IDEAS launches a post-tsunami reconstruction project
to build homes in Galle involving the people themselves
In Duwe Modera in Kosgoda in the Galle district a group of villagers
are keenly involved in post-tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation.
This hive of activity is from the beneficiaries of a project initiated
by a non-profit company called IDEAS.
prospective beneficiaries had been motivated by IDEAS volunteers
to take responsibility and participate in the reconstruction of
their own houses. Beneficiary participation has become the bottom
line to this project. Eight months after the tsunami, the beneficiaries
themselves have built eleven houses, with tiled roofs, electricity
and well water supplies. Nine of them are occupied.
is the acronym for "Initiatives in Development of Entrepreneur
Approaches and Strategies" a non-profit company registered
under the Sri Lanka Companies Act. Its members are Sri Lankan professionals
who reached the highest levels in the local public service and private
sector and senior levels in the international civil service. Pre-tsunami
they were pursuing the primary objectives of the organization and
helping small prospective entrepreneurs to get off the ground. They
have been generating their own funds through consultancy services
offered through their sister company Infotech - IDEAS [Pvt.] Ltd.,
and through management training programmes run by themselves. IDEAS
was not in the business of emergency relief operations.
Chairman Lalit Godamunne revealed how IDEAS came to be involved
in tsunami rehabilitation. With the tsunami disaster, friends of
IDEAS both local and foreign prevailed on the management to throw
in their experience into the area of tsunami reconstruction and
rehabilitation with assurances of funding. The funds available were
hardly sufficient to embark on such a programme but encouraged by
the spontaneous goodwill and trust demonstrated by friends of IDEAS
a project was launched in a tsunami-hit area. Mr. Godamunne supported
by his council members Shakuntala Kuruppu, K. Gunaratnam, Ronni
Weerakoon, Manel Abeysekera, Prof. K. K. Y. Perera, Nanda Abeywickrema
among others decided to work on tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation
in addition to their regular programmes.
the flow of funds from both Sri Lanka and abroad was added the free
and voluntary support in time and energy thrown in by architects,
lawyers and young people including architect Chandra Gunwardene,
Mahima Wijesinghe, a young executive at Hatton National Bank, Dilip
Jayawickrema, a young entrepreneur and Anoja Seneviratne.
two-step plan was adopted. In the first stage, depending on fund
availability, a housing programme was formulated where 10 houses
would be built. In stage two, a livelihood programme very much on
the lines of entrepreneur development would be introduced. IDEAS
was not inclined to give hand outs or, in the case of housing, build
houses and present them to tsunami victims. It had to be a joint
effort with the major responsibility for field organization, site
preparation and construction resting with the ultimate house owner.
IDEAS would provide the funds with an upper limit in instalments
as construction progressed. In addition, they would make available
technical support by way of architectural expertise and site advice
and monitor progress on a weekly basis.
management says the challenge was to motivate the beneficiaries
to commit themselves and take responsibility for the task of building
their own house. This meant that a devastated population had to
pull themselves together and start rebuilding their shattered lives
again. It is here the real commitment of the young volunteers came
to play. Their enthusiasm was infectious and spread to the beneficiary
participants. Soon each builder had mobilized his family both immediate
and extended to make a joint effort. Where carpenters and masons
were required, the village found their own at reduced rates.
management points out that when the project was planned the cost
of a 500 sq. ft. house was estimated at Rs. 350,000 with asbestos
roofing, no electricity or water supply. The actual cost has now
worked out between Rs. 275,000 and Rs. 300,000 which includes tiled
roofing, electricity and well water per house.The variation in actual
costs between Rs. 300,000 and Rs. 275,000 reflects the level of
personal skills available to the builder.
is encouraged by the turnaround of the people in Duwe Modera. Most
of them had lost a child, a mother or a grandmother. Those who participated
in the programme are smiling today and wanting to get ahead leaving
behind the tragedy the tsunami brought on them. This is the return
on investment the IDEAS group are looking for.
having got past the initial house buildings stage, is now gearing
upto the second phase, livelihood development.