We are looking for Commonwealth citizens to share their views ahead of the 2024 Heads of Government Meeting. Sign up to take part

Location: Sri Lanka

Improving the implementation of climate change and disaster risk reduction plan

Issue

Adverse effects of climate change in South Asia threaten the livelihoods of individuals.  Sustainable and green solutions are needed to mitigate disasters in the region with the help of those at the grassroots.

Project

Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), in cooperation with 149 local partners Janathakshan in Sri Lanka and Poorvanchal Gramin Vikas Sansathan (PGVS) in India, is supporting the domestication of the international climate change plans so they tangibly benefit local communities in Sri Lanka and India.

The project is focusing its intervention on four development sectors: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Education, Nutrition and Health across India and Sri Lanka in the regions of Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha in India and the provinces of Western, Eastern and North Western Sri Lanka. CANSA is undertaking a careful analysis of government plans at the sub-national level to determine the extent in which climate resilient action is included, before building the capacity of local government and civil society organisations to access funds, collaborating to design and implement recommendations and gather and disseminate good practices to promote replication by other states and provinces.

By the end of the project sub-national level governments in target states and provinces will have developed plans and interventions that can better contribute to localising international commitments to fight climate change.

Climate Action Network South Asia

Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), in cooperation with 149 local partners Janathakshan in Sri Lanka and Poorvanchal Gramin Vikas Sansathan (PGVS) in India, is supporting the domestication of the international climate change plans so they tangibly benefit local communities in Sri Lanka and India. It works towards linking policy, research and action based work in the region to address the adverse effects of climate change on the region. The network has been working with its members to convert international decisions into actions at national and sub-national level. As the only network on climate change in the region, CANSA has been working to promote the voices of CSOs from South Asia in regional and global forums, including at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Janathakshan

Janathakshan seeks to promote sustainable and green solutions in development to Sri Lanka and beyond. Its main areas of focus include sustainable energy, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The organisation works at grassroots level on policy advocacy around climate change issues. It has been following up and engaging in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change processes.

Poorvanchal Gramin Vikas Sansathan

PGVS has been working in India since 1987 on development and humanitarian response. Its main areas of work are disaster preparedness and risk reduction and emergency action in disaster situations. PGVS seeks to mobilise local communities to engage critical thinking and action for developmental issues.

Promoting effective implementation of the right to information act

Issue

Promoting civic-state engagement is essential to support effective implementation of the Right to Information Act in Sri Lanka.

Project

Transparency International Sri Lanka is increasing public awareness on the use and applicability of Right to information (RTI) and facilitating discussions between civil society and the regulatory bodies around RTI issues.

Working at both a regional and national level, Transparency International Sri Lanka is building the capacity of civil society organizations to use the recently passed Right to Information Act.

The project is forming thematic coalitions of civil society organisations (CSOs) on issues related to Health, Education, Transport, Water and Sanitation, and Public Administration, based in Colombo, Matara, Ampara, Trincomalee and Jaffna districtsacross Sri Lanka. These networks are presenting issues and solutions that surround the implementation of the act in special consultations with relevant ministries.

Transparency International Sri Lanka are is also raising awareness of the Act and public understanding of RTI pleas among small communities, using print and other media campaigns. In addition, the project is supporting RTI officers to ensure they are equipped to respond to demand.

The project is working to effectively secure civil society’s role as a ‘knowledge center’ on RTI, to ensure that citizens across the 5 districts can benefit from this legislature.

Endorsed project title: Promoting civic-state engagement to support effective implementation of the Right to Information Act in Sri Lanka

Transparency International, Sri Lanka

TISL is a national chapter of the global movement against corruption, and is committed to the promotion of good governance and eradication of corruption in Sri Lanka. TISL is the only organization exclusively working on anti-corruption, integrity and transparency related issues in Sri Lanka. Through a multi-sectoral approach, TISL engages with diverse stakeholders in the private and public sectors as well as the citizenry. www.tisrilanka.org

Enhancing participatory governance

Issue

Stronger systems of participatory governance between the local community, civil society and government institutions are essential to promote participatory and responsive governance.

Project

Eastern Social Development Foundation (ESDF) are enhancing participatory governance in Sri Lanka by strengthening citizen engagement with government institutions.

The project will build the capacities of community based organisations (CBOs) in the Batticaloa District in East Sri Lanka so that they can work with their local government institutions to promote participatory and responsive governance. CBOs will strengthen their institutional structures and policies to better manage their organisations, understand the prevailing issues, and work together with service providers and government functionaries to identify solutions to community needs. This will include advocating for improved services and structural changes to rural communities, such as increased representation of women in local government committees.

By the end of the project, it is expected that stronger systems of participatory governance will have developed between the local community, civil society and government institutions.

Eastern Social Development Foundation

Eastern Social Development Foundation (ESDF) is a community based organisation located in the eastern part of Sri Lanka. They have been working with communities and government institutions to defend human rights, promote equality, good governance since 2008. ESDF is the main project implementer and is responsible for overall management of the project.

Partner organisation

Organisations Council for Peace and Co-existence (OCPC), Sri Lanka is a council made up of 19 civil society organisations in Batticaloa District. They have experience of working with government institutions especially at the local level and have previously worked with ESDF on strengthening civil society participation in governance. They have previously executed a project with funding support from USAID on promoting transparency and accountability in local government with the participation of CBOs which resulted in increased women’s participation in the activities of local authorities.

 

Ensuring health and safety for workers in garment industries

Issue

The garment industry plays a key role in the economies of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and there is a need to recognise increased working standards for female workers.

Project

War on Want are improving working conditions in the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka garment industries by strengthening occupational safety and health standards

Through raising awareness of OSH issues, female workers’ rights and related policy processes, garment workers – and the organisations representing them – will be able to jointly advocate for better working standards. This will include setting up a platform for regular dialogue between government representatives, garment retailers and trade unions to improve standards.

By the end of the project, garment workers would have obtained the skills and experience to continue collectively engaging in problem solving with factory owners.

War on Want, UK

War on Want has over 60 years of experience in promoting workers’ rights. The organisation works in direct partnership with grassroots organisations in several countries to address issues of poverty and inequality. It has worked in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with partner organisations to promote workers’ rights for over ten years. Following the collapse of Rana Plaza, the organisation has developed a campaign entitled “Never again: making fashion’s factories safe” which resulted in the signature of a legally-binding agreement “Bangladesh Safety Accord” by over 150 biggest clothes companies to help prevent such disasters in the future.

www.waronwant.org

Follow @WarOnWant on Twitter

Like War on Want on Facebook

Subscribe to War on Want on YouTube

Partner organisations

The National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) is one of Bangladesh biggest garment workers unions, representing over 45,000 workers. The vast majority of its members are young, female garment workers. The NGWF is a founding member of the Bangladesh Garment Workers Unity Council, an umbrella organisation of 21 garment worker federations. It is also a member of the arbitration committee, a body that negotiates labour law and cases of workers’ rights violations through dialogue between trade unions, government and factory owners. NGWF was involved in a successful campaign to introduce a new minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh, which was approved in 2010.

Free Trade Zone & General Service Employees Union (FTZ&GSEU) is the largest trade union in Sri Lanka, with 16,000 members. The FTZ&GSEU focuses on supporting female workers, who are more vulnerable to labour rights abuses. FTZ&GSEU has a long track record of actively and successfully engaging with government as well as with companies. The organisation has been a member trade union of the National Labour Advisory Committee since 2007. The Committee was established to provide for consultation and co-operation between the government, organisations of workers and employers on social and labour policies and international labour standards. It is chaired by the Minister of Labour.

 

Promoting community solutions in upgrading urban settlements

Issue

The Sri Lankan capital of Colombo is growing – and it is growing fast. The pace at which the city’s population is rising – due to both migration and birth rates – has outstripped its capacity to build sufficient housing provisions, leading to a rapid increase in informal settlements, with poor living conditions and unstable or non-existent community structures.
Reall is leading a project that will focus on 40 low income settlements in Colombo, and look at how the people themselves can contribute to improving the environments in which they live. The project will set up community development councils (CDCs) – a group of office bearers elected by households in the community – to act as representative bodies who will help the communities to work with governmental bodies and drive structured development of sanitation, water and other vital infrastructure.

Settlement upgrades in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Project

Reall (formerly Homeless International) is setting up community development councils to give the people of Colombo the knowledge, the skills and the voice to help them transform the conditions and services in the settlements in which they live. Through participatory decision-making and community empowerment, the project will give the people of Colombo the knowledge, the skills and the voice to help them transform the conditions and services in these settlements.

Jenny Hyde, the International Programmes Officer at Reall, explained, “By replicating tested approaches from other communities, the project will mobilise communities into CSOs, develop their capacity to initiate basic service delivery within their communities and facilitate working partnerships with government, leading to improved housing and basic services in targeted communities. Using a community-driven approach to design and deliver infrastructure promotes a strong sense of ownership, which in turn will ensure long-term maintenance of the facilities.”

The project is being implemented by Reall’s long-term partner in Sri Lanka, Sevanatha Urban Resource Centre, in association with the Sri Lanka Women’s Coop. The Colombo Municipal Council is the lead government partner on the project and has committed to provide funding towards infrastructure improvement projects.

Reall

Formerly known as Homeless International, Reall – or Real Equity for All – is a social enterprise that is dedicated to alleviating housing conditions in informal settlements across the developing world.

In 1989 Homeless International was born out of the social housing community in the UK and has developed a unique approach to tackle the problem of slums. They now help slum dwellers by supporting the development of partner organisations in Africa and Asia, which have their roots in poor communities.

reall.xyz

Follow @reall_int on Twitter

 

Promoting community-led governance solutions

Issue

Engagement of people in local government is recognised as vitally important to ensure transparency and accountability.

Project

Sarvodaya are increasing opportunities for people to engage in local governance in Sri Lanka.

With the support of a Commonwealth Foundation grant, Sarvodaya will work with 20 existing civil society organisations across the country, helping them to improve their understanding of local governance, advocacy and monitoring methods. Community monitoring teams will be formed to monitor local government for improved transparency and accountability.

The project will increase opportunities for dialogue between community members and elected representatives of local government authorities through citizen juries. Networking and sharing good practice will be encouraged, and in-kind grants will be given to fund small-scale community projects improving local governance. The project hopes to build on internationally accepted values of participation, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability which it hopes will result in community-led solutions to promote good governance. This project builds on previous work carried out by Sarvodaya to train community monitoring teams.

Sarvodaya has created a membership fund of R10m together with a national volunteer base of approximately 10,000 members contributing to the strength of the project. It has a strong track record of delivering this type of work and has used the learning from other initiatives to develop this project.

 

Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya

Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya is Sri Lanka’s largest people’s organisation with 34 district offices and a strong volunteer base.

Starting out as a movement developed around a set of philosophical principles drawn from Buddhist and Gandhian thought, over the last 50 years it has become a network of over 15,000 villages. It has worked on women’s empowerment, conflict mediation and good governance, and is engaged in relief efforts in the north of the country as well as ongoing development projects. Sarvodaya started the country’s largest micro-credit organisation with a loan portfolio of over US$1million and runs a welfare service helping over 1,000 orphaned and destitute children, underage mothers and the elderly.

www.sarvodaya.org

Follow @sarvodayalanka on Twitter

Follow /SarvodayaSriLanka on Facebook