Dharamshala: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a sum of $997,124 to SARD to “strengthen the financial and cultural resilience of the Tibetan people and contribute towards a sustained resilience of the Tibetan people’s economic and cultural identity.” This award represents a historic milestone as it is the first time any funding agency affiliated with the United States government has awarded development assistance directly to the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). The Cooperative Agreement was signed on SARD/CTA’s behalf by Kaydor Aukatsang, Chief Resilience Officer/SARD Director, and the award was made on June 23, 2020.
“The awarding of direct funding to the CTA fulfils a long desired aspiration and represents the culmination of many years of effort since my first term. I want to thank the USAID and hope this award paves the way for a more substantial funding relationship between the USAID and the CTA,” said Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay.
The award from USAID will support the Tibetan Resilience Project (TRP) where funds will initially go towards Tibetan language revitalization and capacity building of Gangjong Development Finance (GDF). The language program will be implemented by the Department of Education and the GDF component will be managed by SARD. The program will be implemented over a two-year period. Key activities under language revitalization includes production of Tibetan animation and audio books; publication of children’s literature for students in classes VI to XII; development of a language learning portal; and an annual summer language and cultural immersion program targeting Tibetan youth in the ages 18-30 and primarily residing outside South Asia. Key activities under GDF include development of a strategic business plan; purchase and customization of an appropriate MIS; technical assistance for implementation of action plan developed by Dalberg; and training.
“The awarding of direct funding is a momentous occasion for the CTA. I want to thank USAID for their generous support and extend my congratulations to the SARD leadership and team for their hard and excellent work,” said Mr. Karma Yeshi, Finance Kalon.
The formal process for the direct funding to the CTA began with a pre-award assessment of SARD in February 2019 where a team of senior staff from the USAID office in New Delhi visited Dharamsala and reviewed various aspects of SARD and its operation. The report was positive. This was followed up by the visit of a senior technical team from USAID in December 2019 to co-create the proposal which was submitted in March. In between, there were many rounds of email exchanges and phone calls between SARD and USAID.
“The direct funding sends a strong message of confidence in SARD and CTA’s ability to handle development assistance from foreign governments. The direct relationship with government funding agencies will have multiple benefits including saving funds and further strengthening SARD’s capacity. With the receipt of this award, SARD has taken a significant step forward in truly becoming the development agency to support the CTA and the Tibetan community,” said Kaydor Aukatsang, Chief Resilience Officer/SARD Director.
-Filed by SARD
Dharamshala — The Tibetan government in exile announced in a press conference today that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a grant of $23 million USD in order to strengthen self-reliance and resilience of Tibetan communities in South Asia.
The grant is effective from October 1, 2016 and will be awarded over a period of five years.
The overall goal of the program is to strengthen the self-reliance and resilience of Tibetans and Tibetan communities in South Asia by equipping them to thrive economically, become effective leaders; and maintaining the vitality of Tibetan communities and institutions while sustaining their unique identity and culture.
According to a press release from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), key program areas consist of leadership development, including institutional capacity building; establishing of a banking-like institution; and an integrated settlement development through community participatory process.
The programs will maximize local participation and ownership of the development process and a crosscutting gender component will incorporate women’s perspective and participation in the design and implementation of all sustainable livelihoods strategies.
CTA will partner with the Tibet Fund and other organizations and make maximum efforts to achieve the core program goals.
US sends message to China, starts direct funding to exiled Tibet govt in India
Anirban Bhaumik | New Delhi | Deccan Herald | JUL 14 2020
The United States has for the first time directly provided funds to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile based in India, a move likely to rile up China.
The US Agency for International Development or the USAID has committed to providing nearly $ 1 million to the Social and Resources Development Fund (SARD Fund)—a non-profit organisation set up by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGiE), formally known as Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and based at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.
This is the first time any US government agency has provided funds directly to the TGiE, signalling a subtle move by President Donald Trump’s administration towards acknowledging a political entity spearheading the campaign against China’s occupation of and continued rule over Tibet.
The US move came amid the military stand-off between India and China in eastern Ladakh
“This funding signifies the US government’s support to the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan community,” Kaydor Aukatsang, the Director of the SARD Fund of the CTA, told the DH on Monday.
The Dalai Lama set up the CTA on April 29, 1959, just a few weeks after he escaped from Tibet and arrived in India. The CTA calls itself the “continuation of the government of independent Tibet”.
Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama and the CTA of running a separatist campaign against China. Though New Delhi publicly maintains that the Dalai Lama was an honored guest of India, it never formally acknowledged the CTA as the exiled government of the erstwhile independent Tibet. China has always objected to India’s tacit support to the CTA and often demanded its closure.
The CTA set up the SARD Fund in 1997 to help mobilize resources and support development efforts of Tibetans living in South Asia. The Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India allowed it “to receive any amount of donations and foreign contribution for relief and development purposes”.
The direct funding by the USAID was an acknowledgement of “the capacity of the SARD as an international development agency to receive and manage such assistance”, said Aukatsang. The SARD earlier received financial support from the foreign governments through intermediary non-profit organizations. The USAID fund of $997,124 to the SARD fund of the CTA is intended to support “strengthening the financial and cultural resilience of the Tibetan people and contribute towards a sustained resilience of the Tibetan people’s economic and cultural identity.”
The US has been slamming China over the past few weeks for its military aggression, not only along its disputed boundary with India in eastern Ladakh but also in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. The US Navy deployed its two aircraft carrier strike groups – USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan – in the South China Sea, in response to maritime muscle-flexing by the communist country.
President Donald Trump’s administration also imposed visa restrictions on some officials of the Chinese Government and the Communist Party of China (CPC) as they were allegedly involved “in the formulation or execution of policies” denying access for foreigners” to Tibet. The move was in accordance with the US Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018. The law allowed the Trump Administration to bar Chinese Government and the CPC officials from entering America if it is found that they had a role in denying permission to the US citizens, journalists and diplomats to Tibet.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently accused the Chinese government of human rights abuses in Tibet and said that the US remained committed to “meaningful autonomy” for the Tibetans.
The US also imposed visa-restrictions and economic sanctions on the Chinese government and the CPC officials for atrocities on the Uighurs and violation of human rights in Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. The Trump Administration also initiated similar measures for the Chinese government’s officials “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy”. The move came after China imposed a new National Security Law in Hong Kong, which critics say would undermine the “one country, two systems” notion that the communist country had promised for the territory for 50 years while taking it back from the United Kingdom in 1997.
China too retaliated to the US move to impose visa restrictions on its officials.