The Sri Lankan government has made great strides toward progressing the country’s economy after a 25-year civil war and the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. However, many rural communities are still largely unprepared in case of future natural disasters and still face overwhelming challenges towards achieving wholesome livelihoods.
Sri Lanka continues to recover from a 25-year civil war that ended in 2009, and to some extent from the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Despite enormous challenges, the Sri Lankan population has made strides to rebuild their economy and political systems.
Two years after the tsunami, Episcopal Relief & Development began a partnership with the Geneva-based Ecumenical Church Loan Fund (ECLOF) to support income generation activities in tsunami-affected and other marginalized areas. By offering micro-finance services through self-help and Savings with Education (SwE) groups, ECLOF Lanka is enabling people to build their personal savings, invest in small business endeavors and earn income to support their families and rebuild their lives. Over 95% of participants are women, who are able to gain social standing and a voice in decision-making as they contribute to household income. In 2016, 24 SwE groups were formed, and in 2017 another 30 were added. In 2018, ECLOF-Lanka will form an additional 140 savings groups with 2,800 new members – bringing the total number of groups up to 194. The 3,880 beneficiaries that form these groups will be able to apply their entrepreneurship and business trainings, as well as their savings, to achieve better livelihoods for themselves and for their families.
Episcopal Relief & Development also partners with the Anglican Diocese of Colombo on a comprehensive disaster management and preparedness strategy. Overall wellbeing and development of Sri Lankan communities have been hampered by cyclical floods, droughts and frequent landslides. The Diocese of Colombo trains staff and clergy within the diocese to create disaster preparedness plans and engage their communities in building resilience and minimizing risk. The Diocese is also working with the ecumenical National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) to train additional leaders on DRR knowledge and tools that can help communities to prepare for and respond to disasters. In 2018 NCCSL will help monitor parish level implementation of activities, including a clean water program in Anuradhaphra and an environmental project in Jaffna.
Working with the Diocese of Colombo, Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting efforts to build collaborative communities in the aftermath of decades of political conflict. Activities include training for community-led development and conflict resolution, empowering women and war-affected individuals through micro-finance and psychosocial support.
Our work with Women focuses on helping communities promote the rights of women and children and move toward the vision that everyone deserves a life free from violence in a society where they are treated with dignity and respect. Only then can communities truly heal and thrive.
Our Climate-related work focuses on how families and communities can work together to adapt to the effects of rapidly changing weather patterns. This work includes preparing for and recovering from climate-influenced events such as floods, hurricanes and other disasters.
Planning ahead for disasters can go far in minimizing their potential impact – especially for people already facing poverty, who may lose their few assets or safety nets. To this end, Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal/Anglican Church to better prepare for and respond to disasters. Read more about Disaster Risk Reduction.Read more about Disaster Risk Reduction
Our micro-finance programs emphasize involving both women and men, which can be very effective in promoting gender awareness and empowering women. When women become breadwinners, they increase their role in household decision-making, which often enhances the whole family’s well-being. Read more about Micro-finance.Read more about Micro-finance
Gender equality, women’s empowerment and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response are cross-cutting themes that shape and inform all of Episcopal Relief & Development’s integrated programs worldwide. In order to sustainably and equitably address hunger, poverty, disease and post-disaster relief and recovery, local attitudes and customs around gender, power and gender-based violence must also be taken into account.Read more about Gender Equality & GBV