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Sri Lanka

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Early Recovery Shelter for IDPs in Batticaloa (Completed)

Background and Objectives

The conflict in Trincomalee and Batticaloa, which began in August 2006, resulted in the displacement 150,000 people. The IDPs lost almost everything including their homes and their means of livelihood. Of the 38,583 families (151,809 people) displaced, 27,195 families have now returned to their original place of residence. The government has estimated that as many as 28,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed in Batticaloa. A UN-HABITAT commissioned survey identified that the rebuilding of their houses was the primary concern for the vast majority of returnees. This prompted UN-HABITAT to develop a 'Starter House' concept to get families on the road to recovery in the shortest possible time. The Starter House will lay down the 'footprint' of an eventual complete house that conforms to the minimum standards laid down by Government for housing. The house thus created is a strong driver to motivate the people to incrementally expand the house by mobilizing own resources thus veering them away from the dependency syndrome and move towards self reliance. This project will assist the construction of 80 Starter Houses.


The main activities include:
* Mobilization of people;
* Supporting communities to form their Community Development Councils;
* Facilitating access to vocational training;
* Facilitate conducting Communities Action; Planning that would identify their needs, priorities and take appropriate actions;
* Resolving land tenure and other issues and ensuring access to a secure place to live for all affected families;
* Executing physical works through Community Contracts ensuring investment made in development is shared with the people;
* Providing financial assistance to families to build a house;
* Assisting in establishing savings and credit groups among women.

Results (2008)

In the selected villages a Community Development Council (CDC) has been formed and registered with the Local Authority. The beneficiaries of the project are members of the CDC. A constitution has been framed and accepted by the members of the council for the functioning of the CDC. After the signing of community contracts, the funds for the construction of the houses have been remitted to the bank account of the CDCs in instalments proportionate to the quantum of work completed. The CDCs made bulk purchases of building materials and distributed these among the beneficiaries under the close supervision of the UN-HABITAT technical staff. Through a combination of own labour and hired skilled labour, all 80 Starter Houses have been completed. 'People Centred' participatory approaches have been promoted in order to empower and encourage communities in the rebuilding of their lives.

Development Partners / Partners

Development Partners: UNHCR
Partners: Batticaloa District Authorities

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