Emergency support and special assistance to marglinalised estate and rural communities in Nuwara Eliya District in Sri Lanka to minimise health hazards of COVID-19 and socioeconomic implications of the pandemic
Funded by : Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)
Budget : US$ 195,000
Implemented by : United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
Partners: Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, District Secretariat, Nuwara Eliya (including Child and Women Development Units, Child Rights Promotion Branch and Information Centre), Divisional Secretariats, Ministry of Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development, Department of Agrarian Development, Local Authorities, Regional Directorate of Health Services (including the COVID-19 Team of the Regional Directorate of Health Services) and Estate Workers Housing Cooperative Societies
Duration: 3 and ½ months (August – December 2020)
Location: All five (5) DS Divisions (Nuwara Eliya, Kothmale, Hanguranketha, Walapane and Ambagamuwa)in Nuwara Eliya District
The COVID-19 outbreak was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in January 2020, affecting 213 countries and territories around the world by mid-July. The COVID-19 pandemic is putting enormous strain on health systems worldwide.
The COVID-19 crisis comes with an unprecedented dire economic outlook and Sri Lanka continue to experience the consequences of the pandemic. South Asia Economic Focus expects a severe economic slump in each of the eight (8) countries in the region, instigated by halted economic activities, collapse of trade, and greater strain in the banking and financial sectors. The State machinery continue to assist the vulnerable communities including low-income households, Samurdhi beneficiaries, pensioners and disabled persons. However, the near-poor are still unable to absorb the economic shock. The impact of the pandemic on low-income households engaging in day wage livelihoods and self-employment have experienced severe hardships due to loss of income due to the country being under lockdown and curfews imposed. Given the mammoth need for socioeconomic recovery, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has requested all UN Agencies to support the Government of Sri Lanka in COVID-19 emergency response and development interventions.
This project aims to contribute towards reducing the health hazards and socioeconomic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nuwara Eliya district through improving awareness and hygienic practices; supporting measures on infection prevention and control, enhancing responses Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)/Intimate Partner Violence (IMV) and child abuse and assist in ensuring food security, nutrition and economic sustainability through promoting organic agriculture. It is expected to benefit 100,000 people including 3,000 people from peripheral rural villages and 1,000 Government staff in Nuwara Eliya district.
The project was originally designed for five (5) months, August to December 2020, however, was reduced to a rapid implementation process of 3 and ½ months due to the urgent requirement for interventions as a result of the outbreak dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is speculated that the existing socioeconomic inequalities will be intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, therefore, sets
the foundation for economic recovery of selected vulnerable communities, and would ease their current burden. The preventive measures helping soften fears as these vulnerable communities reemerge into normalcy in social and economic life. The interventions would aid psychological wellbeing of estate and peripheral rural communities and most importantly, victims of SGBV/IMV. The proposed project augments the exertions of the Government on responding to COVID-19 pandemic and recovery efforts.
To improve awareness and resilience of poor and marginalised estate and rural communities of Nuwara Eliya District to counter health hazards and socioeconomic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To train, prepare and empower selected marginalised estate and (peripheral) rural communities of Nuwara Eliya District, in partnership with relevant stakeholders in mobilising and facilitating identified interventions to provide health and socioeconomic emergency support to counter the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UN-Habitat, as practiced before, will adopt a people-centric approach, where communities will also be actively involved in identification, verification, implementation, and monitoring. UN-Habitat will collaborate with the District Secretariat, Nuwara Eliya (including Child and Women Development Units, Child Rights Promotion Branch, Social Services Branch, Agriculture Division and Information Centre), Regional Directorate of Health Services (including the COVID-19 Team of the Regional Directorate of Health Services), Ministry of Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development, Department of Agrarian Development, Local Authorities, Estate Workers Housing Cooperative Societies (EWHCS), and other relevant institutes and organisations.
UN-Habitat will utilise a mixed method in implementation which would empower the communities where some activities will be implemented through already established Community-Based Organisations (and those that are currently registered with the District Secretariat) under Community Implementation Agreements (CIAs). The rest of the activities will be directly executed by UN-Habitat with the support of the Government institutions mentioned above.
Result 1: Improved awareness on safety and health measures and hygiene practices to minimise the risk of spread of COVID-19.
Result 2: Improved measures on COVID-19 infection prevention and control.
Result 3: Improved response to SGBV/IMV and child abuse during COVID-19 pandemic.
Result 4: Increased food security, nutrition and economic sustainability.