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Supporting returnee communities in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka
After twenty-six years of conflict, Sri Lanka has moved into a period a relative stability. In 2012, the last of the internally displaced person (IDP) camps were closed and the resettlement process was officially completed. These changing circumstances required ACTED to adapt its role from supporting the immediate needs of refugees and returnees to establishing sustainable strategies for longer-term development. Over the course of 2012, ACTED successfully fulfilled this role by working with communities to promote food-security and sustainable livelihoods, construct community-identified, productive infrastructure and support micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through cash grants and business development support.
Supporting returnees in Northern Sri Lanka
In 2012, ACTED supported 7,578 returnees in Northern Sri Lanka to meet their immediate food security and income needs, whilst helping communities to lay a foundation for sustainable recovery. Activities supported selected households using the tried-and-tested approach of combining cash transfers (cash-for-work and cash grants) and productive asset rehabilitation with the establishment of home gardens through asset provision and training. Over the course of the project, beneficiaries reported an average increase in income of 50% and 100% of beneficiaries reported being able to afford three meals per day. In total, the cash-for-work scheme rehabilitated 219,960 metres of road, cleared 52.25 acres of land, restored 12,661 metres of drainage channels and repaired 15 culverts.
Promoting community-led development
In an area with a history of civil conflict, ACTED has been working hard to support community-led development projects. ACTED has been working with community based organisations (CBOs) to develop Grassroots Development Plans which provide a development ‘roadmap’ for communities. Through this project, ACTED has conducted 30 CBO workshops on participatory planning and service-delivery, a further 203 training sessions on topics including project cycle, financial and administrative management, participation and group dynamics, gender and inclusion of people with disabilities. ACTED has also supported communities to establish 74 village committees and 116 community mediation groups. ACTED has provided ongoing support to these groups and other CBOs through a variety of capacity-building training sessions.
Fostering local economic growth in the East
In Eastern Sri Lanka ACTED has been working to foster local economic growth by supporting 40 SMEs to develop their entrepreneurial potential. Each SME has undergone a variety of training sessions, including a 10-day business plan workshop, equal employment opportunities workshops, marketing and management training and environmentally sustainable production training. ACTED has also supported each SME in the business registration process and to develop linkages with financial institutions to increase resource access.
Looking forward to longer-term development
In 2013, ACTED will continue to support the longer-term development process in Sri Lanka. ACTED plans to do this by focusing on the livelihood and food security sectors, through continued implementation of cash transfers, home gardening projects and productive infrastructure construction. ACTED will continue to work with SMEs in the East and look for opportunities to increase this process in the North as basic needs are gradually met. In 2013, ACTED will work in two new sectors in Sri Lanka: disaster risk reduction (DRR) and local governance. Through a new DRR project in the East, ACTED will be working with communities to establish disaster management mechanisms and enable comprehensive responses to natural hazards. In the North, ACTED will be supporting civil society organisations through a comprehensive capacity-building programme and working with local authorities to improve public service delivery, enhance accountability and good governance.
Partners in 2012:
European Commission's Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO)