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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Participatory approach for tsunami reconstruction

Daily News: 15/11/2005"

The Wellawatte in the Hikkaduwa Division stands as example for successful post-tsunami reconstruction and positive collaboration between a local community, an NGO and an international donor.

In this small village relief and rehabilitation have been carried out through the project "Let's reconstruct Wellawatte," realised by the Italian NGO Incontro Tra i Popoli on behalf of the Italian Civil Protection Department.

This Italian institution, relying directly on the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Government, deals with disaster management and post-disaster reconstruction at national and international levels.

It was involved in the early post-tsunami response in the areas of Galle, Matara and Trincomalee. The first group of relief experts arrived here on December 27 immediately started to search for survivors and realise emergency-related activities, such as providing food-items, setting up emergency camps and arrange sanitary facilities.

Under the second phase, the Italian Civil Protection has undertaken the reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, houses, fishing boats as well as the supply of heavy machinery, water supply schemes and other requirements for the restoration of various parts of the coastal belt of Sri Lanka.

The interventions have been of two kinds: directly managed by the donor itself, as it is the case of most schools and hospitals, and realised through NGOs and other organisations. In this scenario the reconstruction programme proposed by volunteer of Incontro Tra i Popoli Roberto Nichele found its space and the possibility to be implemented.

He was already working in Wellawatte with a development project when the tsunami reached Hikkaduwa on December 26, thus, he had deep knowledge of the local with standings and of the papulation, and decided to propose a participatory approach for the reconstruction of Wellawatte project. In this regard, a Committee of nine has been formed with the purpose of assessing the people's needs of determine the beneficiaries and manage the overall handling of the project finance.

The involvement of local community has given very good results; having every brick, tile and every grain of sand checked by the Town Committee, the costs were reduced to the minimum: the average prices for the construction of a one storeyed house amounts to 3 1/2 lakhs (Rs. 350,000), which is far below the average of tsunami reconstruction projects of the same kind.

Moreover, the employment of local workers and the supervision of the masonry works carried out by a villager, have contributed to expedite realisation of the construction works:

Of the 74 houses scheduled in the project, 60 have already been completed ready and 14 are well under way.

Therefore, in consideration of the expenditure and the elapsed time for the project implementation, the project should be taken as example for further interventions.

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