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Sri Lanka


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Rebuilding Communities in North East Sri Lanka (Completed)

Background and Objectives

The project assists the poor living in underserved neighbourhoods in North East Sri Lanka who have endured violent civil strife during the last twenty years. The city infrastructure has suffered from damage and neglect during the war and from a total absence of any new investment in infrastructure. Yet, with the cessation of violence, these cities and towns are attracting new populations who are now forced to live without basic services and facilities, exposing themselves, particularly women and children to health hazards and unhygienic circumstances. Not only the physical conditions of the neighbourhoods are poor, the socio-economic situation is one of extreme poverty too. Due to migration, displacement and years of mistrust, communities need to be rebuilt physically, socially and economically. A community-based approach to rehabilitation and reconstruction will assist the process of social reintegration, while alleviating poverty.
The objectives of the project are to restore the human dignity of the urban poor by: (a) Assisting urban poor communities to improve their neighbourhoods through the rehabilitation of small-scale infrastructure (water supply, sanitation, drainage, footpaths, street lighting); (b) Introducing innovative methods of community participation such as Community Action Planning and Community Construction Contracts, which have been successfully pioneered in other parts of Sri Lanka and countries in the Asian region; and (c) Activating local governments to be more responsive to the needs of the urban poor.

Results

Project has been completed in 2006 and has: (a) Assisted urban poor communities to improve their neighbourhoods through the rehabilitation of small-scale infrastructure, such as water supply, sanitation, drainage, footpaths, street lighting; (b) Introduced innovative methods of community participation such as Community Action Planning and Community Construction Contracts; and (c) Activated local governments to be more responsive to the needs of the urban poor.

A significant component of the budget was utilized for training. The project organized two training-of-trainers programmes in community participatory process and community contracting thus enhancing the capacity of 27 trainers in the participatory planning process. They assisted the communities to get organised and conducted around 50 Community Action Planning workshops at which around 1,400 community members participated and contributed.

To achieve the objective of activating the local governments to be more responsive to the needs of the urban poor, capacity building workshops were organized through the Office of the Assistant Commissioner of Local Government in Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Batticaloa in which 127 local authority staff participated. Also vocational training for skills development was conducted through the CDCs in computing, languages, sewing, accountancy, cookery, screen printing etc, through which around 4,500 community members benefited in acquiring marketable skills.

Apart from the physical improvement of the communities and the skills obtained by its members, one important outcome of this project has been the restoration of the sense of community. By involving the communities in the selection, planning and implementation of the project activities, the process of joint decision-making and cooperation have brought back the communities together again. It has restored their trust and human dignity.

Development Partners / Partners

Development Partners: United Nations Human Security Trust Fund
Partners: Provincial government and four local authorities


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