Sri Lanka: A.C.E. project empowers communities
The ACE project, which was funded by ADRA International and the ADRA United Kingdom office, was implemented between April 2007 and May 2009, and assisted more than 400 families in 15 villages of the Pottuvil Division of the Ampara District. By its completion, participants were benefiting from increased access to clean water, and had improved their health and sanitation. In addition, the project helped create better quality housing conditions and community infrastructure, and facilitated more peaceful relationships between tsunami-affected families and their neighboring communities.
"In the implementation of this project, we were confronted with several obstacles, including the political instability in the eastern region, the various needs of the region's diverse ethnic communities, and the effects of recurring natural disasters, such as severe floods, drought, and the 2004 tsunami," said Edgar Castillo, country director for ADRA Sri Lanka. "In spite of these challenges, the project was very successful."
One of ADRA Sri Lanka's proudest accomplishments was the successful creation and improvement of 336 water sources within the tsunami-affected communities, including the ongoing rehabilitation of hand pumps, overhead tanks, rainwater harvesting tanks and wells. ADRA also introduced hygiene and sanitation trainings into the communities, making a significant impact on the health and hygiene of the participants.
"The post-tsunami communities in which we work face social and cultural challenges which make them more vulnerable," said Castillo. To address these concerns, ACE developed special trainings and capacity building programs that strengthen the Community-Based Organization that will be responsible for the maintenance and sustainability of the project's activities. ADRA also organized 26 peace-building activities that with the participation of more than 6,100 beneficiaries encourage peaceful relations among the multi-ethnic communities.
To ensure community participation, ADRA encouraged regular house visits, community meetings and community clean-up days, motivating more than 10,000 people to join in. ADRA also provided materials that would help improve the operations of the community centers. To promote the development of community infrastructure, ADRA also assisted in the rehabilitation of public spaces in Pottuvil, such as multi-purpose and religious centers, schools, health centers and the bus station.
ADRA improved and constructed 403 facilities, including kitchens, verandas, toilets, and fencing. To improve the health and nutrition of targeted families, ADRA introduced the practice of composting and home gardening, benefiting nearly 400 families.
Throughout the project, ACE coordinated with other agencies and organizations, such as the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID), Malteser International, Norwegian People's Aid, and Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society.
"ADRA's collaboration with the local government also provided opportunities to better assess the needs of the targeted communities," added Castillo. Due to these activities, ADRA Sri Lanka was appointed the coordinating agency in the Pottuvil Division for meetings between international government agencies, local non-government agencies and government agencies.
"Thanks to ADRA, in Pottuvil, there are happier and healthier families," said a local government official.
ADRA has been working for the people of Sri Lanka since 1989 in the areas of economic development, emergency management, basic health care, and food security.
For more information about ADRA Sri Lanka and the ACE project, please contact www.adrasrilanka.org.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.
For more information, visit www.adra.org.
Author: Nadia McGill
For more information, contact:
John Torres, Senior Public Relations