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Project report

Food Security in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka , RUN BY: Oxfam Australia | STATUS: COMPLETED

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 50,001

Raised from 18,085 people

Program Background

It may be more than half a decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, but the twenty six year long conflict has left many open wounds. Inequality, marginalisation and discrimination remain prevalent as do low income levels and high food prices, making it hard for affected communities to survive. These communities often resort to strategies that compound their poverty such as going into debt to pay for their daily expenses.

Oxfam started working in Sri Lanka in 1982 and today, with your support, their work focuses on empowering active citizens to realise their rights, gender equality, peace building and ensuring marginalised communities can make a living and have enough food to eat.

Through their 34 local partners, Oxfam has undertaken a wide range of activities to help empower local communities in selected villages across eleven districts of Sri Lanka. This includes enhancing environmentally sustainable agricultural productivity; supporting the establishment of small scale enterprises; strengthening relationships between communities, government service providers and the private sector; enhancing women’s leadership and decision making power.

There is a lot to celebrate in this report with families increasing the amount of food they grow, the money they earn and their knowledge of their rights. With your support Oxfam and their partners have continued to work alongside the people of Sri Lanka to bring about a just future without poverty.

Key Project Outcomes

Oxfam targeted achieving three main goals to ensure improved food security and sustainable livelihood options for vulnerable men and women. The first goal was to increase food security with improved nutritional food intake. The second focused on increasing income and access to resources and increasing control over resources and decision making by targeted women. The third was to improve the standard of living through productive and essential infrastructure.

The project’s work in sustainable livelihoods and food security saw many great outcomes including:

  • Supporting the establishment of around 4,400 home gardens across all the program sites, providing technical knowledge including organic fertilizer production, water conservation, crop diversification, seed production and conservation and necessary equipment. These home gardens have contributed to reduce household expenditure on food consumption by around 15-20%.
  • Developed and linked small to medium enterprises with value chains and supported various local, national and international markets. This support was a key part of avoiding exploitation of small to medium enterprises with the goal of increasing their net income.
  • Improved food security. The nutrition levels of families Oxfam worked with was increased and produce from their home gardens and paddy fields began to yield sufficient food which ensured all members of the family got three nutritionally balanced meals per day. This was a significant achievement compared with the data gathered in 2010, when it was discovered that the target communities had very little knowledge about their daily nutritional intake and requirements.
  • 2,862 community members in targeted villages increased their income, savings and ability to fulfil their basic needs. Additionally 5516 targeted women increased their income by 30% through enterprises. Furthermore 58.6% of women community based organisation members received decision-making power and control over resources, and 40.5% of women community based organisation members have improved decision making power and control over resources.
  • The Community Coalition of Alternative Marketing Production Programme (CCAMP) helped in establishing national and regional market linkages for 1518 producers. Oxfam with World Vision and another local organisation Janathakshan also initiated the ‘Bridge Market’, a weekly market place for the local producers in the town of Batticaloa. At present 300 farmers sell their eco- friendly products through 40 vendors at the Bridge Market. Similar regional market systems have been established by CCAMP with the District Secretariat in the Kegalle District, where 30 producers sell their products to the Government officers at a weekly marketplace established within the District Secretariat Premises. See a case study on the Bridge Market below in this report.
  • After product quality improvement training provided by the National Design Centre (NDC) for the Palmyra, rush and reed, handloom and other handicraft sectors, 102 producers began supplying their products to national market outlets such as ‘Laksala’ (the country’s main Government owned market chain for handicrafts) and to other main tourist attractions. This resulted in a 300% increase in their profit margins compared to the local market prices. Oxfam also developed an online market platform to link these producers directly with urban consumers at national and international markets.
  • 9885 families have improved basic needs due to productive and essential infrastructure provided by the program. These included the construction or renovation of 1275 toilets; 342 water points; 329 drinking water wells; 147 productive infrastructure units such as dips, lifts and minor irrigation; and 67 other storage facilities and road renovations.
  • The participation of women as farmers and leaders also increased at community level, as a result of the work on women’s economic empowerment. Women farmers became undisputedly accepted within their communities and also at the district level, overcoming the stereotyping of farmers as only male and females as farm hands.

Oxfam has also been successful in engaging the Sri Lankan government to replicate food security projects to ensure sustainability for the future. Recently, Oxfam and its partners developed a number of programs with government institutions including a memorandum of understanding signed with the District Secretary of Hambantota to expand the eco friendly home gardening and paddy cultivation program in three District Secretariat divisions. Under this program, the District Secretary’s development officers were trained in eco friendly agricultural systems and they have established 160 home garden models in 44 villages within six months.

Oxfam's work in Kegalle District also influenced the Agrarian Services Department to expand eco friendly paddy cultivation with 2,000 farmers. In Ampara, Oxfam and partners trained 60 Agriculture Instructors of the Department of Agriculture, who established 35 models of System of Rice Intensification in the last Maha Season. Crop cut surveys conducted by the Department in those models show an increase of paddy harvest from 60 – 80 bushels per acre to 85 – 120 bushels. The Department of Agriculture has started to expand the program with 128 farmers in the next season using its extension services and resources. Oxfam is also supporting the Northern Province Agriculture Department in developing a 5-year plan for promoting eco friendly agriculture in the province.

Will the project continue?

Due to it's success so far the program will continue in the future.

Can I visit this project?


How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
***World Nomads UK
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
Oxfam Australia

Across 31 countries, we work in partnership with local communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Our work includes long-term development projects, responding to emergencies and campaigning for a more just world.