Sri Lanka

Due to a combination of power shortages, severe budgetary problems, the global slowdown, continuing civil strife, and most recently, the devastating tsunami of December 2004, Sri Lanka often cannot meet the basic health and nutrition needs of its mostly rural population.

IRD in Sri Lanka: In the immediate days and weeks following the tsunami, IRD conducted a series of needs assessments in the southern district of Hambantota in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and other local officials. The goal was to identify the impact on IRD’s ongoing educational support improvement project in Hambantota and to identify additional ways IRD could assist the Hambantota District in its recovery. Extensive consultations with local government officials and local NGOs revealed that assisting families to rebuild their lives, livelihoods and communities was of the utmost importance.googl

IRD is currently implementing the “Hambantota Educational Support Improvement Project” (HESIP). HESIP is a two-year United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program aims to improve the educational performance of school children through school feeding, infrastructure repair and prevention of parasitic infections in the Hambantota District.

Specific activities include:

  • Distribution of milk five days a week to 12,000 children in 36 schools;
  • Repairs to 36 school buildings, including water and sanitation facilities; and
  • Screening of school children for intestinal parasites and provision of medicines to those infected.

Many of the schools targeted for assistance through the HESIP program have toilets in poor condition or no water supply. Children bring water from home to drink. There are scarce resources for maintenance and the children work to keep the grounds clear and clean.

Most of the children participating in HESIP are from subsistence farming families. They frequently miss several weeks of school during peak harvest periods. Many of the school children participating in HESIP are undernourished. IRD hopes the daily UHT milk will help them to concentrate better and will be an incentive to parents to leave their kids in school during harvest season.
In Southern province of Sri Lanka, IRD recently completed Hambantota Water Program, which aims to improve local water quality and access by rehabilitating water distribution networks and treatment plants for people in Kirinda and Bundala. IRD also identified new sources to improve supply, providing safe water to 11,000 beneficiaries. IRD also repaired and renovated 25 schools in the district with particular focus on safe water and sanitation facilities. In addition, IRD managed the creation of a 20-year master plan for infrastructure development for Hambantota district.

At the end of April 2007, IRD was also awarded with UNICEF grant for water, sanitation and hygiene practice strengthening in transitional camps in Batticaloa and Ampara districts.


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