Workshop on the Lessons learnt from the Green Coast Project 25- 26 February 2008, Colombo
Four organizations, namely, Both ENDS, World Wide Fund for Nature and Natural Resources, Wetlands International and IUCN Netherlands Committee, implemented a project entitled Coastal ecosystems and livelihoods after the tsunami during the period from July 2005 to December 2007 with funding from Oxfam N(o)VIB. This project focused on five Tsunami-affected countries in Asia: India, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. In Sri Lanka, the IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office was vested with implementation responsibility.
The overall goal of the project was to support and restore local livelihoods in Tsunami-affected areas through rehabilitation and sustainable management of coastal ecosystems. This goal was to be pursued through three interrelated components, namely:
a) Providing support to environmental and socio-economic assessments with the dual objective of guiding policies and strategies at various levels for sustainable coastal rehabilitation and to identify high priority areas for community based rehabilitation activities/projects;
b) Influencing policies and strategies for coastal rehabilitation and management, particularly to support the Green Coast concept; and
c) Implementation of community based rehabilitation projects through a Small Grants Facility
The Project addressed these objectives by providing small grants to community based organizations, non-governmental organizations and Universities. Twenty nine (29) small grants were provided through a well-structured Small Grants Facility implemented by IUCN SL. In order to take stock of achievements, results, successes and failures after 2.5 years of implementing the project in Sri Lanka, and also to learn and share experiences of each other a “ Lessons learnt workshop” was held from 25-26 February 2008 at Renuka Hotels in Colombo.
Grantees presented lessons learnt from their projects on the first day of the workshop. These lessons were grouped under three main categories; policy, ecosystem restoration activities, and livelihood enhancement activities and the main lessons arising from the presentations were synthesized and presented to a larger gathering comprising of government officials, and selected NGOs involved in such activities.
Some of the key lessons are recaptured below.
- Sustenance of results were more prominent in projects implemented with community participation.
- Women formed the backbone of group activities (98% participation)
- Good results are clearly visible in projects implemented with adequate planning, proper coordination and leadership.
- All projects should have an effective exit mechanism for sustenance of outputs of the project. (to transform from donor funded to self-sustaining operation)
- Collaboration with local authorities/Municipal Councils and relevant institutes attribute for the success of the programme