Poverty rate*1% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
UN DEVELOPMENT INDEX*Rank: 73 out of 191
People supported per year4,963
Thematic focusVoice, Inclusion & Cohesion
Learning & Innovation
Helvetas has been active in a wide range of rural development and rehabilitation projects in Sri Lanka since 1978. After the tsunami in December 2004, we were involved in emergency relief and reconstruction. Since 2009, Helvetas has worked mainly in the field of governance and peace.
Safe labor migration as a development option
Although Sri Lanka now ranks among the world’s middle-income countries, poverty is still widespread. Seeking temporary work abroad is the only solution for many men and women. Two million people of Sri Lankan origin live abroad – mostly in the Gulf States, and increasingly in the Far East. Another 250,000 leave Sri Lanka every year. Labor migration is a strategy strongly promoted by the Sri Lanka government.
Helvetas has been involved in supporting safe labor migration for several years. We initially focused on informing migrants and their families about their legal rights, safety, psycho-social issues and effective use of remittances. Since 2016, Helvetas’ role has been to strengthen the capacity of public and civil society actors to ensure safe labor migration. In addition, Helvetas has been training public actors in anti-trafficking measures since early 2018. Current activities focus on strengthening returning migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Youth for coexistence and peace
The bloody civil war that raged for over 25 years until 2009 left deep wounds in Sri Lankan society. The political situation afterwards has gone through periods of tension, such as the unconstitutional crisis within the government regime in 2018 and the terrorist attacks in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an additional challenge to the country's social fabric as many people's livelihoods have been threatened.
Helvetas' projects are primarily aimed at the young generation and their potential to find new ways for a peaceful and more just society. We pursue different entry points to achieve this. Helvetas works on a personal level with youth to promote understanding of different ethno-religious identities and interests. Journalism students at three universities are trained in the right to information, media governance, conflict-sensitive and gender-responsive communication and public relations. Government and civil society representatives also participate in discussions and learning on how hate speech and violent extremism can be prevented and countered. This project is also implemented in Bangladesh, which allows for a cross-cultural exchange.
Visit the website of Helvetas Sri Lanka.
Our Projects in Sri Lanka
If you would like to know more about our work in Sri Lanka, click on each project for details.