Located just off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is an island nation, rich with history, biodiversity and potential for eco-inclusive development. Many of Sri Lanka’s challenges stem directly from three decades of internal ethnic conflict which ended in 2009. This conflict hampered economic development and exacerbated poverty and unemployment, especially in the northern and eastern regions of the country.
Two thirds of the population continue to live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Tourism and textiles also contribute a significant proportion of the country’s GDP. Extreme poverty is rare and geographically concentrated in pockets. That being said, over one in ten Sri Lankans continues to live on less than 2 USD per day and a relatively large share of the population subsists on slightly more than the poverty line.
Sri Lanka is well-known for its biodiverse ecosystems and beautiful landscapes, but as with many countries in the region, the impacts of climate change have become increasingly visible, especially among vulnerable communities. This includes heightened frequency and intensity of cyclical weather patterns, such as droughts, floods and landslides that devastate the land and livelihoods of local populations. Additionally, Sri Lankas’ economic growth has stagnated over the last couple of years and is often impacted by adverse shifts in the global market.
In line with ACTED’s 3Zero strategy, ACTED in Sri Lanka aims to capacitate local organisations, entrepreneurs and individuals in achieving a world of Zero Poverty, Zero Exclusion and Zero Carbon. ACTED is strengthening local civil society organisations’ role in enhancing the livelihoods and engagement in good governance for the most marginalized groups.
To enable marginalised communities to pave the road towards Zero Poverty, ACTED supports over 300 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, comprised of women, persons with disabilities and plantation communities. The programme aims to enable entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and create employment opportunities to alleviate poverty in rural communities.
ACTED in Sri Lanka also focuses on enhancing sustainable livelihood approaches, that not only facilitate economic growth but also protect valuable ecosystems and natural resources. This includes promoting climate and water resilient agricultural practices, effective environmental management and supporting the government to implement existing policies and legal frameworks. These combined efforts contribute to mobilising Zero Carbon strategies throughout the country.
Lastly, to strengthen co-existence and inclusion in economic and social developmental planning, ACTED coordinates with civil society, community leaders and local authorities. By building the actors capacity and linkages to collaborate with one another, ACTED is progressively materializing a Zero Exclusion vision, regardless of one’s gender, ethnicity or religion.