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Promoting community solutions in upgrading urban settlements

  • Amount funded: £89,834
  • Year: 2014
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Locations: Sri Lanka
  • Grant stream: Open grants call

The pace of urbanisation in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, has outstripped the rate of housing construction, leading to a rapid increase in informal settlements and poor living conditions.

Project partners
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How we are helping

Supporting REALL's project to set up community development councils (CDCs) to act as representative bodies through which communities work with local authorities to drive structured development of sanitation, water and other vital infrastructure.

About the project

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.

Settlement upgrades in Colombo, Sri Lanka

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.

Project Partners

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.

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