Development and Peace (DPSL)
Since the 1980s, Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a protracted armed conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil (LTTE) and Government armed forces. Switzerland is supporting the peace building process through various interventions of the Political Affairs Department IV and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, SDC. According to the joint Swiss Medium Term Plan for Human and Security (SMTP) in Sri Lanka 2007-09, such interventions shall exclusively serve the purpose of peace building. Conventional development projects will therefore not be pursued also in view of the relatively advanced stage of the country’s economy.
The DPSL Project was initiated in 2000 as a “Regieprojekt” based on the submission of a proposal jointly developed by Helvetas and Swisscontact. It combined conventional development with reconciliation and peace building efforts in the two Districts of Batticaloa and Ampara of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Following initial promising results, phase 3 was reconceived for a period from January 2004 till December 2007 with focuses on employment creation for unemployed youth (implemented by Swisscontact) and enhancing agro-based income for small-scale farmers (implemented by Helvetas). Both agencies promote interactions between the three main ethnic groups, the Singhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities and hence offer an opportunity and challenge to gain experiences in working in a multiethnic area with the aim of peace development.
The external review carried out in May 2007 concluded that DPSL successfully blends socio-economic development with peace building. Swisscontact’s approach of ‘counselling cycles’ applied in vocational training programmes has become a model of interethnic trust building among youth of different ethnic groups. Trained young people do obtain employment and are more resilient to the often aggressive recruitments by armed forces. Helvetas on its part has successfully introduced and promoted a low-cost agricultural extension service (LEISA) that applies interethnic practices in the framework of ‘peaceful co-existence committees’. Both programmes are working with decentralized government institutions and a network of service providers.
Based on the recommendations of the external review, a final phase IV of three years was prepared by Helvetas and Swisscontact with the following outlines where the overall goal of DPSL is to support an enabling environment for peace in Ampara and Batticaloa districts of Eastern Province consolidating and replicating the achievements made so far. DPSL is a programme well accepted by Sri Lankan authorities and enhances Switzerland’s credibility to remain engaged in the country’s peace building process.
The first objective of the programme implemented by Swisscontact is to have as entry point the improvement of job qualifications and employment opportunities for unemployed youth. The second objective, implemented by Helvetas, is to continue to focus on the increase of income from agriculture through improved extension services. Strategies will be pursued through the programme that transfers ownership of know-how and processes to local institutions and partners.
Contact Details: More information of the project can be obtained from:
Walter Horn, Director Asia & Eastern Europe, Swisscontact (email@example.com)