CAFOD is working through Caritas Sri Lanka and other local partners to build peace and reconciliation and strengthen citizens’ participation in decision making following long years of civil conflict.
We have also been involved in emergency response, providing aid after the 2019 Easter bombings, during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in response to the current political and economic crisis.
Why CAFOD works in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a society in transition. Moving from conflict to peace, following the ending in 2009 of a decades-long civil war, has gone more slowly than expected, due in part to a post-war narrowing of democratic space and civil freedom.
Even before the pandemic, poverty remained widespread. It was disproportionately concentrated among Tamils in the north and east former conflict zone, and in the central plantation districts, but large numbers of rural Sinhalese, especially in the south, also found themselves trapped in situations of structural disadvantage, and shut out from the growing socio-economic opportunities available to those with the means to access them.
CAFOD's work in Sri Lanka
Our focus in Sri Lanka is on peace and reconciliation, and good governance. Through partners across the island, we are working from grassroots level upwards to:
Break down barriers, reduce misconceptions, fears and prejudices, and help communities address the issues which stop them from moving towards reconciliation.
Build a practice of active citizenship and constructive engagement with local government.
Bring the voice and influence of all Sri Lankans to bear at national level in the decision-making processes which affect their livelihoods and wellbeing, and determine the shape and pace of the peace process.
We have also been heavily involved with emergency response in Sri Lanka:
In the aftermath of the 2019 Easter bombing, CAFOD worked to provide counselling and practical assistance to family members of victims.
During the coronavirus pandemic CAFOD assisted with distributions of food and hygiene supplies to families left with no source of income due to lockdowns. Our partners also engaged in advocacy on behalf of groups disproportionately affected – such as minorities being unfairly blamed for spreading infection – and helped spread awareness of Covid-19 and health messages on how to stay safe.
In July 2022, in response to the growing cost of living crisis resulting in widespread unemployment and food shortages, CAFOD made a grant of £50,000 to Caritas Sri Lanka for food distributions to families in need.