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Sri Lanka

Empowering communities and strengthening local authorities for inclusive development

Over 5 years after the end of the civil conflict that caused widespread destruction of human life and essential infrastructure and resulted in thousands of people being displaced, Sri Lanka is increasingly pacified and its economy is well back on track. Thus, in 2014, ACTED started shifting its focus from reconciliation efforts and assistance to returnees to longer-term sustainable development. Projects focused on three pillars: enhancing agricultural livelihoods and economic development, mainstreaming emergency response and disaster risk reduction, and fostering local governance and empowering civil society.

Promoting community-driven, pro-poor economic growth

In 2014, ACTED continued to support the bottom-up development of strong local economies in vulnerable areas of the Northern and Eastern provinces. This was done by building the capacity of 15 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to voice community needs, engage in local development management and advocate for better service delivery from authorities, as well as through the provision of training, assets and links to relevant stakeholders to 40 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to help them grow and thrive. By strengthening CSOs and SMEs, ACTED has contributed to the inclusive and participatory economic empowerment of target communities.

Strengthening disaster preparedness and response

ACTED worked with communities and local authorities on the establishment of a community-based model to reduce disaster risk in Batticaloa, Eastern Province. It was aimed at making vulnerable populations better prepared and more resilient to floods, while strengthening the capacity of authorities to respond to disasters in a more efficient and coordinated manner. The model, which is currently in the process of being replicated by local authorities in other areas, has helped minimize loss of life, assets and livelihoods during the heavy flooding of December 2014. One of the model’s main features is an Early Warning System to alert the population about unsafe water levels.

Empowering civil society and promoting good governance

In 2014, ACTED continued providing capacity building, technical support, facilities and other relevant services to CSOs in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province through its interactive resource centre. Moreover, in order to promote good governance and equitable access to resources and services, small grants were awarded to selected CSOs, which are to develop grassroots projects on health, gender or environmental issues in partnership with local authorities. Trainings were also provided to strengthen government authorities’ capacity to gather and analyse relevant information to enhance good governance in addressing the development challenges of the area. 

Promoting long-term, community-driven development

In 2015, ACTED continued to focus on activities that foster longer-term development, always seeking to link communities to local authorities for stronger, more inclusive pro-poor growth. Work focused on the replication and mainstreaming of previously developed disaster risk reduction mechanisms, civil society empowerment and the promotion of good governance. ACTED also aimed to keep supporting local rural economies through small and medium enterprises with a good potential to grow. Finally, in the event of a major natural disaster, ACTED stands ready to intervene and contribute to mitigating human and material damage.

Partners in 2014:

EuropeAid, Handicap International (HI)

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

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