ Day Meeting in the Wanni, 2013 – CO-OPERATIVES – A BETTER OPTION TO HELP VICTIMS OF THE WAR IN SRI LANKA;
         (HTTP://GROUNDVIEWS.ORG/2012/04/14/CO-OPERATIVES-A-BETTER-OPTION-TO-CHANNEL-RELIEF-TO-WAR-VICTIMS-IN-SRI-LANKA/)
       – The Importance of a Revolving Fund in Co-operative Societies to help War Victims; http://groundviews.org/2013/02/15/the-significance-of-revolving-funds-in-the-rehabilitation-of-those-re-settled/
      – Rehabilitation of Sri Lankan War Victims by NGOs – Why they should co-ordinate; http://groundviews.org/2012/09/22/rehabilitation-of-sri-lankan-war-victims-why-ngos-should-co-ordinate/
     – INTERNATIONAL WIDOWS’ DAY CELEBRATIONS OF 2012 IN NEDUNKERNY – HTTP://GROUNDVIEWS.ORG/2012/06/25/INTERNATIONAL-WIDOWS-DAY-CELEBRATIONS-OF-2012-IN-NEDUNKERNY/
    – Travails of the Women in the Wanni by Rajani Iqbal – http://groundviews.org/2013/03/15/travails-of-the-women-in-the-vanni/
ï‚· Having realized the importance of data on the victims of the war for the preparation appropriate projects for their uplift, a data base was prepared with the services of a competent computer programmer. (For more details please see the Concept Note on this subject available elsewhere in this Report)
 The CSNHA was invited to participate at an International Conference in Brussels conducted by the Youth for Human Rights International – an organisation based in the United States. The representatives of the CSNHA who participated at this meeting in September, 2013 made use of the opportunity to make the participants aware of the plight of the war victims in Sri Lanka whose rights have been violated.
ï‚· Attended an awareness raising discussion in London organised at the Ealing Amman Temple in July, 2013 to meet charitable institutions and other funding agencies in U.K. to explain the benefits of helping war victims through co-operatives.
ï‚· Arranged a meeting on 16th November, 2013 at the School of Asian and African Studies of the University of London in collaboration with DEEP Global of U.K. to share the experience of resource persons from the Co-operative College in Manchester, on how they had helped to uplift the lives of war victims in many countries in Africa. This meeting was attended by representatives of about 25 charitable organisations in UK.
ï‚· Attended a series of meeting of charitable organisations interested in forming a co-operative institute of the such organisations interested in channelling assistance to the war victims through the grass-root level co-operatives in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. At these meetings a draft constitution was prepared and circulated in consultation with the Co-operative College in Manchester and Co-operatives U.K. The process is still continuing.
 In collaboration with a charitable organisation called V4U UK A sum of £8000 was being assistance to 45 war widows in the Mullaitivu District was sent to the District Union of Thrift and Credit Co-operative Societies.

A Summary of the Report on the Production of the Documentary on ’Facing Life after War in Sri Lanka and Panel Discussion on it at the UNHRC in Geneva in 11th March 2013
The Co-operative Society of Netherlands for Humanitarian Activities (CSNHA) unanimously decided to prepare a documentary on the problems faced by the women victims of the war in the Wanni and have a Panel Discussion after showing it as a side event during the March 2013 Sessions of the UNHRC. The CSNHA also agreed to meet the cost of the production of the documentary from funds to be obtained from the Tamil Forum of Malaysia (TFM).
Contents of the Documentary and its objectives:
Since the documentary should be in line with the objective of the CSNHA to provide Humanitarian Assistance to victims of the war in the Wanni, it was decided that the documentary should highlight such issues in general but focus on the women victims of the war to make the international community aware of their plight.
YATV agreed to do the documentary and asked the CSNHA to do the necessary research for the production and provide the script. On 10th December, 2012 the Terms of Reference was prepared by CSNHA and provided to YATV with the approval of TFM.
It was agreed that the production of the documentary will be completed before 15th February, 2013. Seven per cent of the total cost of production is to be paid by TFM to CSNHA in lieu of administration costs. This amount is still due from the TFM.
Invitations were extended to Mrs. Yasmin Sooka of South Africa and Mrs. Solbhain McDonagh, a British Parliamentarian to be the panellist at the event along with Rajani Iqbal and Nimalka Fernando who was aked to preside. They agreed to do so.
Well wishers provided the funds needed to pay the transport and accommodation expenses of the panellists and the CSNHA staff who attended the event. The cost of the air ticket to Mrs. Yasmin Sooka was paid by a donor in London.

An Introduction to the documentary
Before the documentary was shown an introduction to the documentary setting out the objectives and the circumstances under which it was made. It was specially mentioned that since the production was in Sri Lanka the YATV had to do so carefully to avoid any problems with the Government of Sri Lanka.
This is the first time that pictures of war affected women had been compiled into a documentary for presentation as a side event during the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva and followed by a panel discussion by high profile persons who spoke on the issues brought to light in the documentary.

ï‚· Since the videos had been made in Sri Lanka the chances of the Government of Sri Lanka denying the contents of the documentary as false are minimized.
ï‚· However YATV could not include any scenes in the documentary that would put their continued existence in the country at risk as they are based in Sri Lanka.
ï‚· They could not get past army check points with their video equipment without the army accompanying them. So they could not shoot any scenes that would embarrass the government and risk being punished.
ï‚· In the circumstances this documentary had been produced by YATV having in mind the restrictions imposed by the government on all media reports originating from within the country. Consequently it was not possible for them to capture on film all the sufferings that the women victims of the war are undergoing in the Wanni today.
ï‚· Though attempts were made to get the victims of sexual harassment to agree to be interviewed secretly, they would not agree to speak for fear of repercussions.
ï‚· Scenes of Sinhalese victims of the war commemorating their dead have been deliberated included to show that such a privilege has been denied to the women in the Wanni. Including such scenes also added to the credibility of the contents of the video.
ï‚· Since this documentary and the panel discussion is the first effort made at the international level to raise awareness of the humanitarian issues faced by the women victims of the war, it is hoped that more funding agencies would assist in the activities of NGOs and others to provide assistance to these women in the Wanni.

The panellists Yasmin Sooka and Solbhein McDonald with CSNHA Directors
The Panel Discussion at the UNHRC in Geneva
The Panel Discussion was attended by over 100 diplomats and others who had come for the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva. Among those who attended were the representatives of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, British Tamil Forum, the Global Tamil Forum and some Tamil Parliamentarians from Sri Lanka. During the stay in Geneva in March, 2013 the documentary was also shown at Berne to an organisation working with the victims of the war in the Wanni. The documentary was also shown in London at a meeting organised by the Global Tamil Forum.
All those who saw the documentary were full of praise for the effort made for the first time to show the problems of some of the victims of the war in Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva. Copies of the presentations made on the occasion are available in the respective files of the CSNHA.

The CSNHA Directors with Nimalka Fernando & Rory Mungovan, Chief
of Staff of UNHRC High Commissioner
Data Base on Families of Members of TCCSs in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka
A Concept Note
Several organisations and persons in the diaspora and elsewhere are working for the uplift of those affected by the recently concluded war in Sri Lanka. Yet, hardly anyone has all the information relevant to those affected by the war and living either in the Northern or the Eastern Province who need to be helped. Even the Government of Sri Lanka does not have enough information on them other than perhaps their names and numbers. The absence of complete information of them in a computerized data base has resulted in ad hoc collection of basic information from different sites or areas to prepare informal project proposals or schemes when benefactors want to help the persons concerned. The importance of a computerized data base lies in the fact that once the data which has been systematically collected, authenticated and fed into the data base and kept updated on a regular basis, the identification of locations or areas that need the attention of well wishers or NGOs that wish to serve the people of the relevant area becomes readily available. Even a survey of needs may sometimes be unnecessary as the data base could be designed to give specific information either on particular areas or on particular categories among those affected. For example when a list of widows below 25 years with children living in a particular area, are required, it would be possible to get such a list readily from the data base. The area concerned could be a AGA’s division or a particular village or town.
Taking these matters into consideration the Co-operative Society of Netherlands for Humanitarian Activities launched on a project to prepare a data base on the above subject. As a preliminary step a comprehensive questionnaire has been prepared and a computer programmer experienced in preparing data bases was contacted to get advice. Subsequently a list of information that could be generated using the data base was prepared with the relevant fields that a programmer requires to generate the information needed at a given time based on the data that has been fed into the data base at that time. These have now been done. It is also hoped that we would be able to generate graphic figures or charts based on the data that has been fed into the computer.
Though this idea of a data base has been discussed with several organisations working with the victims of the war, the funds required to complete the process is yet to be found. This concept note is intended to be a document that could be sent to circulated among prospective funders to see if funds could be obtained to complete this task.

The activities relating to this effort are as follows:
1. Preparation of a questionnaire. Done
2. Identification of a Computer Programmer . Done
3. Preparation of the fields necessary for generate information from the data base Done
4. Computer Programmer to commence preparation of the Programme to feed the data – Done
5. Collection of Data from the Districts in the Northern Province. – Only partly done
This is being done on an ad hoc basis availing of the of the services of the Secretaries of the District Union of Thrift and Credit Co-ops. who will get this done through employees of the TCCS selected.The collection is not complete.
6. Training of data collection officers – Done in Madurai 7. Data Entry – Partly done –

Once the data entry is completed reports relevant to the requirements of the prospective organisations could be generated from the data base in respect of the data already entered in the data base.

A sample of a report from the Data Base
Translation of a report of the Cultural Festival Committee of the CSNHA
Report on the Cultural Festival of Co-operators – 2013, a fund raising event organised by the CSNHA
When the completion of one year since the Co-operative Society of Netherlands for Humanitarian Activities was formed approached, it was the general opinion of the members of the Executive Committee that an event should be organised to commemorate the occasion.
It was therefore decided that this event should be held on the day of the completion of one year, namely on 14.12.2013. This event was to be called the Cultural Festival of Co-operators to remind the members and the people of the co-operative principles based on which the Tamils among the diaspora in this land have got together to help in the uplift the lives of our people who have been affected by the war.
The Festival provided us an opportunity to explain the co-operative principles and on how we could help to improve the lives of our brethren who are the victims of the war, to get back on their feet and lead a better life through co-operatives. Arrangements had also been made to avail of this festival to promote our culture through performances depicting our traditional music, dance and other practices.
As a preliminary step, we had printed pamphlets advertising the event and explaining its purpose. As far as possible the members of the Executive Committee went from house to house with these pamphlets and it was possible to explain to them co-operative principles and how the war victims could be helped through co-operatives. Through this means it was possible for us to collect some funds as donations from the people to enable the CSNHA to continue with the activities of the organisation.
This event commenced with the hoisting of the co-operative flag, the recital of the co-operative song and was followed by Tamil cultural performances.

Partners of the CSNHA
The following are the organisations with which the CSNHA has had collaborations:
 Development through Education and Empowerment of People, U.K. ( DEEP Global UK);
 We for You, UK (V4U) ;
 NECTAR U.K.
 Children’s Hunger Relief Foundation, U.K. (CHRF) ;
 Ray of Hope, U.K. ;
 Co-operative College, Manchester, U.K.

Future Plans of the CSNHA 1.Consequent to the sustained campaign the CSNHA has been carrying on to propagate the need for assistance to war victims in the Sri Lanka through co-operatives Many Funding organisations had been convinced that it would be a better option than providing grants of funds to individuals. However, the CSNHA realized that because of the turbulent situation that prevailed in those areas for the last twenty five years, the members of the co-operative societies have not had the opportunity to participate in any training activities. Consequently these societies at the grass-root level in the districts in the North were found to be inadequately equipped to handle large sums of money and to involve themselves in the development of their community. In the circumstances there is a need to train the key members of these District Unions and the TCCSs in the following operational spheres – Activation of dormant societies; Managing large amounts of finances reaching their societies; Capacity building of women to become leaders. Even though there are a large number of women members in these societies, the key positions in the societies are being held by men due to their inadequacies. Involving members the development of the activities of the community; Education on effectively managing members enterprises and marketing their produce profitably.

Since the members could be affected by natural disasters such as floods, they need to be made aware of the need for protection of their resources through insurance schemes. There are certain areas in the Wanni district there is a concentration of women victims of the war. Unemployment has compelled some of them to indulge in anti-social activities such as prostitution. There is a need for education of these women in the dangers of such vocations and shown better options such as joint ventures in cultivation or dairy farming. Training in the techniques of collecting and analyzing data of their members and carrying on a survey of needs.
Taking all these matters into consideration the CSNHA has planned to seek assistance in the forthcoming year to initially to train the key officials in the five District Unions of the TCCSs in the North on the issues concerned and build up their capacity to perform more efficiently and effectively. That is going to be the main activity of the CSNHA in 2014.
2. Establishing Co-operative Supplementary Educational Institution.
It was found that due to the turbulent situation in the war affected areas a large number of children and youth have dropped out from their schools and are unable to continue their education. The CSNHA has decided to collect the necessary information on these school dropouts and establish as many supplementary educational institutions as is necessary under the District Thrift and Credit Societies Unions, to assist the school dropouts to continue their education and sit the Government examinations to qualify themselves. This project is to be launched in 2014 after the data is collected.

Contact particulars
Address: “CSNHA ” Doorzwin- 3301,1788 NC, Julianadorp,Netherlands
Contact Phone Nos. +31684441204 ( for project matters); +31645476790 (for membership matters)
Email addresses: rajanimuttuiqbal@gmail.com; ramakrishnan_05@hotmail.com; chandranathanv2@gmail.com; iqbals37@gmail.com
Bankers: ABN AMRO Bank, Netherlands –
Name of Account: CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY OF THE NETHERLANDS FOR HUMANITARIAN ACTIVTIES A/C No: 56 25 15 496 IBAN: NL59ABNA 0562515496 BIC : ABNANL2A