South Asia Annual Report 2010
Practical Action South Asia's Annual Report for 2009-10, including case studies and financial statements, can be downloaded as an illustrated PDF. Please note that this is a large file and make take some time to download on slow connections.
Download Annual Report 2009-10 (PDF, 9Mb)
- Vision & Mission
- Message from the Regional Director - Why do we need to invest in sustainable solutions to meet the challenges of reconciliation in post conflict situations?
- Making communities voices count in the rebuilding process
- Breaking new ground to revive entrpreneurship in a post war situation
- Permanent resettlement for IDP communities in Vauniya through right skills at the right time
- Making policies work for the poor
- A glance at our work during the past year
- Providing practical answers to development issues
- Practical Action Consulting
- Financial information
- Our partners & acknowledgements
Message from the Regional Director
Why do we need to invest in sustainable solutions to meet the challenges of reconciliation in post conflict situations?
South Asia is rich in its cultural and ethnic diversity and natural resources. Paradoxically, these very endowments have caused complex problems, making the region a hotspot for internal conflict, with recent trends showing that conflict stems and recurs mainly from poverty, social barriers, and issues of 'ownership' of natural resources. In conflict ridden South Asia while conflicts are intensifying in parts of India and Paksiatan, in Sri Lanka the three decade old war has come to an end.
Apart from the political instability, frequent natural disasters too compound the challenges within the region. This complicates and challenges the capacity of governments of South Asia to deal with conflict or post-conflict situations.
The three decade old armed conflict in Sri Lanka has led to displacing 280,000 people (UNHCR). According to reports, already 132,728 IDPs have returned to their original homes. Efforts by the government and development agencies to restore basic infrastructure and essential services such as drinking water, sanitation, energy, education, health, communication and transport services are facing many challenges owing to the complexity of the environment and the magnitude of the task. Many factors hinder the rebuilding and reconciliation efforts. Some of these factors include inability of displaced communities to engage in their former livelihoods as the required resources for these have been destroyed, the culture of dependency on relief, lack of skills and the fear to invest in livelihood ventures due to unstable living conditions and insecurity.
Sri Lanka faces huge challenges, possibly with too few resources to meet the needs of rebuilding infrastructure, assisting war-damaged communities, and re-strengthening weakened institutions. Moreover, if the issues of poor and marginalized are not prioritized, the end of war may not lead to long-term stability or peace for the country.
'Reconstruction' per se must be understood as being different to the idea of re-constructing, i.e. putting back what was there before the conflict. Instead, we need to think of sustainable development in a way that removes injustice, disparities, and exclusion so that the country does not regress back to war.
Insufficient attention to issues such as land, resources and resource sharing, living patterns and practices of communities of conflict affected areas, role of women can be detrimental to the development drive the country is embarking upon. Opening up markets in Jaffna, for example, needs to be done with the full knowledge of the fact that the North had a closed market system for over 30 years, and traders in Jaffna would need support to adapt to the competition and demand for quantity and quality that is flooding in via the A9. If attention is not paid, producers from Jaffna would face bankruptcy due to competition from southern traders.
Working together with vulnerable communities, for over 20 years in Sri Lanka and in some parts of Pakistan and in Orissa in India, Practical Action has continued its mandate of finding alternate, complex problems. In keeping with our values of sustainability, justice, diversity, democracy and people, we have endeavoured to bring the voices of the most vulnerable groups to the fore.
Some of our successes include testing and promoting technologies and approaches on
- renewable energy such as energy efficient cook stoves, micro hydro, bio gas, small wind systems for communities who do not have access to electricity on the main grid,
- cost effective environmentally friendly housing technologies for communities affected by tsunami in Sri Lanka,
- empowering small producers by creating a network and a common brand name and linking with markets,
- strengthening small scale lagoon fisher communities to campaign for their rights by helping setting up lagoon management authorities,
- reviving indigenous organic rice varieties that could withstand harsh climatic conditions triggered by climate change.
We believe that promoting sustainable development approaches is essential in the present context where development efforts often contribute to or aggravate the destruction of the limited resource base from which many marginalized communities depend for their livelihood. We are hopeful that we could extend our cooperation by sharing our knowledge and expertise for the efforts of development organizations involved in post conflict rebuilding.
Practical Action (Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan programmes)