"Stretched to New Heights: CIABOC and UNDP's Success with the First Tamil Medium TOT Program in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province"

CIABOC (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) joined forces to host their inaugural Tamil medium Training of Trainers (TOT) program in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, achieving resounding success.

In an ambitious journey to fulfill the five-year National Action Plan aimed at upholding integrity in the public service, CIABOC and UNDP reached out to the culturally and linguistically vibrant Eastern Province. This marked CIABOC's fourth step in training civil servants as anti-corruption trainers. The selected province, comprising Trincomalee, Ampara, and Batticaloa, has a significant Tamil-speaking majority. Hence, UNDP and CIABOC conducted the entire program in Tamil, recognizing the importance of reaching a substantial portion of the local populace.

The Eastern Province, known for its rich ethnic diversity and vibrant cultural tapestry, faces a myriad of issues in the daily lives of its people, some of which remain hidden. Over the course of a three-day residential program, Divisional Secretaries from Trincomalee, Ampara, and Batticaloa were introduced to new provisions in bribery laws and delved deep into strategies for long-term corruption prevention.

The keynote address, delivered by the highly esteemed former Appeals Court judge and the Second Commissioner of CIABOC, Mrs. Deepali Wijesundere, underscored the collective emphasis of the program on behavioral change. It challenged the entrenched attitudes within the public sector, particularly dispelling the belief that issues akin to corruption are as insidious as cancer and cannot be effectively tackled. By providing international examples and embodying ideal behaviors, she convincingly demonstrated the significance of shaping the behavior of subordinates.

Deputy Director General Mrs. Ranjani Senevirathne, a highly esteemed public servant and senior counselor at CIABOC, delivered a lecture emphasizing the importance of upholding integrity throughout one's entire career. She illustrated this principle with exemplary examples from her own distinguished career.

Trincomalee Government Agent, Mr. Chaminda Hettiarachchi, delivered a heart-rending lecture, emphasizing the sacred duty of public servants as a divine calling. CIABOC's Assistant Director Legal, Mr. Saldeen M. Sabry, an expert in handling corruption cases in both Sinhala and Tamil languages, served as a valuable resource person during the three-day program. Furthermore, Assistant Director General Ms. Thanuja Bandara, an expert in corruption law, introduced the new Anti-Corruption Act. Mr. R. Rushandan, a consultant at SLIDA (Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration), shared his extensive life experiences and delivered an impactful lecture on how small behavioral changes can lead to systemic transformations.

Mr. Jagath Lyanarachchi, a renowned human rights activist and former director of the Right to Information Commission, provided an insightful lecture on the nexus between integrity and development. He illustrated his points with international examples, enhancing the audience's understanding of this crucial relationship.

Through group activities, all divisional secretaries were equipped with the skills to effectively communicate the message of integrity, bribery, and corruption provisions, as well as the legally binding principles of UNCAC, which are essential tasks for all public servants.

Mr. A. M. R. S. A. Adhikari, the Director of Administration, rendered invaluable service by efficiently overseeing officers from the three larger provinces of Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and Ampara, bringing them together in a cohesive manner.

The CIABOC prevention unit meticulously designed the session plan and expertly managed the entire event. Overcoming the challenges of distance and language barriers, CIABOC successfully conducted this three-day residential program, demonstrating their commitment to fostering integrity and curbing corruption in the region.

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