Sri Lanka

Supported by Oxfam, Daw Ma Khine Oo is very active in the community, advocating for community needs and supporting others when their rights are infringed. Credit: Dustin Barter

With the end of a nearly 30 year civil war in May 2009, Sri Lanka entered into a post-war stage, achieving lower middle-income status. This has presented a space to achieve a just and sustainable peace and a development process that could provide citizens with opportunities to overcome poverty and inequality.

The headline economic and social indicators for Sri Lanka show a very positive picture, with strong progress across many social indicators:

  • Sri Lanka‘s Human Development Index is in the high category;
  • the economy is growing; there have been dramatic reductions in consumption poverty; and
  • the country is set to achieve several of the Millennium Development Goals.

These impressive achievements, coupled with the lack of state ‘fragility’, despite almost three decades of internal conflict and war, present a very positive image.

Significant gaps, however, remain.

These indicators do not reflect continuing inequalities and trends of poverty in Sri Lanka’s social-economic and political contexts. The predominant focus is on economic development that invests heavily in infrastructure development and private sector growth, with little or no emphasis on the equally important reconciliation processes and socio-political reconstruction needed. Many of the war‘s underlying causes remain. New risks, vulnerabilities and grievances are also emerging and impacting negatively on the social, political and economic fabric of the country.

The next five years will be crucial for the creation of a just and sustainable peace.

Oxfam in Sri Lanka

Framed by our country vision, “All citizens, especially women and vulnerable groups, are empowered to live in dignity and free from injustice, poverty and conflict,” we work to achieve the following in Sri Lanka:

Economic Justice

Poor and vulnerable people, particularly women, have improved food security, and have more sustainable and resilient livelihoods.

Gender Justice

More poor and vulnerable women claim and exercise their rights, live free from violence and are in positions of leadership, influencing structures, processes and practices for equitable social change.

Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian

Vulnerable communities, particularly women, are more resilient to the negative impacts of natural hazards, climate change and conflict. 

In addition to these three broad objectives, underpinning and integrated into all our work are these two cross cutting themes:

  • Peace building and conflict transformation
  • Active citizenship and accountability.