VSO has been working in Sri Lanka for over four decades and has made an impact across the country. We are now planning to close the country office in 2014. We work towards a rights-based approach to development, which focuses on addressing the underlying structural and societal causes of poverty and exclusion.
The overall aim of VSO Sri Lanka is to empower disadvantaged communities to inform and influence decisions that affect their lives, in particular people with disabilities and mental health problems, women and displaced people. Volunteers are also placed in jobs with government (central and provincial), specific aid projects and NGOs to further this goal. Participation and governance is considered to be key issues in the continuing efforts at peace building and in pro-poor growth and poverty alleviation, especially in the north, east and tsunami affected areas.
Participation and governance
Our contribution is to support both government and non-government organisations to respond to development challenges, with a focus on empowerment of disadvantaged communities, in particular women and conflict affected communities, to influence decisions that affect their lives.
We support this process by:
facilitating collaboration and networking between NGOs
encouraging increased dialogue with local government departments
supporting NGOs to incorporate the voice of beneficiaries into their programmes; promoting financial transparency and good governance of organisations
Some 10% of the population of Sri Lanka suffers from mental health problems, yet there is a chronic lack of skilled personnel and services are outdated and not conducive to recovery. We promote a rights based approach to mental health and liaise closely with the national and provincial Ministries of Health, providing support on policies and procedures, the development of community based rehabilitation services including empowering of consumer self help groups to advocate for their own rights and contributes to the development of in-service and pre-service of mental health specialist training for medical and non-medical hospital staff and community workers.
Active citizenship through national volunteering
We support the development of national and regional structures to promote volunteerism in Sri Lanka and to build the capacity of volunteer involving organisations to build social and human capital through local volunteerism within the communities in which they work.
We have prioritised and mainstreamed disability, gender and language through all our programme areas.
Get in touch with VSO Sri Lanka at:
102/1, Dr. N. M. Perera Mawatha (Cotta Road), Colombo 8, Sri Lanka