Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country on the move, still scarred by many consequences of the civil war that lasted until 2009. Despite a number of initiatives, conflict transformation and reconciliation have not really taken off. In the past, the focus was on ethnic disputes between Tamils and Sinhalese, but today religious conflicts play a greater role. This is also underpinned by unequal participation in development between urban and rural areas and between social classes. Helvetas promotes peaceful coexistence and tolerance. A special focus lies on the young generation and gender equality.
  • Capital
  • Area
    65,610 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    1% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 110 out of 188
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
    Knowledge and Learning
* Source: UN Data

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, the organization was 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 for Sri Lanka

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. At first, we 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 the beginning of 2018. Current activities focus on strengthening returning migrants due to the Corona pandemic.

Youth for co-existence and peace

The bloody civil war that raged on for over 25 years till 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-pandemic of 2020 has posed an additional challenge to the social fabric, as many people's livelihoods have been threatened. It is very difficult for young people to develop a perspective.
The projects are mainly aimed at the young generation and their potential to find new ways for a peaceful and more just society. Helvetas pursues different entry points: With young people, we work on the personal level for the understanding of different ethno-religious identities and interests. Journalism and media students at three universities are trained in the right to information, media governance, conflict-sensitive and gender-responsive communication and public relations. With governmental and civil society representatives we discuss and learn how hate speech and violent extremism can be prevented and countered. This project is also implemented in Bangladesh, which allows for an exchange.

Visit the website of Helvetas Sri Lanka.

© Helvetas / Ravindra Ranasinghe
© Helvetas / Ravindra Ranasinghe
© Helvetas
© Helvetas
© Helvetas
Vellakuddy Nageswary Brunnen well Water Wasser sanitation Hygie © Helvetas
© Helvetas
© Helvetas

Our Projects in Sri Lanka

 If you would like to know more about our work in Sri Lanka, click on each project for details.

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

Knowledge and Learning

Building the capacities of staff and partners to effectively share what they know, to learn together and create effective solutions is crucial to our success.

No 2/1
Layards Road
Colombo 05
Sri Lanka

Phone:(+94 ) 11 250 45 61