Linking effective governance and disaster resilience for a strengthened civil society
Following the 3 decades-long armed conflict which opposed the Tamil minority to the Sinhalese majority, which came to an end in 2009, a new government was elected in early 2015, paving the ground for a more conducive environment for rule of law and reconciliation. In this atmosphere, ACTED was able to strengthen its link with authorities, thus enhancing effective governance and strengthening civil society. Meanwhile, ACTED continued building disaster resilience, thereby addressing the increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters, particularly severe floods and droughts, resulting from global climate change.
Sustaining empowerment of the civil society in the north
Aiming at enhancing the capacity of and cooperation among civil society organisations (CSOs) and local authorities to improve development processes and service delivery, ACTED established a self-sustainable resource centre providing demand-driven trainings and services to local CSOs. ACTED additionally funded 8 CSOs to implement small-scale projects, covering needs identified by communities (health, food security, gender-awareness, environmental protection, etc.), whilst training 108 district-level authorities on data collection/use/analysis. Data on levels of poverty, employment, health status and educational achievement is indeed essential to efficient development plans; the lack thereof, due to the authorities’ low capacities, thus hinders the development of the communities.
Inclusive community-based disaster risk management
To tackle the surge of natural hazards, ACTED is implementing an inclusive community-based disaster risk management (iCBDRM) intervention in the Northern province, in consortium with Handicap International, Oxfam and Save The Children. In 2015, at national level, the consortium presented an iCBDRM model to the concerned government authorities for their endorsement, and mapped available resources for its implementation. Meanwhile, at field level, ACTED re-established and strengthened 10 community-level Disaster Management Centres (GNDMC) in Mullaitivu district; provided these communities with first response kits based on community-led risk assessments; and facilitated working groups on the development of a DRM-inclusive village development plan.
A new climate for social justice
ACTED will continue to foster long term development, continually seeking to link communities to local authorities for stronger, more inclusive pro-poor growth and strengthening disaster resilience. ACTED additionally intends to capitalize on the new political climate, which has presented opportunities to promote freedom of expression, to improve the quality of legal services, and to increase access to legal assistance, all with the aim of promoting a better understanding and increased respect of fundamental rights and freedoms for all Sri Lankan citizens. ACTED will also explore the area of reconciliation, a vital component to building a peaceful future in Sri Lanka.
CIRCLE, a CSO Interactive Resource Centre for Local Empowerment
Seeking to strengthen the voice, influence, and capacity of vulnerable rural communities, ACTED has established CIRCLE, a CSO resource centre in Killinochchi (Northern Province) providing demand-driven trainings, technical programs or other services to 110 local organisations registered with it. 2013 and 2014 saw the development of business plan, name and logo as well as the initiation of a Palmyrah-products business. In 2015, CIRCLE was duly registered. It furthermore launched new income-generating opportunities – English and computer classes – as a mean to become financially sustainable, all the while benefitting the community at large.
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.