Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Appeal No. 01.29/2002 programme update No. 2

Originally published
The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 178 countries. For more information:
Appeal Target : CHF 652,199
Period covered: 1st July - 31st December 2002;
Last Programme Update (no. 1) issued 15 August 2002


Appeal coverage: 70.7%
Related Appeals: South Asia (regional programs) 24/2002, Drought 18/2002
Outstanding needs: CHF 191,369

Summary: A nation-wide branch development programme with full cooperation among the three components of the Movement is the underlying need in order to maximize the impact of the Sri Lanka Red Cross service delivery at the community level. It is hoped that the increasing cooperation between the Sri Lanka Red Cross, the Federation and ICRC will lead to the conclusion of the pending tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the furtherance of strategic co-ordination and planning between all components in future in the spirit of the "Strategy for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement".

Operational Developments

Following the ceasefire agreement signed in February 2002, the United National Front (UNF) government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have had three rounds of peace talks in Thailand. The Norwegian brokered peace talks that commenced on 16 September ended on 5 December with a dramatic announcement that the parties agreed to seek a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka which will be the basis for the coming negotiations on the political power sharing within the agreed structure. The UNF government is now proposing to enact a new constitution. The constitution will be operational within the federal structure without going for piecemeal amendments to the existing constitution.

The fourth round of the peace talks was scheduled from 6 to 9 January 2003 again in Thailand, where discussions will be held over the geographical region, political and administrative mechanism, public finance, law and order and the protection of human rights within the framework of united Sri Lanka, which are expected to lay the foundations for the donor conference in Tokyo in May 2003. The peace process has achieved a remarkable progress.

As the ceasefire has not yet been impaired, the tension in the North and elsewhere in the country has been gradually and steadily reduced. Traffic to and from the north has now been back to a certain level of normalcy with ICRC acting as an intermediary. Half of the displaced Muslim population who had settled in government camps in the north eastern, north central and western provinces have already returned to their home places while the other half have resettled elsewhere in the country. The Tamils displaced within the north eastern province have also started their returning move. However they are facing difficulties as their homeland is yet to be cleared of mines and military installations. The majority of Tamil refugees in overseas including a large number of those in Tamil Nadu in southern India are cautiously watching the development of the peace process hoping that the security in their homeland will be permanently assured.

GDP growth has been strengthening at an estimated 3% for 2002, along with the strong performance of the services sector which now represents more than 50% of GNP. Consumer price inflation has continued to decelerate. Interest rates and the exchange rates have remained stable. Contraction in manufacturing production may have bottomed out. There has been a sharp recovery in tourist arrivals, and growth in the telecom market has remained strong. Exports have been enjoying a rebound; while garments and tea exports have been rising, coconut exports continued to fall. Imports in all major categories have been recovering. As a result, foreign exchange reserves have been rising.

The IMF has released the final tranche of a standby facility. As the government revenue growth has been below the target due to weak privatisation receipts and lack of investor interest in state assets, the government is to raise funds on international markets. The high level of public debt remains a concern. The 2002/3 budget, which was announced in early November, suggests that the economic reform combined with relaxed monetary policy will continue. Government borrowing is estimated at Rs 350 billion and revenue targeted is Rs 317 billion. The government's determination to resort to non-inflationary methods of borrowing and keep the budget deficit between 7.5 - 8% of GDP rules out substantial direct relief in the short term, aiming at a medium term reduction of living costs and increase in job opportunities.

Purchasing power of the majority of the population has remained low, and the unemployment particularly in the rural sector has not shown improvement. Growth in the agricultural sector and the recovery in the manufacturing sector are imperative to improve the employment situation and to absorb the 150,000 young people who enter the labour market every year.

Drought conditions in pockets of the Hambantota District in the rain shadow area of the south of the country have been eased by the rainfalls during the last quarter of 2002. One Regional Disaster and Response Team member from the Nepal Red Cross has been assigned to monitor the program and to support the long term drought management intervention by the Sri Lanka Red Cross. Delayed Monsoon rains in the flood prone north east province is a matter of concern.

Disaster Response

The Sri Lanka Red Cross and the Federation launched a second drought appeal on 1 July 2002. The objective was to assist a further 3,000 drought affected families (18,000 beneficiaries) with an 80% food ration as per SPHERE standards for nine months till the next harvesting period and to provide water through water bowsering and to construct rainwater harvesting tanks in three District Secretary Divisions in Hambantota district (please refer to emergency appeal no. 18/2002).

The first and second food distributions were carried out between 11 and 12 August and on 20 October 2002 respectively. In the first distribution, food packets in full ration for two months were distributed to the most needy 1,366 families in eight villages of three DS divisions of Hambantota district. As a result of monitoring and assessment of the first distribution, the second distribution targeted 1,814 families in two District Secretary Divisions of the district in food packets of half ration for one months, including those 500 families who have more than five members. Sri Lanka Red Cross' third distribution scheduled in the first week of January 2003 will cover the remaining half ration to these 500 families and those to be identified by the house-to-house need assessment to be conducted jointly by the NHQ and the branch in the last two weeks of December.

The Federation has been continuously providing its support to the Sri Lanka Red Cross' NHQs as well as the Hambantota branch office to carry out the drought operation and to develop trained manpower. The Regional DP manager visited Hambantota area on 6-7 October. A detail design of the water tank was prepared during his visit and forwarded to the Sri Lanka Red Cross. A meeting was held on 11 November, in presence of DP Manager and, Regional DR Delegate at the Sri Lanka Red Cross NHQs to prepare a well-defined workflow with clearly defined responsibilities of respective stakeholders of the drought operation.

The Regional DR Delegate made a follow-up visit to the Society's NHQs on 12 November, and the meeting with the NHQ concluded to prioritise those 500 families who had received only half ration in the second distribution and decided to find out possibilities to issue food items through cooperative branches under the supervision of NHQs. Further, the Federation deputed a Regional Disaster and Response Team Member from the Nepal Red Cross in order to carry out program monitoring, volunteer mobilization and management and to support long term drought management interventions, for a period of 1 month starting from 25 November. In addition to the proposed plan of actions, distribution of Chlorine tablets was considered when quality of water is too low in the operation areas.

As a result of substantial rainfall that started from the first week of November, the Sri Lanka Red Cross discontinued water distribution (water bowsering) from 15 November. The water availability has been gradually increasing and many Red Cross beneficiaries already started to cultivate their fields. Altogether 1,381 beneficiaries benefited from the water distribution during the period from 19 August until mid November. The Sri Lanka Red Cross has distributed water by mobilizing two bowsers and three tractors in Hambantota D.S. Division. The remaining of the needy Divisions have been covered by the government and other organizations' water distributions.

In order to construct ten rainwater-harvesting tanks each with a capacity of 30,000 liters, the Sri Lanka Red Cross has already selected ten appropriate areas in ten different schools. On the basis of detailed design received from the Federation, the National Society has prepared bill of quantities and called for quotations from contractors. The tender board of Sri Lanka Red Cross is scheduled to select a contractor on 30 December upon last date of submission of quotation, and to conclude an agreement within 1st week of January. The Sri Lanka Red Cross has already received an approval from the provincial Ministry of Education for the construction of tanks in school premises.

A social mobilization program will be launched in the areas where tanks are going to be constructed in order to encourage people's participation by making them aware of how to preserve water and how to protect tanks.

Since the beginning of the operation the number of trained manpower is being developed through different trainings. The Sri Lanka Red Cross organized a training on house-to-house assessment for 80 volunteers on 12 July. On the basis of learning from the training, these volunteers have been conducting house-to-house needs assessment after each distribution. The second training on 'Logistics, procurement, distribution and reporting was organized on 9 October. Altogether 14 participants (Red Cross volunteers, NHQs and govt. personnel) participated in this training. On the following day, a lessons learnt exercise was organized and the participants prepared a SWOT analysis report of the operation. Also, a four-day training on Community Based Health First Aid (CBFA) for 40 volunteers (20 male and 20 female) was conducted in the Hambantota District.

A six-month Conflict Preparedness and Response program is underway, with a funding support from ECHO through the Spanish Red Cross. The objective is to address the short term needs of the returnees (Internally Displaced People) in three districts, selected out of five northern districts which have earlier this year been assessed by the joint Sri Lanka Red Cross, Federation and ICRC mission.

Disaster Preparedness

Objective 1: To improve the disaster preparedness program of the Society

The Disaster Preparedness (DP) program to support the development of community based DP structures and capacities in eight flood-prone Districts supported by the Spanish Red Cross and ECHO has achieved progress. Training, educational and dissemination materials including a community based DP manual for the volunteers have been completed and translated into three languages. The family level needs assessment by a questionnaire method was finalized in August and a data base is to be completed by the end of 2002. Continued workshops with GOs and NGOs have resulted in the formation of an Action Group Committee in all the eight districts, including local government officials and representatives of NGOs under the coordination of Sri Lanka Red Cross district branches. More than 5,000 people attended the community based DP dissemination programs during the last quarter of 2002.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross participated in two regional workshops during the reporting period; the Regional Disaster Preparedness Workshop in Negombo, Sri Lanka between 22 and 25 July and the Regional Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh between 26 and 29 October. The first national level VCA workshop was successfully carried out in Colombo between 14 and 17 December with the help of a chief facilitator deputed from the Pakistan Red Crescent with the participation from all 24 district branches. The Sri Lanka Red Cross also held a workshop on need assessments under the Conflict Preparedness and Response (CPR) program in August in Vavuniya, gathering 40 volunteers from Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mullativu and Trincomalee, with funding support from ICRC.

A new Disaster Management Director was recruited based on the job description developed with the assistance of the Federation's regional DP Delegate. The responsibilities of this new Director include developing a DP/DR policy and action plan for Sri Lanka Red Cross; supporting nation-wide risk and vulnerability mapping exercises; developing training curricula and programs; establishing a system for contingency stocks and adequate communications and logistics systems; and developing strategic liaison and co-ordination with government departments and Ministries, other regional National Societies, and external humanitarian agencies.

The Federation's regional DP funds supported the salary of the new DM Director for the first six months to assist the Sri Lanka Red Cross to build its strategic management capacity in this area. The post will strengthen the organizational structures at all levels to enable sustainable disaster management activities.

Possible incorporation of Conflict Preparedness and Response within the DP module has been discussed among Sri Lanka Red Cross, ICRC and the Federation but is yet to be completed.

Objective 2: To organize one liaison meeting per year with other key institutions (Government, ECHO, NGOs) to improve clear definitions of the roles for the NS, as well as collaborative planning and program implementation

Although the national Disaster Management co-ordination committee between Sri Lanka Red Cross and the government has not yet been finalized, there has been measurably increased participation of government officials in joint planning and training within Sri Lanka Red Cross's DP activities. The Director of the Government's National Disaster Management Center was among the participants of the Regional Disaster Preparedness workshop in Negombo as the representative of government of Sri Lanka. He has played an active and supportive role on the newly established Sri Lanka Red Cross national DP advisory committee, convened under the Spanish Red Cross/ECHO DP program. This has helped to improve the approach to co-ordinated planning at all levels.

Objective 3: To initiate a drought mitigation program in one severely drought-affected District

As one of the long term drought management interventions, water management systems including construction and/or community level repair and maintenance of water harvesting tanks have been integrated into the drought relief operation which had commenced in July 2002. It is hoped that this may act as a catalyst for funding for this long term program to demonstrate the use and replicability of longer term mitigation models that break the cycle of annual relief appeals.

A Sri Lanka senior Disaster Management staff member was seconded to the regional delegation for a month to learn about activities and procedures in the Federation and to support the organisation and documentation of the regional VCA workshop. A field trip was organised to drought affected areas of an Indian state, Rajasthan for his better learning on coping mechanisms and long term drought mitigation measures suitable for implementation in drought affected areas in Sri Lanka.

Health and Care

Objective 1: To strengthen the Society's overall health management system

The pilot community based health program supported by the Canadian Red Cross has been progressing well. In November, the well trained 19 community health workers embarked on the field level training of the vulnerable communities in health education with active participation of the district branch officials, volunteers and other stakeholders including the government Health Department officials.

One of the most significant impacts on the strengthening of the health management structure was the establishment of the six member Health Advisory Subcommittee with senior district branch volunteers, government Divisional Directors of Health, Director of the National Blood Transfusion Services and a nominee from the Health Department.

This new health management structure has demonstrated its strength by the emergence of the following new programs, qualifying to receive a support from the Regional Health Fund:

1. Radio program to the general public to create awareness on HIV/AIDS and to alleviate stigma and discrimination against PLWHA.

2. Capacity building of the Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers by skills training in safe blood donor recruitment, phased out for three years to achieve self sustainable blood donor recruitment service throughout the country.

Objective 2: To recruit and train community health volunteers to increase public awareness of communicable diseases, and of prevention and curative activities in the fields of First Aid, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Family Planning, and Primary Health Care

19 community health workers selected from 17 medical officers of health (MOH) areas in the pilot community based health program in Krunnegala have been given an 11 day comprehensive training in collaboration with the government provincial health department resource personnel. The community health workers were deployed soon after the training to carry out the community level health education and training program in the district on the four components of the program, i.e., First Aid, Primary Health Care, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS based on community needs.

During the reporting period, six basic First Aid trainings and one refresher training for First Aid instructors have been conducted for district branch volunteers.

Objective 3: To expand the existing reproductive and child health care programs.

In the pilot community based health program in Kurunegala district, the selected community health workers are playing an active role in conducting the step-up program's on reproductive health and maternal and child health care to the vulnerable communities. This is supplemented further by home visits in selected vulnerable villages to ensure the impact of the educational program such as behavioural changes whenever deemed necessary.

Objective 4: To renovate Primary Health Care physical infrastructure and facilities in vulnerable priority areas

The primary health care centre in Thalawattegedara in Kurunnegala district was identified as a target for renovation. In December actions were taken to start a community level repair work in December 2002.

Objective 5: To develop an active HIV/AIDS awareness program

The Sri Lanka Red Cross is hopeful for a positive response to the project proposal submitted to OPEC funds which is more in line with the present needs in the field of HIV/AIDS in Sri Lankan context away from the common awareness programs on the issue. The project proposal has been designed to carry out such activities as counselling services, voluntary blood testing, a safe home for People Living With HIV/AIDS or a drop-in centre as well as activities against stigma and discrimination toward PLWHA or to establish community groups of HIV positive people.

On 26 October Society launched a series of 12 weekly radio programs to create awareness on HIV/AIDS to the general public.

As a follow up of the Training of Trainers workshop on HIV/AIDS for the district branch officials on 20 and 21 June, eight branches have been supported by the Regional health funds to conduct HIV/AIDS awareness programs on World AIDS Day on 1 December. The Sri Lanka Red Cross health unit together with the youth wing conducted a successful school art competition on the World AIDS day which produced a high quality IEC materials on stigma and discrimination against PLWHA and safe blood.

Following the visit of the coordinator of the South Asia Red Cross and Red Crescent Network on HIV/AIDS (SARNHA) on 11 to 15 November, two representatives from the Sri Lanka Red Cross were invited to attend the 2nd SARNHA meeting and strategic planning workshop in Kathmandu on 22-27 December.

Awareness of HIV/AIDS and other STD is also in the agenda of the Canadian Red Cross funded community based health program.

Objective 6: To utilize the Global Fund to deliver effective AIDS, TB and Malaria prevention programs in most affected areas.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross has submitted an application to become a member of the country coordination mechanism. The national director of health is actively preparing a few project proposals on training of peer educators and counsellors on STD and HIV/AIDS, which will be submitted at the next round of proposals to the global fund. The ICRC health expertise is also being consulted in the development of concept papers and in the finalization of project proposals.

Objective 7: To build a viable self-sustainable organizational structure to scale up First Aid training and services at the District and Divisional levels with a system of appraisal to retain trained volunteers within the National Society.

With the funding support from the Korean National Red Cross, the implementation of the self sustainable community based First Aid training and services system for Sri Lanka commenced in September 2002, seeking to establish organizational structures at the branch and divisional levels and by thus enhancing the capacity of the district branches, motivating and activating the volunteer base therein and leading to a certain degree of self sustenance by income generation.

During the period of July to November, a total number of 1,351 (620 male and 731 female) people from industrial institutions undertook one to two day First Aid training courses, while 74 (36 male and 38 female) took one day individual First Aid training course. The Sri Lanka Red Cross' income from First Aid reached its yearly target at the end of November.

Meanwhile, to follow up the MoU on the First Aid between the Federation and UNHCR signed on 21 October, the Sri Lanka Red Cross has initiated local contacts with the representation of UNHCR in Sri Lanka.

Objective 8: To meet the urgent requirements of First Aid training equipment in district branches and to enable to provide First Aid services rendered at religious festivals in the districts

With the funding support from the Finnish Red Cross , procurement of First Aid training equipment to meet the urgent requirements in the district branches are being finalized, and First Aid services have been delivered to all the major and local festivals by district branches.

Organizational Development

Objective 1: To train members, governance and management on their roles as set out in the new Constitution

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Annual General Assembly was successfully held on 13 July and it elected the first new Central Governing Board (CGB) which reduced the previous number from 48 to 15 members. The new CGB, while actively being involved in policy makings, appointed the first Director General of the Society under the new Constitution on 15 November after an intensive and lengthy selection process including two step interviews with the Federation representative as an observer.

The President and the National Secretary have been invited by the Federation for a governance induction and orientation at the Secretariat in Geneva. The induction is expected to take place in early 2003.

The roles of governance and management are also to be discussed at the planned Management Development Workshop from 31 January to 3 February 2003.

Objective 2: To develop and implement a comprehensive Human Resource Development (HRD) strategy for staff and volunteers

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Manual of Human Resources Development (HRD), developed in conformity with the South Asia regional HRD manual had been compiled and was approved by the Central Governing Board on 30 July. In order to make all the Sri Lanka Red Cross staff aware of the contents of the manual, the manual has been translated into Tamil and English. In accordance with the new HRD manual, many good HR practices have been introduced in respective areas of HRD; structured interview method for the new recruitment of nine positions including three at the senior management level; induction and orientation for the recruits; review of job analysis forms; job rotations; revision of job descriptions; review and revision of salaries; introduction of health insurance schemes, etc.

The appointment of a new Human Resources Manager was approved by the Central Governing Board to further strengthen the Sri Lanka Red Cross' HRD processes to assist the Director HRD to manage the monitoring and conduct of all performance appraisal systems, develop a HR database of all staff and volunteer skills, and support training in HR at Branch level to develop HR focal points in each branch.

Objective 3: To adopt a Volunteer Policy to improve the diversity profile, recruitment, training and retention of volunteers

According to the recommendation made at the national Branch Development workshop in June, selection of National Volunteer Manager is in process. When appointed, s/he will be responsible for strengthening all the Society's volunteer recruitment, development and retention systems. The computerization of volunteer database is almost complete. Preparations for establishment of gender unit within the development department are ongoing, and the first national workshop on female empowerment is planned in early February 2003.

Objective 4: To develop leadership and strategic management skills to meet the challenges of strategic management

A national level integrated HRD workshop for 88 staff of Sri Lanka Red Cross NHQ and branches was conducted between 26-28 September to increase the awareness and competency for effective job performance. The first phase of workshop on Project Planning was organized on 9 December at the NHQ to brain -storm on the three main areas of project management; project planning, project set-up and project control. The workshop, participated by the members of the directorate and consultants as well as key governance officials, confirmed the need for a strategic planning meeting to be convened in the first quarter of 2003.

Further, an advanced Management Development workshop is planned for 31 January and 3 February 2003 for NHQ and branch senior management. The workshop aims at the establishment of a Training of Trainers programs to build management development programs and also invites participation from the governance to enhance the knowledge of governance and management roles and responsibilities. The workshop is being arranged under the Federation's Regional Organizational Development program which will enable the management development program trainer in Nepal Red Cross to facilitate the workshop and run the ToT, using in-region expertise.

Objective 5: To strengthen the Branch development program against time bound sustainability plans

The Sri Lanka Red Cross has hosted a Regional Branch Development Workshop of South Asia in Kandy on 11 to 13 December, which was participated by all the six national societies of the region and facilitated by the Regional OD delegate and the Secretary General of Nepal Red Crescent Society. The workshop shared the ideas on the minimum ideal characteristics of branches and sub-branches and discussed how to equip the branches with such characteristics.

The regional branch development workshop was immediately followed by the first national level VCA workshop of Sri Lanka Red Cross on 14 to 17 December in Mount Lavinia gathering representatives of all the 24 branches of Sri Lanka Red Cross. This workshop was facilitated by Mr. Waseem, a provincial secretary of Pakistan Red Crescent Society who had been trained at the global VCA ToT workshop in Italy, together with two Sri Lanka Red Cross facilitators trained in the earlier Regional VCA workshop in Dhaka between 2