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Sri Lanka

Strengthening civil society for improved governance and inclusive sustainable development

After the change of government in 2015, which has paved the way for a more conducive environment for rule of law and human rights, ACTED worked with media, lawyers and civil society organisations (CSOs) to enhance effective governance and respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. ACTED also continues to strengthen civil society organisations to ensure that they effectively participate in development processes and advocate for the needs of their communities. ACTED remains committed to building disaster resilience and responding to emergencies, while targeting new areas such as Colombo and Gampaha Districts, thereby addressing the increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters resulting from climate change

After a 26-year conflict that ended in 2009, civil society and overall governance in Sri Lanka remain weak, despite huge progress over the past few years. This results in inadequate or poor quality public services and unequal economic development. At the same time, efforts of the government to foster reconciliation, strengthen democracy and ensure respect of human rights need to be further supported. In this context, recurrent natural disasters, mainly floods and droughts, repeatedly affect the most vulnerable communities. ACTED addresses these, with a focus on the weak capacity of civil society organisations to advocate for communities’ needs, and the lack of awareness of the population on fundamental rights and freedoms.

Raising awareness on freedom of expression and access to justice

ACTED has been capitalising on the political change that took place in 2015, and which has presented opportunities to promote freedom of expression, to improve the quality of legal services, and to increase access to justice, all with the aim of promoting a better understanding and increased respect of fundamental rights and freedoms for all Sri Lankan citizens. Therefore, ACTED is trainingjudges, lawyers, journalists, government officials and communities at large to increase their awareness of fundamental rights and freedoms, while also bringing legal assistance through mobile clinics to those who cannot easily access it.

Strengthening civil society for better public services

Although there are myriad civil society organisations in Sri Lanka, especially at grassroots level, their capacities to advocate for communities’ needs remain weak. ACTED supportsthem across three districts, including in the newly-targeted Uva Province, in improving their organisational and operational capacities to empower them to become key actors in local development processes. Community members and leaders, together with local officials, participate in the elaboration of risk-sensitive Village Development Plans in order to identify collectively the needs with regards to social services, thereby ensuring that communities’ needs are taken into account through a bottom-up approach


Partners in 2016 :

EuropeAid, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Handicap International


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