USAID/Sri Lanka Newsletter - August 2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dear Reader,

This is an overview of some of the most significant milestones the American people have supported through USAID in Sri Lanka, during the second quarter of 2018. We hope that these demonstrate the diversity and the scope of USAID-supported activities in Sri Lanka and recognize stakeholder efforts that made all this possible.

U.S. and Sri Lankan Governments Discuss Disaster Preparedness 

U.S. and Sri Lankan Governments discuss disaster preparedness
U.S. and Sri Lankan Governments discuss disaster preparedness
USAID Sri Lanka

The outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman, and USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) Regional Advisor met with Sri Lanka’s Minister of Irrigation, Water Resources Management, and Disaster Management to discuss the country’s preparedness ahead of the monsoon season.As part of the ongoing support to disaster preparedness, in April, USAID OFDA also supported a delegation from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to travel to Sri Lanka to discuss landslide hazards and risk reduction. Read More

USAID and the National Peace Council Develop a Pluralism Charter

In April, the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka (NPC), as part of USAID’s Religions to Reconcile project, developed a Pluralism Charter to be presented to the Government of Sri Lanka. The meeting convened 65 representatives from eight district inter-religious committees from across the country and their sub-groups (representing women, youth, media, persons with disabilities, and community leaders). These representatives worked with NPC facilitators on a Charter, which will articulate the importance of diversity and inclusion as core values for Sri Lanka.  The next step will be a symposium in October to present it to the government.

Local Communities Clean Oceans to Celebrate World Ocean Day

Celebrating World Ocean Day with a beach clean up
Celebrating World Ocean Day with a beach clean up
USAID MWRP

To celebrate World Ocean Day on June 08, USAID-funded Municipal Waste Recycling Project helped to mobilize more than 500 young volunteers to clean up the beach park area in the city of Negombo in Sri Lanka’s western province. To help raise awareness about plastics pollution in the marine environment, the implementing partner of the project, Janathakshan also prepared banners and a “Youth Pledge Wall” for attendees to state their individual commitment to protecting the marine environment from waste.  This was part of a celebration coordinated by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and focused on the launch of the EU-funded Sanitation and Hygiene Initiative for Towns (SHIFT) project in Sri Lanka implemented by AFD.

Finally a Home of Their Own for Communities Affected by Flood and Landslides

Thanks to USAID OFDA flood and landslide affected populations receive houses
Thanks to USAID OFDA flood and landslide affected populations receive houses
IOM

In April 2018, USAID OFDA supported the International Organization for Migration to hand over more than 120 transitional homes for families who lost their homes in the previous year’s floods and landslides in Ratnapura. In addition to shelters, USAID support built a community hall and drinking water facilities, benefitting nearly 500 individuals, including 194 children. This was part USAID’s response to the landslides and floods which displaced more than 630,000 people and damaged 9000 houses in 15 districts in May 2017. USAID provided US$ 800,000 to support transitional shelters, non-food items, and shelter kits for 5700 families in districts severely affected by the disaster.

Youth Empowerment

USAID Project Trains Bank Managers to Encourage Lending to Youth Entrepreneurs

To encourage more lending to youth entrepreneurs, USAID’s YouLead project held a two-day training in April for Sampath Bank branch managers and credit officers responsible for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise lending. It also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Careerme to work collaboratively on the future of digital career guidance in Sri Lanka. Read More

Female Lawyers in Central Sri Lanka Meet to Network and Discuss Challenges

Finding pathways to leadership for Sri Lankan female lawyers
Finding pathways to leadership for Sri Lankan female lawyers
USAID CORE Justice

Building on the success of the first discussion in Colombo in March 2018, a “Pathways to Leadership” workshop was held in Kandy, in Central Sri Lanka, with more than one hundred participants, including forty law students. This program is supported by USAID’s CORE Justice project and is part of a series of facilitated panel discussions for women in the legal profession to share experiences and information; discuss challenges and solutions; and serve as a platform for advocacy on women taking on greater and more varied leadership roles within the legal profession. Panelists included women lawyers with decades of experience, instructing attorneys, civil and criminal lawyers, and an unofficial Magistrate. The panelists shared their personal stories and experiences and spoke about practical ways to overcome challenges and barriers for women in the legal profession.  

USAID Provides Further Support to Strengthen the Psychosocial Sector in Sri Lanka

Providing further support to the decade-long partnership with the Asia Foundation to strengthen psychosocial support in Sri Lanka, USAID helped the Ministries of Social Empowerment, Welfare, and Kandyan Heritage and Women and Child Affairs to launch websites for better counseling practices and services in April.  These user-friendly and easily accessible websites will have information readily available on current methods and useful approaches for healing, holistic care, and psychosocial wellbeing and will also act as platforms to engage the public in discussions related to psychosocial wellbeing and health.

USAID Supports Government of Sri Lanka to Communicate Reforms to the Public

In May, the USAID Supporting Accelerated Investment in Sri Lanka (SAIL) project assisted the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade to finalize the Ministry’s first electronic newsletter. This is part of a comprehensive communications strategy USAID has developed for the Ministry to better communicate reforms to the public. The new strategy relies on a full range of communication tools including fact sheets, brochures, media releases, annual reports, and a dedicated website. USAID’s SAIL supports the government’s economic reforms, that aim to improve the business enabling environment, specifically, the policies that affect foreign direct investment.

USAID Small Business Partners Learn to Implement Expansion Plans and to Grow their Businesses

In May 2018, 20 managers and enterprise owners of USAID Biz+-supported small and medium sized businesses participated in the first of a series of management development trainings especially designed to support small and medium businesses.  BIZ+ is delivering monthly practical workshops that provide the tools business managers need to successfully implement expansion plans, create sustainable jobs, and drive improvements in the relevant supply chains. Each business is also supported by a business coach to guide implementation and reinforce learning. These managers and owners departed with clear goals for the next two years and action plans to define and reach their market.

Sri Lanka's Court Family Counselors Receive First-Ever Formal Training

Family counselors taking part during interactive exercises in Sri Lanka
Family counselors taking part during interactive exercises in Sri Lanka
USAID CORE Justice

USAID's Coherent, Open, Responsive, Effective Justice (CORE Justice) project partnered with Sri Lanka's Judicial Service Commission and the Non Judicial Officers' Training Institute to provide 73 court-based family counselors with knowledge, skills, and techniques in family counseling during three-day courses held in April, May, and June 2018. Read More

USAID Supports Curriculum Development Workshop for the Attorney General’s Department Senior Officials

The curriculum development workshops in session
The curriculum development workshops in session
USAID CORE J

In April 2018, CORE Justice conducted a curriculum development workshop for senior Attorney General Department (AGD) leadership, representing both civil and criminal divisions,  including the Solicitor General and Senior Additional Solicitor General. This resulted from a key recommendation made in the AGD’s training needs assessment to help develop a comprehensive introductory training program for the new state counsels expected to join the Department this year. Read More

From the Field

Promoting Voting Rights for Persons with Disabilities

Promoting voting rights for persons with disabilities
Promoting voting rights for persons with disabilities
IFES

In February 2018, Sri Lanka held local government elections to elect over 8,000 representatives responsible for key activities that directly impact the day-to-day lives of citizens from maintaining roads to ensuring funding for health services in their communities.  While Sri Lanka’s constitution guarantees the right to universal franchise, groups – such as persons with disabilities – often face barriers in accessing the electoral process. To address this issue, with support from USAID, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) worked with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka (EC) and civil society partners to conduct targeted voter education initiatives for voters with disabilities ahead of the local government elections. Read More

Last updated: August 29, 2018

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