Sri Lanka: Good Governance
As well bringing destruction of infrastructure, decades of conflict in Sri Lanka has hampered the local government from playing its assigned roles and responsibilities in delivery of development services. Furthermore, the conflict has weakened links between state and non-state actors and undermined the citizens’ trust and confidence in the local authorities.
With the end of the war, local government bodies began to re-establish themselves again, but the need to support better and more predictable access to key services paying particular attention to transparency and accountability remain high. The citizens very often lack even a basic awareness of what services their local government authorities can provide and the communication and interaction between these two sides is predominantly at a very low level.
Therefore, PIN supported capacity development of local authorities (Pradeshiya Sabhas and Municipal/Urban Councils) in order to deliver better public services, include public society in decision-making processes and adopt good governance principles such as transparency, accountability, equity and participation at local authority and community level. People in Need’s activities supporting the development of civil society are also targeted at the citizens who have returned to their original residence areas and are working on renewing their livelihoods. The returnees were not used to participating in decision-making processes and communicating with local authorities about public affairs. The establishment of well-functioning public services contributes to more efficient recovery of the communities.
Supporting Good Governance in Eastern Sri Lanka
In Eastern Province, People in Need build capacities of Local Authorities (Pradesha Sabhas and Urban/Municipal Councils) and supports and strengthens cooperation between them and community-based organizations, primarily women’s rural development societies. Local communities are being educated about the range of services they are entitled to, how to approach local authorities and how to actively participate in development of their communities.
People in Need gives support to local authorities to enable them actually to provide these services as well as to extend their service portfolio in terms of quality and quantity. Local authority staff receive key planning and management skills training. The most common topics of such training sessions include assessment of community needs, project design, budget calculations, participative monitoring and evaluation.
To motivate local authorities to take a more active role in securing services to their citizens, People in Need provides them with a financial grant targeted at improvement of selected public services and facilities such as pre-schools, public libraries and road drainage. The implementation of such activities promotes civic participation in planning of community development programmes and encourages the adoption of basic principles of governance such as transparency, responsibility, equality and active participation which is more important for the long-term development than immediate construction of advanced infrastructure.