EDM Global projects in Sri Lanka are:
– Kadadkaraichenai and Kumpurupity: Improved water and sanitation facilities
– Dalukaana: Water and sanitation project
– Empowering communities through water
– Empowering communities through water – Year 2
Focus on the water and sanitation project in Dalukana
What is the problem?
The 26 year long war in Sri Lanka has resulted in many problems for communities located in the northern and eastern districts of the country. Because of the repeated displacement of communities, a lack of livelihood opportunities, scarce community infrastructure and limited public service provisions, development has progressed slowly in these districts.
Following the end of the war in 2009, considerable investment has been made into recovery efforts. However, there are still considerable numbers of people lacking adequate access to water and sanitation. Also, investment has been directed at large scale projects, often neglecting the more critical needs at the community level.
Who is affected?
The lack of water and sanitation facilities in the villages of Dalukana and Namalpokuna are affecting all people within the community, both Sinhalese and Tamil. Women within the community are particularly affected by the issues caused by the lack of adequate sanitation facilities.
How are these people affected?
Given the lack of sanitation facilities and the limited water resources, community members have not been carrying out good sanitation and hygiene practices. Many community members practice open defecation, which has had negative effects on the local environment and contributed to outbreaks of waterborne diseases.
Women are particularly affected because of the risk of sexual violence that is present when defecating in the jungle.
What is EDM doing to help?
Working with the local community and in partnership with Seemasahitha Namal Maliyadewa Gamaneguma Janatha Samagama, a local community based organization (CBO), the EDM project installed sanitation facilities in 45 households. A piped water network was also created, connecting 145 households to a metered water network.
To ensure that the newly constructed facilities continue functioning long into the future, maintenance training sessions were held for local community members. Hygiene promotion sessions were also held for members of 190 households.
The project has also trained local community leaders to educate others about correct hygiene behaviour, ensuring that the message continues to be passed on now that the project is complete.
What impact has EDM had?
As a result of the construction of a sanitation facility and the hygiene training sessions, community members are no longer defecating in the forest. As women have safe household toilets, they no longer face the risk of sexual attack.
Mobilizing community members to contribute to the project helped save resources, resulting in ten more toilets than originally planned being constructed.
What future impacts are expected?
The piped water network, combined with the sanitation training and construction of the toilets, will reduce the occurrence of waterborne diseases. This will likely affect the prospects of everyone within the community. The reduction in days lost because of waterborne disease will give the local population more free time and time in which to earn money. Children, who face some of the greatest risk from waterborne diseases, will live healthier lives, giving them an opportunity to prosper.
What problems has the project faced?
Poor weather conditions slowed the progress of construction activities, particularly in the low lying sites in the project area.
Also, finding technically competent project partners was challenging given the limited number of organizations capable of carrying out water and sanitation projects in the local district. These challenges, combined with the long government procedures related to these kinds of projects, caused delays in project implementation.
What has UNDP contributed to the project?
The UNDP was the main implementing agency for this project. It oversaw the planning, construction and hand over of all activities.
What has Coca-Cola contributed to the project?
Coca-Cola provided funding for the small scale project, giving EDM the opportunity to demonstrate that small scale water and sanitation projects can be successful and can complement other much larger projects.
How can the project be replicated?
As the project was run in partnership with the local community, local government and local CBO’s, it has given each of them an improved understanding of how they can work together. Developing this relationship and building on the trust and understanding created through the EDM project means that each partner should be able to initiate similar projects in other areas.
Within Sri Lanka, there is still much progress to be made now that the civil war has ended. The EDM project could be replicated in many areas of the country where communities are still addressing the problems of a lack of water and sanitation.