Sri Lanka: Fostering Inclusive Growth

April 10, 2013


Over 1 million people have seen their lives improve through the Reawkening Project, which has restored livelihoods to those affected by conflict.

Jakana Thilakaratne/World Bank

The Community Livelihoods in Conflict Affected Areas Project (popularly known as the Re-awakening Project) started in January 2005 during the war to help conflict-affected communities in the Northern Province, Eastern Province and adjoining areas to restore livelihoods, enhance agricultural and other production and incomes, and build capacity for sustainable social and economic integration. The project has reached 1,039 villages and 243,201 families, expanding to support communities in the North, East, Uva, North Western, North Central and Central provinces affected by the 2010/2011 floods.


Building capacities among resettled communities affected by conflict through networks of trust supporting socio-economic activities in a post conflict era, is the biggest challenge of this project. Of particular note in this regard are the project’s efforts to re-build infrastructure, livelihoods and community networks in a manner which encourages bonding with one another and bridging differences for common gain.

Since 1983, the armed conflict taxed the communities in terms of life, facilities and injury, affecting over 1.7 million people. Although camps for Internally Displacement Persons Camps (IDP) in the Northern Province were declared closed on September 26, 2012, resettlement in the Northern Province continues with people coming from other places. In November and December 2010, Sri Lanka was hit by the heaviest rains in one hundred years, which caused devastating floods and landslides. The three districts of the Eastern Province—Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee—suffered the most, representing 94 percent of the total population affected by flooding. According to preliminary official estimates of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the cost of the flood impact was US$500 million for rehabilitation of rural infrastructure such as small-scale irrigation, rural roads, drinking water supply, housing, electricity, health and schools as well as cost to livelihoods  of damaged crops, livestock and fisheries. The floods also affected households earning income from non-farm sources due to the loss of their productive assets and severely affected the livelihoods of around 15,000 fisher families.

" We are now able to earn between Rs. 5,000-7,000 per month and feel like we have a future. My dream is to be able to educate my daughter.  "

Murukathasan Sivashakthi

Project Beneficiary


The project has made significant progress in all components. Since 2004, the project has reached 1,039 villages and assisted 243,201 beneficiary families, or about 1 million individuals, through 24,500 small groups, 1,520 community based organizations and 781 women rural development societies. These societies have a savings of US$760,000 and a livelihood fund of US$11.2 million. Other results include:

•   90,088 families have started new income generation activities with low interest loans from the village revolving funds.

•   3,203 community infrastructure and social services subprojects have been completed and maintained by the communities to improve their quality of life. Another 1,093 subprojects are nearing completion.

•   1,791 km of rural roads were rehabilitated and are being used.

•   2,143 youth are employed after receiving skills development training provided through the community skill development fund.

•   1,520 community-based organizations (CBOs) benefitted by improving their institutional capacity to be more participatory and transparent in carrying out operations and maintenance (O&M) activities at the village level.

•  The project has assisted 31,449 ex-combatants to start their own livelihood activities.

Bank Group Contribution

The Second North-East Irrigated Agriculture Project (IDA US$64.7 million approved on June 22, 2004) was restructured in July 2007 to support conflict-affected communities in the North, East and adjoining areas of Sri Lanka to restore their livelihoods. During the restructuring, the project was renamed the Community Livelihoods in Conflict-Affected Areas Project, locally known as the Re-awakening Project (RaP).                                 

In December 2009, an Emergency Additional Financing (IDA US$12.0 million) was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors to scale-up the components for village development and rehabilitation of irrigation schemes, specifically focusing on the returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who had been displaced in 2009 in the Northern Province.

The Additional Financing (IDA 4956, US$38 million approved on June 10, 2011) supports activities in the twelve conflict-affected districts and expands the program to four adjoining districts where damaged by the 2010/2011 floods.


The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) is a joint financier of the project, with implementation managed by the Government of Sri Lanka and the beneficiaries themselves.

Moving Forward

Recognizing the importance of restoring normalcy for those whose livelihoods and connectivity were lost as a result of the war, tsunami and/or recent floods, the project is assisting with immediate livelihood support and rural rehabilitation programs, particularly in the restoration of agricultural roads, minor irrigation schemes, rural drinking water facilities and agricultural market services. There is much more to be done.

of rural roads have been rehabiliated and are now in use