On the banks of the Lunawa River in Moratuwa, just south of Sri Lanka's capital city of Colombo, we are partnering with UN Habitat to construct a Livelihood Support and Community Centre for tsunami-affected people.
The project forms part of a wider resettlement program being implemented by the UN that was initiated in 2002 to respond to the needs of local residents suffering from annual flooding of the nearby river and lagoon during monsoon seasons; both of which are heavily polluted from the mass of industrial waste that is poured directly from nearby industries. Measures to prevent the river from being polluted and from overflowing are being carried out through government funding via a loan from a Japanese Bank.
When the tsunami struck in December 2004, the project expanded to incorporate long-term relief for the victims of this particular disaster. One hundred tsunami-affected families will be re-housed in the Lunawa project.
Community Action Plan:
The implementation of the entire project is being carried out through a "Community Action Plan" (CAP) process, which is a participatory methodology whereby the individual beneficiaries are empowered to take control of their own rehabilitation. Individual families have been awarded direct contracts to undertake the construction of their own houses and Community Development Councils have been established to look after the larger communal interests such as service installations and social welfare programmes.
The construction of the Livelihood Support and Community Centre will operate in this manner with project funds being awarded to the representative council in the form of a Community Contract. In this way donated funds benefit the community immediately and directly. Respectability is thus provided to the community through the award of the formal contract and people are brought together to be organised for the undertaking of the communal work with technical inputs from the staff of Architecture for Humanity, UN-Habitat and the Local Authority.
The new Community building will be a two-story structure comprising flexible workshops for small local industries at ground-floor level and a community hall on the first floor. WCs and a Kitchen will be provided along with external recreation space. The facility will occupy the centre of the housing site that will give onto the new main access road and river beyond.