Sri Lanka

2002 - 2007

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN SRI LANKA

USAID/OTI’s Sri Lanka Transition Initiative (SLTI) program was launched in February 2003 following the historic signing of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with the goal of ending more than 20 years of civil war in Sri Lanka. In December 2004, Sri Lanka’s Eastern and Southern shores were struck by a tsunami that began off the coast of Sumatra following an earthquake. USAID/OTI made an effort to provide tsunami relief and rehabilitation while retaining its emphasis on building support for peace.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN SRI LANKA

USAID/OTI’s primary objective for SLTI was to generate greater support at the local level for a negotiated peace settlement to end the longstanding internal conflict. USAID/OTI sought to achieve this by:

  • Demonstrating the benefits of peace through local community infrastructure and livelihood support projects;
  • Informing citizens about the peace process and building attitudinal support for it; and
  • Bringing diverse groups together to work for the common good.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • USAID/OTI supported exchange programs for diverse groups, peace and conflict management training workshops, cultural events and national festivals to promote peacebuilding and conflict management.
  • USAID/OTI supported 24 half-hour radio programs for broadcast on the state’s national radio channel to give voice to rural communities in the central hill country area. Additionally, USAID/OTI supported the expansion of a Colombo-based radio station, popular among the Sri Lankan diaspora, to interview people from the regions whose voices are not usually heard – including Batticaloa residents affected by the tsunami, for example, as well as children who were abandoned or disabled, and refugees living in Puttalam.

2009 - 2014

The video captures Tamil, Sinhalese, and Muslims coming together to compete in traditional games to help with reconciliation.

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN SRI LANKA

The end of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war in 2009 brought opportunities for the government and people of Sri Lanka to support the return of displaced populations, the rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected regions and the reconciliation of Sri Lanka’s diverse Sinhala and Tamil communities. In support of these efforts, the Reintegration and Stabilization in the East and North (RISEN) program, managed by USAID/OTI, began in 2009 with a focus on supporting recovery in heavily conflict affected communities in the Eastern and Northern Provinces. The last few months of the USAID/OTI program focused exclusively in the north.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN SRI LANKA

USAID/OTI’s goal in Sri Lanka was to develop confident, resilient communities able to address issues non-violently. Specifically, the program aimed to:

  • Increase civic engagement of conflict-affected communities with the rest of Sri Lankan society, including government institutions;
  • Foster social cohesion to increase participation, community reintegration and economic viability in the Eastern and Northern Provinces; and
  • Prepare communities, partners and change agents to continue their work beyond RISEN’s departure.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • RISEN worked to expand economic opportunities to give conflict-affected, marginalized populations a greater stake in a peaceful future; improved relationships between community and local government through enhanced public service delivery, greater accountability and opportunities for public engagement; and reduced social inequalities, isolation and other lingering conflict-produced challenges that had hindered the recovery and reintegration of communities affected by the war.
  • RISEN also strengthened advocacy capacities and fostered new networks of individuals, communities and organizations; improved citizen understanding of civic rights and responsibilities; enhanced access to formal political and/or legal processes; and improved access to justice for victims of sexual violence.
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Last updated: April 06, 2018

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