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History

Since 1956, U.S.-supported programs have invested in Sri Lanka, working in sectors such as agriculture, environment and natural resources, health, education, business development and trade, good governance, and humanitarian assistance .

In times of man-made and natural disasters, USAID has played a lead role in providing humanitarian assistance. During the past decades, USAID has mobilized emergency aid for recovery, reconstruction and rebuilding after the 2004 tsunami; the end of conflict in 2009; and the floods that have been occurring every year since 2010. USAID works with the people of Sri Lanka to strengthen democratic governance, social cohesion and sustained and inclusive economic growth.

The partnership has posted numerous and widely varied achievements through the years. A few highlights:

  • School and Maternal Feeding Programs in the 1950s: efforts to provide school age children with a nutritious biscuit on 180 school days every year and address maternal nutrition deficiencies. This nutritional supplement - Triposha - is still in use and is considered one of the most successful Food for Peace programs worldwide.
     
  • In the late 1950s, USAID provided diesel power coaches modernizing Ceylon’s railway transport facilities. Diesel-powered coaches were more efficient than the coal-burning engines previously used, and a substantial saving of one rupee per train mile was achieved.  As a result, in 1958, the railroads were able to accommodate 36,000 daily commuters.
     
  • From 1950s-80s, by providing equipment, insecticides, research, pilot testing assistance, and training for staff, USAID helped to control and eradicate malaria. Sri Lanka was declared malaria free in September 2016.
     
  • From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, USAID supported the country’s largest river-basin development program including irrigation, on-farm water management, enterprise and environment development, reforestration, and agriculture and rural development.
     
  • From the late 1980s to the 1990s, USAID provided training and equipment to upgrade and modernize the Colombo Stock Exchange to an international level and which has received international attention. USAID was also a major catalyst for establishing the Security Exchange Commission.
     
  • Approximately one in 20 Sri Lankans has received USAID assistance to meet basic needs after conflict and natural disasters.
    USAID provided $135 million to support the Tsunami Reconstruction Program, financing  reconstruction of the Arugam Bay Bridge.
    Upgraded fishing harbors to improve the livelihoods of over 15,000 families in Southern Sri Lanka and boost the nation’s fishing industry.
    Constructed new vocational education schools in Eastern and Southern Sri Lanka
     
  • USAID catalyzed the expansion of private sector investment in Sri Lanka’s former conflict zones and economically lagging regions. Since 2007, these Public Private Alliances have leveraged more than $35 million from the private sector and created more than 50,000 income-generating opportunities.
     
  • USAID made a lasting impact through a locally manufactured prosthetic rubber foot model. This helped Sri Lanka, which has one of the highest rates of amputees due to its 26-year conflict, to address the shortage of affordable and high-quality products for rehabilitation services. The USAID-supported rubber foot model is designed and tested to cater to local needs and climatic conditions.  The USAID-supported facility provides thousands of prosthetics daily to government, private, and non-governmental facilities across the country.

Last updated: March 07, 2018

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