Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) and Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) assisted city wide improvement of Urban Poor Settlements project in selected cities in Sri Lanka.
The ACHR/ACCA program was started in the last quarter of the year 2008 in Sri Lanka. SEVANATHA Urban Resource Centre and Sri Lanka Women’s Development Service Cooperative Society (Women’s Coop) are the two main organizations engaged in implementing the ACHR/ACCA program.
The key objective of this program is to identify the urban poor communities, gather detail information of them and organize the urban poor under savings and credit groups in order to support them to improve their shelter and livelihoods.
Currently this program is implemented in thirteen (13) cities which including Colombo Moratuwa, Kalutara, Galle, Baticoloa, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Kiliknochchi, Wattala Mabole and Dehiwala Mount Lavinia, Trincomallee, mulativu and Negambo.
Implementation Mechanism of this program is called Community Livelihood Action Facility Network (CLAFNet) which is coordinated by SEVANATHA. A project steering committee was setup under the CLAFNet for the purpose of regular monitoring of this program. At the local authority level, a project review Committee known as “City Development Committee (CDC)” was set up in each city which is chaired by the respective Mayor/Deputy Mayor of the city council. The CDC is operating as a stakeholder forum to review the city level program activities.
Extremely poor families identified under this program are empowered through necessary training and organizing them in to strong savings groups. Currently over seven thousand (7000) families have been benefitted directly under this program. A revolving loan fund established under the CLAFNet has an accumulated capital around 173 million Sri Lankan Rupees (up to 2013) which is being utilized to provide low interest loans to the savings group members in identified low income settlements.
This program also provides housing improvement grant of SLR 50,000 maximum per family for constructing a basic house (One bed room, Kitchen and a Living room) for selected extremely poor families. This grant scheme is known as “Decent Poor Program” under the ACCA/CLAFNet program.
ACCA/CLAFNet program also provides loan facilities for poor families to build their own houses and to initiate self employment/home based income generating activities. The above activities are implemented in almost all the program cities. Another important achievement of this program is the improvement of community infrastructure through participatory approach involving the respective Local Authority, the Community and SEVANATHA. For this type of improvement activities, the CLAFNet provides required technical support and grant funds. Training and skill development program for urban poor families are being carried out under this program in order to empower the target communities.
Identify the extremely poor families for community empowerment and livelihood improvement through the baseline survey.
Economically strengthen the poor families through the savings and credit program of Women’s bank
Identification of Community Needs by conducting CLAP workshop
Infrastructure Improvement activities through the Community Contracts
Construction of houses with getting low interest loans through CLAFNet
Providing low interest loans for self employment activities
Technical support for constructing low cost houses by using soil blocks