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Sri Lanka

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Community-based responses to post-conflict development challenges

Sri Lanka is in the process of emerging from three decades of civil conflict, which caused widespread destruction of human life and essential infrastructure, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. ACTED continues to address the evolving needs of vulnerable and returnee communities in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka and facilitates community-led approaches to longer-term, sustainable development. In 2013 ACTED empowered local populations to restart and scale-up small business activities, improve food security and re-establish an active civil society.

Improving food security for returnees

In 2013, ACTED improved the nutritional status and food security of 2,909 conflict-affected households in North East Sri Lanka. As 108,776 individuals left internally-displaced persons camps between 2009 and mid-2012, most returned to their villages of origin in Mullaitivu district to find their homes looted and destroyed, leaving them with little means to restart their livelihoods or provide for their families’ immediate needs.

Though the resettlement process was officially concluded in 2012, food insecurity persists among recently returned populations. In response to this situation, ACTED provided recently resettled families with cash transfers, assisted in the establishment of home gardens, facilitated nutrition and cooking training and offered psychosocial and legal documentation support to vulnerable returnee households.

Promoting local entrepreneurship

In 2013, ACTED continued to support the development of robust and competitive local economies by supporting 40 small and medium enterprises in Eastern Sri Lanka through the provision of productive assets, links with financial institutions and targeted technical assistance.

By targeting local entrepreneurs, ACTED helped to create sustainable employment opportunities for vulnerable men and women and ensured that enterprises will continue to contribute to the local value chain development through sales and purchasing agreements with low-income primary producers and mediumand large-scale retailers. This pilot initiative for small enterprise development is viewed as a way forward for conversion of smallscale entrepreneurial potential into innovative and sustainable business activities in Sri Lanka.

Empowering civil society and fostering good local governance

In 2013, ACTED’s innovative Grassroots Development Plan methodology promoted a bottom-up approach to development planning in Mullaitivu district, where civil society organisations were able to facilitate community-led development planning and project implementation. This approach also proved successful in having community needs and priorities integrated into local and district-level policies and plans.

ACTED’s pioneering Grassroots Organisational Capacity Assessment toolbox was successfully adopted by civil society groups to track progress and improvements in organisational management over the course of a series of tailored trainings. In Kilinochchi, ACTED established an independent and interactive resource centre to provide civil society groups across the Northern Province with capacity-building services and resources and to foster links between like-minded citizens, community organisations and local authorities in support of community-led development.

Building local capacity for development

In 2014, ACTED will continue to support longer-term development in Sri Lanka by focusing on civil society and local authority capacity-building for improved local governance in the Northern Province and the promotion of sustainable local livelihood opportunities and entrepreneurship for pro-poor economic growth in the Eastern Province. ACTED will also address needs for improved community-based disaster risk reduction and resilience-building in the East and will always be prepared to respond in the event of a natural or conflict-related disaster.

Partners in 2013:

EuropeAid, European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO), Germany Embassy, Palmera Projects

Download ACTED's trategy paper for Sri Lanka 2014-2016 :

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