Focusing on the Poor and vulnerable...
   
   
 

Establishing CBOs

Capacity Building

Revolving Funds at Community Level

Linking Entrepreneurs with Commercial Banks

Enterprise Promotion Trust (EPT)

Rural Enterprise Development

Rural Housing

Rural Pre-Schools for Early Childhood Development

Child Centred Development Programmes

Scholarship Programme

Village Infrastructure Development

Taking Information Technology to the Village

Health, Water and Sanitation

Exchange Programmes

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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Development Initiatives of PRDA

   

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Establishing CBOs
   
 
PRDA has mobilized rural communities particularly the low income women to come together and form their own community based organizations aiming at collective action for addressing poverty and deprivation. This has resulted in the establishment of women based CBOs in the districts of Puttalam, Gampaha, Matara and Hambantota.
   

 

The CBOs in the Gampha and Puttalam districts are in a state of advanced maturity compared to the CBOs in the two southern districts which were formed after PRDA interventions in tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction. The 16 CBOs in the Gampaha district and another 17 in the Puttalam district with a total of 33 CBOs have developed and consolidated their institutional capacities and leadership by working together and undergoing capacity building training conducted over the years.
 
 
Beneficiaries participating in a planning session   CBO leaders in their monthly meeting
 
The 33 CBOs are linked to each other through an established network named as Rural Women’s Forum for Economic Development (RUWOFED). The network which comprises the leaders of CBOs meets once a month at the PRDA Training Centre in Chilaw to discuss their problems and issues as well as to plan their future strategies.
 
The CBOs in all the four districts are guided and supported by trained facilitators of PRDA.
   

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Capacity Building
   
  Capacity building training programmes are regularly conducted for members and leaders of the CBO. These training programmes include micro level community based planning, community need identification, entrepreneurship development, financial management, product development and marketing, institutional development, leadership development and participatory monitoring and evaluation. Training programmes are conducted by both PRDA’s own staff as well as by external resource persons.
 
     
Members of the CBO and their leadership are also trained to engage in monitoring and evaluation of the performance of their respective CBOs using a set of standard criteria. A monitoring and evaluation system developed in consultation with CBO membership is actively and regularly adopted by CBOs and performance related reviews are conducted in their monthly CBO meetings.  
 

Women participants at a training programme

     
Furthermore, strategies and mechanisms have been introduced to CBOs to assure proper participation of members in decision-making processes and sustaining accountability and transparency in all their transactions. The membership is trained on the adoption of these strategies and mechanisms.
   
  Social audit is a vibrant mechanism introduced to CBOs. All financial transactions on community work and beneficiary lists are displayed in public places and decisions are made collectively and in public forums such as village gatherings and CBO meetings.
   
 
 

Presentations of group work results

 

Women in a participatory assessment

   
  In November 2007, 15 staff members of PRDA selected from among its Mirissa field office (10), Gampaha field office (2) and the head office (3) participated in an experience-sharing visit to Tamil Nadu and Kerala states in India. This visit was jointly supported by Actionaid Sri Lanka and PRDA. (Read more in news)
   

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Revolving Funds at Community Level
   
   
 
All CBOs, except the relatively more recent ones in the Matara and Hambantota districts manage dynamic savings and credit programmes at village level evolved around Revolving Funds set up partly with member savings and partly with financial grants provided by PRDA. These Revolving Funds facilitate credit for CBO members to initiate income-generating activities as well as to satisfy their social development needs. The total value of the revolving funds exceeds Rs.30,000,000.  
 

Money saved in family tills deposited in the Revolving Fund

   

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Linking Entrepreneurs with Commercial Banks
   
  PRDA with its affiliated CBOs has negotiated with leading commercial banks in the country to introduce potential entrepreneurs emerging from CBOs to those banks so that the latter could facilitate comparatively bigger loans to those entrepreneurs to strengthen their on-going economic activities. The loans accessed by entrepreneurs ranged from Rs.50, 000 to Rs.200,000.
   

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Enterprise Promotion Trust (EPT)
   
  The Enterprise Promotion Trust (EPT) is an innovative and indigenous financial mechanism supported by PRDA. Established in November 2004 with an initial investment of Rs.1.5 million jointly pooled by both PRDA and its affiliated CBOs, the EPT facilitates bigger loans for emerging entrepreneurs whose financial needs for productive activities cannot be met through comparatively small loans provided by village based revolving funds as well as to those who cannot meet the rigid eligibility criteria adopted by commercial banks. The CBOs have now begun to increase their shares in the EPT which in turn increases their loan portfolio and reduces their dependency on external institutions for credit and the time spent on rigorous procedures adopted by formal credit institutions. The loans issued by EPT range from Rs. 50, 000 to Rs.300, 000 and they are exclusively targeted at economic activities. The EPT is jointly managed by a Board of Trustees constituted by representatives elected by the CBOs and two representatives from PRDA.
   

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Rural Enterprise Development
   
  PRDA has supported and strengthened more than 1000 rural micro and small entrepreneurs running a range of economic activities. These enterprises include agri-business, fishery and fishery related products, food processing and preparation, animal husbandry, petty trade, handicrafts, service centers, production of construction materials, garments etc. Support services required by these rural entrepreneurs such as access to credit, technology, training, information, markets etc. are facilitated through linking the entrepreneurs with relevant support service organizations. These micro and small entrepreneurs who are primarily the women are now able to supplementary incomes to their families which range from Rs.2000 to Rs.10,000 a month.
   

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Rural Housing
   
  PRDA’s entry into rural housing began after the tsunami devastation in 2004. With support from aid agencies, PRDA was able to construct altogether 117 houses for the families who lost their houses in the tsunami. Of them 52 houses were constructed in the southern coastal village of Mirissa in the Matara district and another 65 in Mawella, a village located in the coastal belt of the Hambantota district of the Southern Province. Community participation was mobilized for designing, planning and construction of these houses. Beneficiaries of these houses were primarily the women headed households, families with disabled members and the poor families who did not have a stable source of income or else who have lost their livelihood sources and related assets in the tsunami. The total investment in this housing programme exceeded US Dollars 600,000.
   
 
 
A house built at Mawella   Handing over a new house
   

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Rural Pre-Schools for Early Childhood Development
   
  At a time when Pre-Schools of acceptable standard and affordable to poor villagers were not found in the rural communities of the Puttalam and Gampaha districts, PRDA took the initiative to set up well-equipped Pre-Schools with quality standards. Necessary furniture and other teaching-aids were provided to these schools while the teachers selected were facilitated to receive an intensive training in pre-school education before they were positioned for teaching.
   
  Around 72 Pre-Schools were established and 42 are self-sustaining. The number of children benefiting from this early childhood development programme in a year is around 1000. Responsibility for managing the pre-schools is placed with the parents of the children attending the pre-schools who in turn are formed into community based organizations called ‘Pre-School Societies’ (PSS).
   
  With funds initially provided by PRDA, each PSS manages a revolving loan fund, the income from which is used for the payment of teacher salaries, purchasing teaching materials and the maintenance of the pre-school building. Funds generated from the revolving funds are also complimented by contributions from parents and other community well-wishers and as a result the financial and institutional sustainability of the pre-schools is ensured. At their own wish, the PSSs also provide mid-day meals to children attending the pre-schools.
   
 
 

Pre-School Teachers at a Training

 

Pre-School children in action

   

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Child Centred Development Programmes
   
  Interventions of PRDA to enhance the wellbeing of rural children began almost 12 years ago initially through a partnership established with Plan International. More than 500 children and their families spread over 20 villages in the Puttalam district (North-Western Province) and Gampaha district (Western Province) benefited from these child-centred development programmes. While providing direct assistance for children selected from poor and very poor families in the areas of education, health and life skills development, the child-centred programmes evolved around changing children’s attitudes and behaviour, reinforcing moral and ethical values and improving social communication and interaction among children and with the community at large. Direct support for children included providing school books and materials, skills development in art, music, drama, sports etc., children’s libraries, tuition classes, medical facilities at times of illness, children’s savings and credit programmes etc. The total investment in these activities was around US Dollars 75,000.
   
 
 

Paintings of tsunami affected children

 

Children's savings generated

   
  PRDA places emphasis on the need for creating a conducive environment for the growth of the child. Its interventions are therefore closely linked to improving the situation in the families and communities to which the children belong. Assistance has been provided for family members to engage in vocational training and income generating activities, and to improve their housing conditions and basic amenities such as water and sanitation, lighting etc. Nearly 175 families benefited from these family development programmes and the investment was around US Dollars 125,000. Interventions geared towards improving the community environment are diverse and included adult education programmes, prevention of alcohol and drug abuse, recreational activities for youth, home gardening, improvements to village temples, community centres, access roads, drinking water and bathing wells etc.
   
  Support for children affected by conflict in Vakarai in Ampara District - In April 2007, PRDA provided school uniforms and books to 400 children affected by the conflict in Vakarai in Ampara district. The total value of the assistance was Rs.216,000. This assistance was coordinated by the Ministry of Social Services and Social Welfare.
   

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Scholarship Programme
   
  APSL/PRDA SCOLARSHIP PROGRAMME
   
  Date: May 07, 2016
  Venue: PRDA Training Centre, Chilaw
   
  Objectives: The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL), called for applications from children living in Sri Lanka aged between 9-17 and in full-time education through the People’s Rural Development Association (PRDA). The Recipients should be hardworking and showing good academic ability, but being held back from realizing their full potential due to poverty and economic deprivation.
   
  APSL supports the sponsorship programme. PRDA is the Local agent for implementing the programme and is responsible for monitoring the programme.
   
  APSL Selected 10 children from the Puttalam district for the scholarship programme; 4 children from the Puttalam area and 6 from the Chilaw area of the Puttalam district.
   
  PRDA organisied the launch on May 07 at PRDA Centre, Chilaw.
   
  The Recipients, their parents/guardians, PRDA Staff amd Mr. Mervyn Silva from APSL participated in the programme.
 
  Activities
 
Mr. Mervyn Silva and PRDA staff was welcomed by the children.
We all enjoyed milk-rice, lunu-miris, banana and tea.
After religious observations, the traditional oil lamp was lit to launch the programme.
PRDA welcomed all guests and explained the goal of the programme.
Mr. Mervyn Silva made a power point presentation about APSL.
Then, the PRDA staff segregated the children from their parents and told them to list out what they really need for their schooling. The outcome was absolutely genuine.
Next, Offer letters and other documents relating to the programme were handed over to the Recipients.
A detailed explanation was provided about, how to use funds remitted to their accounts and about the responsibilities of children, parents and PRDA by Mrs. Shanti Fernando, Executive Director.
The programme was concluded with playing of the National Anthem.
After lunch, PRDA organized a vehicle in which Mr. Mervyn Silva visited the houses of 4 children in the Puttalam.
Later, Mr. Mervyn Silva visited the houses of 6 children in the Chilaw in his own vehicle accompanied a PRDA Staff member.
   
 
 
 
   
   
  Recipients’ Expectations
 
  Name Future Plans with APSL fund Expectations
1 Recipient Ref No: 2016/19/ Wijethunga
Gavithra Nethmi
Concentrate on studies
Study table
Essentials for studies
Tuition fees
Illness
2 Recipient Ref No: 2016/21/ Imayanjalee
Nesha Imayanjali
Concentrate on studies
Necessary books
Illness
3 Recipient Ref No: 2016/22/ Prabath
Nipun Prabath
Concentrate on studies
Shoes
Tuition fees
Volley ball to play in school team
4 Recipient Ref.No. 2016/23 Sandamalee
Nisansala Sandamali
Concentrate on studies
Shoes
Uniforms
Books
Tuition fees for Maths class
5 Recipient Ref.No. 2016/24 Sudeera
Dhananjani Sudeera
Concentrate on studies
Tuition fees
Essentials for studies
6 Recipient Ref.No. 2016/25 Daneshica
Bryani Danishca
Concentrate on studies
Books and other items for school
School fees
Tuition fees
Sportswear
7 Recipient Ref.No. 2016/26 Dwrangi
Nirma Dewrangi
Concentrate on studies to become a good citizen to the country
Save money for future
School travelling
Book cupboard
Fees for computer class
Sports
8 Recipient Ref.No. 2016/27 Vidulaka
Oshad Vidulaka
Concentrate on studies
Study table & a chair
Tuition fees - Rs. 400/- a month
Books
9 Recipient Ref.No. 2016/28 Fernando
Nethmi Kaushalaya
Concentrate on studies
Tuition fees
Study table
Bicycle for schooling
10 Recipient Ref.No. 2016/29 Thisan
Aminda Thishan
Study well
Wants to participate in sports
 
School bag
Shoes
Atlas to learn geography
Instrument box
Table lamp to study
Bus fare to school
Bus fare to tuition class
   
   

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Village Infrastructure Development
   
  Providing support for community infrastructure development was always a major component of the activities conducted by PRDA since its inception. Having first started with mobilizing voluntary labour (shramadana) for repairing or constructing village access roads etc., PRDA in later years has successfully completed a large number of physical infrastructure development projects in a number of villages. The organization’s engagement in the post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts provided an opportunity to deploy its own capacities and experience for infrastructure development in affected communities.
   
  PRDA’s recent contribution to village infrastructure development included the construction of 5 Community Centres, 2 Disaster Mitigation Centres, 2 Multi-Purpose Community Fishery Centres and 2 large well-equipped Community Libraries in the tsunami affected villages of Mawella and Mirissa. The total value of these buildings constructed was around US Dollars 200, 000. 
   
  Outside the tsunami affected areas, PRDA has been successful in constructing a large well-equipped Training/Community centre with residential facilities in the Puttalam district (located in Chilaw) at a cost of US Dollars 280,000. This Centre is now a regular meeting place for members of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) supported by PRDA in the Puttalam and Gampaha districts. The Centre is also used for conducting capacity building training programmes and other cultural, social and recreational activities.
   
  At a cost of another US Dollars 40,000, PRDA has been able to set up a well-equipped library with about five thousand of valuable books within the premises of this Training/Community Centre which is extensively used by school children, teachers, CBO members and the general public. Also, PRDA has provided assistance to build community centres in another 8 villages in the Puttalam and Gampaha districts.
   
 
 

Training/ Community Centre at Chilaw

  Public Library at Chilaw
   
  Furthermore, PRDA has been able to provide assistance to the value of US Dollars 78, 000 to 22 rural schools in the villages it is working to construct/renovate school buildings, libraries, playgrounds, toilets and water tanks as well as to provide teaching equipment etc.
   
  Dhamma School Building for Mamadala North - The opening ceremony of the Dhamma School Building constructed by PRDA in the temple premises of Mamadala North, a village in Ambalantota was held in December 2007. Mamadala North is a village inhabited by second and third generation families of early settlers around Uda walawe. The village is characterized by landlessness among and high incidence of poverty. Farmer families are increasingly dependent on banana cultivation as the source of livelihood and the income is shared among several members in the extended family, with each member receiving a meager income. Men and women engage in casual labour work as a supplementary source of income. The origin of the village was 1974 with the encroachment of land by second-generation families from the nearby settlements. The village temple was established in 2004.
   
 
 

The new Dhamma school building at Mamadala North

 

Opening ceremony of the Mamadala North Dhamma school building

     
   

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Taking Information Technology to the Village
   
  Access to information and communication technology is severely restricted in rural communities. IT facilities are largely available in urban centres and people in rural areas particularly the educated youth are unable to afford access to such facilities.
  PRDA in collaboration with the Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) of Sri Lanka has now set up an IT service and training centre (Nenasala) in the tsunami affected village of Mirissa which facilitates students, school leavers, job seekers, self-employed persons etc. to access information relevant to their needs and also to learn IT skills.
 
     
 
Family members use Skype facility at Nanasala to communicate with their father working abroad   Access to IT at Nanasala in Mirissa
IT facilities at this centre are also used for communication via emails and skype. The IT centre is run on a fee-levying basis and is gradually moving towards self-sustainability.
 
PRDA took the initiative to establish a Nanasala (Information Communication & Technology Centre) at Chilaw with support from the Presidential Secretariat and the Information Communication and Technology Authority (ICTA) in Sri Lanka. The Nanasala serves the information, communication and technology needs of a wider population in Chilaw and its adjacent communities, particularly the school children and out of school youth. It also provides capacity building training in information technology for interested youth. The Nenasala was re launched in February 2009, by PRDA and now serves the community with comprehensive package of services which include IT and English training programmes in support of the Presidential initiative on IT and English launched in 2009.
   

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Health, Water and Sanitation
   
  Drinking water is scarce in the dry zone district of Puttalam and high salinity levels in the water have caused several health problems particularly among children. PRDA has provided a number of dug wells with storage tanks to villages severely affected by drought. Furthermore, it has now embarked on the construction of 150 Rain Water Harvesting Tanks at a cost of US Dollars 41,000 to provide water facilities to deserving families. Priority is placed in families with children and disabled persons, women headed households and poor families without a stable source of income.
   
  More than 300,000 US Dollars have been spent on improving the sanitary conditions in the tsunami-affected villages of Mawella and Mirissa. Around 1100 sanitary toilets have been constructed for tsunami-affected households of which 95% were in Mirissa.
   
 
Apart from improving the physical infrastructure facilities for water and sanitation, health education programmes and mobile clinics are also conducted for the benefit of the rural communities particularly for people who are unable to access specialized medical services.  
    Spectacles distributed at an eye clinic in Mirissa
     

PRDA in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry, Angoda organized three training workshops for mental health professionals and workers in Sri Lanka. The workshops were held from 21st to 26th January 2008 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Angoda. (Read more in news)

     
   

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Exchange Programmes
   
  PRDA facilitates exchange programmes both at national and international level for its CBO members to share experience as well as to learn lessons and good practices from similar development initiatives. The technology of producing handicrafts from ‘pol matolu’ was transferred to Sri Lanka as a result of an earlier peasant exchange programme to south of Thailand facilitated by PRDA. Experience sharing exchange programmes are regularly facilitated between the CBO leaders in the Puttalam and Gamapha districts and the CBO leaders in the tsunami affected Mirissa and Mawella villages. These experience sharing programmes evolve around institution building, financial resource management and leadership development.
   
   
 
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