USAID/OTI recognized the opportunity to foster greater understanding between the Sinhala and Tamil communities, while also meeting a crucial community need for safe water. In partnership with a local nongovernmental organization, the Sewalanka Foundation, the Office of Transition Initiatives agreed to support reconstruction of a gravity water system. Altogether, five storage tanks were constructed and seven kilometers of piping were laid.
As a result of this project, all families in the area now have access to plentiful clean water. Before the project, there was little interaction between the Sinhala and Tamil communities; but during implementation of the project, both communities came together to reconstruct the system and further extend water delivery to reach Tamil households. More than 100 volunteers worked on the project from both communities. Nine months after completion of the project, both groups continue to effectively co-manage the system and have raised more than $2,000 in water revenue. This money is enough to cover maintenance of the system and also has been used to contribute to other local priorities.
For further information, please contact:
In Washington, D.C.: Rachel Wax, Asia and Near East Program Manager, 202-712-1243, firstname.lastname@example.org