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Urban Poverty Reduction Strategy - Colombo (Completed)


In recent years, the Colombo Municipal Council has demonstrated a strong interest in, and commitment to, performance improvement and change. It has focussed on making the city administration more responsive to public needs and aspirations, and has facilitated the participation of a wide range of stakeholder groups in planning and decision-making. The City has also involved the private sector in the management and provision of urban services. The City of Colombo is therefore in an influential position, as an able and willing partner, to guide and assist other smaller cities to promote an integrated cross-sector approach to sustainable urban development. The aim of the project is to facilitate urban poverty reduction in Colombo by developing a participatory and sustainable institutional framework within the municipality that is closely working with the urban poor.


Implementing the draft poverty reduction strategy prepared in 2002 (responding to the poverty profile of Colombo) has been the core focus of project support during 2003, by establishing broad-based working groups at the community, District and City-levels (Housing and Community Development Committees). Community-level support has focused on Community-Action Planning (CAP), an innovative approach to facilitate urban poor community decision-making in consultation with District officials regarding their own priorities for service delivery improvements, supported by the testing of innovative community contracting procedures, community enterprises, skills training, as well as savings and credit schemes to build sustainability - both for service operations as well as urban poor community empowerment. A total of 20 settlements are being supported through skills training in preparing their CAPs, backed with community enterprise support, and small grant infrastructural support ($60,000) to 15 settlements. At the District-level, officers have received skills training as well as "exposure" study visits to Thailand. At The city-level, support continues to disseminate the poverty reduction strategy as a core part of city policy. The challenge for 2004 will be adoption of the CAP process and good practices in policy, along with institutionalisation of the process within the HCDC structure, with resources sustained from the Council.


Colombo Municipal Council; Sevanatha (NGO); community groups, Department for International Development (DfID), Urban Management Programme

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