Sustainable Resettlement through Community-Driven Improvement of the Learning Environment in Mannar District, Sri Lanka (Completed)


During the conflict in Sri Lanka, communities in Mannar District were displaced between 1990 and 2007 and were resettled in their places of origin during 2009/2010. Despite housing reconstruction and rehabilitation of basic community infrastructure, there are many outstanding basic services and infrastructure needs in the district. Educational facilities are particularly inadequate with schoolchildren following classes outdoors or in temporary buildings without proper sanitary facilities, teaching materials or facilities for extracurricular activities. This affects the level of learning of the schoolchildren, which in turn limits their social opportunities and affects future employment opportunities. The absence of residential facilities for teachers has also resulted in a shortage of qualified teachers who are willing to undertake appointments to the area. The poor educational environment has resulted in lower teaching standards and academic performance compared to other areas in Sri Lanka.

The lack of access to education facilities keeps people trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty and affects people’s decision to return to their places of origin after displacement. Marginalised children tend to suffer the most from inadequate schooling.


To contribute to the sustainable rehabilitation and reconstruction of conflict affected people in the Mannar District, Northern Province, Sri Lanka through the provision of an improved educational environment.


UN-Habitat’s methodology for sustainable recovery from disasters, the “People’s Process” model, was adopted to implement this project. This process involved mobilising the target group into an integrated community.

UN-Habitat contracted with the beneficiaries using community contracts (Community Implementation Agreements), thereby creating ownership and ensuring sustainability of the assets. Physical work were carried out by Community Based Organisations (CBOs), with technical input from UN-Habitat.

The school buildings and facilities were owned by the Ministry of Education and included in its inventory, operated by the Regional Director of Education for the Mannar District, and maintained by the school administration in collaboration with the Parents’ and Teachers‘ Associations (PTAs). Throughout the project, UN-Habitat facilitated the process by developing operation and maintenance guidelines in collaboration with all stakeholders.

Partnerships were developed to establish CBOs and communities as the key stakeholders providing leadership to planning, budgeting, and service delivery. Linkages were established and encouraged with local development partners, including Government Agencies, to improve the educational environment, water and sanitation services, environment management and community infrastructure maintenance through networking and resource mobilisation.

The school construction followed Child Friendly Schools (CFS) standards which aims at addressing disparities in the quality of education, school facilities and access to schools in different areas of Sri Lanka.

Main Outcomes

  • Improved access to better learning space and environment for school children and teaching space and environment for teachers.
  • Improved access to improved health and sanitation conditions for children and teachers.
  • Improved quality of teaching to facilitate children’s learning.
  • Sustainability of project interventions.

The output of the project included, 

  • Construction of 15 cost-effective, eco-friendly learning spaces,
  • Improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in 15 schools,
  • Construction of teachers’ quarters in 07 schools,
  • Training of teachers in 15 schools,
  • Trainings of children, parents, teachers and government officials and community members on school maintenance and management, and
  • Fostering ownership of completed schools and educational facilities.

Donors and Key Project Stakeholders


Government of Japan

Key Project Stakeholders:

Ministry of Education, Zonal Education Officials, school principals, CBOs, School Development Committees (SDCs). Parents and Teachers Associations and Government officials in the Mannar District and Green Tech Private Ltd.

Relevant Links

UN-Habitat Sri Lanka | Sustainable Resettlement through Community-Driven Improvement of the Learning Environment in Mannar District, Sri Lanka (

Project Brochure: JapanMannarSchools

Video: Government of Japan funded post conflict recovery projects in Sri Lanka

Relevant Publications

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