Located off the southeastern tip of India, Sri Lanka is roughly the size of West Virginia with a population of more than 20 million. The United States has worked with Sri Lanka since 1956 to help communities across the country improve their lives and livelihoods. In recent years, Sri Lanka has experienced steady economic growth, achieving middle-income status in 2010 and a gross domestic product growth rate of more than 7 percent in 2014. The island is characterized by high literacy, long life expectancy, and low infant and maternal mortality.
Despite this progress, significant disparities in income and access to basic services persist across the country. After the resettlement of more than 300,000 people, the country’s progress is now hindered by post-conflict issues, including gender-based violence, child abuse and hardships affecting youth, war widows, ex-combatants and female heads of households.
In 2015, through the election of a new president and parliament, Sri Lankans reaffirmed their desire for a sweeping reform agenda that limits presidential powers, ensures greater freedom of expression, addresses corruption and begins the process of reconciliation. Against this backdrop, USAID partners to address issues facing communities affected by conflict, support good governance and the implementation of democratic reforms, and promote greater economic growth.
More than 50,000 disabled Sri Lankans have benefitted from USAID programs in the last four years.
USAID partnered with the private sector to catalyze investments and generate better incomes for more than 30,000 vulnerable people in the former conflict zones.
- During 2013 and 2014, USAID provided legal aid and victims’ assistance to 25,000 Sri Lankans in marginalized communities.
USAID supports the provision of a variety of services in conflict and disaster-affected communities including transitional shelter, clean water, sanitation facilities, psychosocial support, rehabilitation services for people with disabilities, skills training for youth, reintegration of ex-combatants, rehabilitation of livelihoods, and employment opportunities for war widows and female heads of households. Through these services, USAID supports reconciliation efforts at both the household and community levels.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
USAID programming strengthens the rule of law, builds a robust civil society and promotes reconciliation — all of which are prerequisites for long-term stability and prosperity. USAID programs also provide technical assistance to key democratic institutions, including to the Sri Lankan Parliament to improve legislative processes and practices and to the Election Commission to ensure continued free and fair elections.
Economic Growth and Trade
To encourage much-needed economic growth and promote financial stability, especially in economically lagging regions, USAID forges partnerships with small- and medium-sized businesses; improves agricultural, dairy and poultry sectors; promotes healthy food options; and links local producers to income-generating markets.
Last updated: March 17, 2016