The Sri Lanka Food Security and Livelihoods Program aims to improve food security and strengthen livelihoods of poor and marginalised women and men in Sri Lanka through promotion of environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and support for the establishment of small scale group enterprises. The project takes place in Anaradhurapura, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Kegalle, Nuraweliya, Hambantota, Polonnaruwa districts of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is slowly rebuilding after a 25-year civil war and the devastating 2004 tsunami. Yet recovery is precarious. In January 2011, flash floods affected more than 1 million people and displaced 33,000 families. Communities who were finally rebuilding after the war and tsunami have once again been faced with crisis.
But it’s not all bad news. We’ve been working in Sri Lanka for more than 30 years to build peace, reduce poverty and stand up for class and caste equality. A large part of our work supports women and their families to access basic rights like food, water, sanitation and housing, and to develop viable livelihoods.
Can I visit this project?
Yes, you can. The winners of World Nomads Passport & Plate: Sri Lanka program will be going to visit the communities in which this project operates to learn firsthand about the difference travellers can make. Are you an adventurous foodie who is hungry for change? Apply now!
Issues that Sri Lanka faces
In the post war context, many families have had to re-establish their homes and livelihoods from scratch. The majority of households in the war-affected eastern provinces and northern parts of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts have very limited access to any form of sustainable livelihood. Access to basic essentials such as reliable water supply and sanitation facilities are barriers to food security and development of sustainable livelihoods; water collection absorbs a lot of time that people could otherwise spend on productive or income-generating activities.
Low income levels and high food prices have led to weak purchasing power and negative coping strategies, such as entering into debt to fund daily expenses. Major development projects have failed to benefit marginalised communities. Plantation workers, manual labourers and settlement farmers are particularly vulnerable and tend to be excluded from the benefits of economic development and social safety nets. Access to income generation is particularly difficult for the large number of female headed households as they face significant barriers to their participation in markets and derive little benefit from development processes.
About Oxfam’s Food Security Program
Oxfam Australia works with local communities to enhance productivity and support the establishment of small scale enterprises. Food security will be improved through the promotion of integrated, diversified and environmentally friendly agriculture including home gardens and small scale, high yielding System of Rice Intensification (SRI) applications. So as to reduce the risks in case of future natural disasters the program will promote organic farming with integrated water and soil conservation methods that support adaptation to changing climatic conditions and strengthen resilience to seasonal food shortages. Given the poor living conditions experienced by some people, we will also work to improve water and sanitation facilities to raise basic standards of living in those communities where there is a need.
Sustainability is embedded in the program approach. Through program activities, individuals and groups at the community level will develop their leadership skills, knowledge, networks and assets. Women will have greater control over their lives, more decision making power and will emerge as empowered leaders and role models within their communities. The program will promote inter-ethnic understanding among different community groups and also create links between community organisations across the country in order to share information.
What we can achieve
To ensure food security and sustainable livelihoods for 8,000 very poor families, Oxfam will continue supporting 13 partner organisations in seven districts through training and provision of agricultural resources and seed funding. The program will establish a regional network of 65 trainers (70% women) and three resource centres featuring model farms, training facilities and audio visual resources. They will receive training on eco-friendly home gardening techniques, natural pest and disease management techniques, integrated vegetable and fruit farming techniques with animal husbandry, and low external input paddy farming techniques like System of Rice Intensification (SRI).
Promotion of an alternative national community marketing network (CCAMPP) will enable 1,000 small scale producers across six of the seven districts to secure fair prices for their goods. 30 men and 270 women in 22 small scale enterprises will be further supported to develop their technical capacity and increase their access to markets. A further 12 new enterprise groups will be established. This will benefit another 120 of the most vulnerable men and women through asset creation, financing and capacity development. Provision of up to 30 collective, productive assets (such as market stalls, irrigation systems and storage facilities), managed by women-led committees, will further enhance their ability to increase incomes.
Ongoing support will also be provided to enable small rural entrepreneurs and farmers to gain better access to government services. This will be realised through support to 13 local partners and a range of relevant networks in skills development for representation, information sharing, research and network building.
Construction and rehabilitation of essential community infrastructure will include construction of eight communal wells, providing 320 beneficiaries (50% women) with access to safe water, and 130 toilets, improving sanitation for 520 beneficiaries.
Where your funds will go
$18 can pay for a Sri Lankan to start a small business, providing them with access to a livelihood and an income.
$58 can provide 10 locally grown chickens to a family, ensuring five eggs per day after five months and increasing the family’s protein intake.
$339 can help a woman in Sri Lanka start and maintain an eco-friendly commercial garden with a kit of crops, profiting up to $50 a month after four months.
With your support, we can continue to bring about positive changes. Your funds can provide access to food and build sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable people in Sri Lanka today.