Sri Lanka Article

Improving women’s access to water in Monaragala District

ACTED is starting a new project in Monaragala in southeast Sri Lanka to rehabilitate a reservoir which has fallen into disrepair.

Repairing the Samurdhi Reservoir

In Sri Lanka‘s Monaragala District, critical damage to the local dam has resulted in a reduced capacity for water stocking in the Samurdhi reservoir. Water levels are very low, threatening the livelihoods and well-being of the approximately 1,302 households depending on the dam.

In response to the lack of water security in Monaragala, ACTED is partnering with two Community Based Organisations (CBOs), the Samurdi Tank Parakum Farmer Organization, and a women’s rural development society (WRDS) called the Women’s Farmer Organization of Galahitiya to rehabilitate the reservoir in a two-year project. The repairs will help to increase water reserves during the dry season and allow farmers to cultivate larger plots of land. Farmers will thereby improve their annual productivity and ultimately increase their income.

Beyond simply repairing infrastructure, this project aims to improve the livelihoods of local women with limited employment opportunities. Women’s livelihoods will be improved by building the capacity of the WRDS and economically empowering them by developing new business opportunities.

Building a demonstration farming plot

To ensure that farmers have the knowledge and training they need to profit from the new water supply, ACTED will set up a demonstration plot. Using this plot, CBOs will be able to increase their understanding of improved agricultural practices by learning to cope with cultivation challenges such as water management and unhealthy soils.

Building the capacities of organisations and improving the livelihoods of women

In addition, the project will increase the capacity of the two CBOs to run their respective organisations more effectively for the social and economic empowerment of all farmers, male and female. The project will support at least 25 women from the WRDS to set up and run a dry fishing business, which will contribute to their economic empowerment and enhance their livelihoods.