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Fostering Collaborative Partnerships: ASI's engagement with civil society

ASI convenor's visits to member organisations during November – December, 2023


In November 2023, ASI Convenor, Mr. Samantha Abeywickrama, embarked on insightful visits to member Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), emphasizing collaboration and addressing critical issues. These visits, which took place throughout the period of two months, highlighted the pivotal role CSOs play in shaping policy decisions and community development.



During his visit to the Social Institute for Development of Plantation Sector (SIDSP) office in Maskeliya, Mr. Samantha engaged in a productive dialogue with directors and staff. The discussion focused on capacity building in participatory project monitoring and training in the Right to Information (RTI) process to address impending infrastructure challenges in plantation areas.


In Jaffna, Mr. Samantha's visit to the Social Organizations Networking for Development (SOND) office shed light on pressing socio-economic issues in public infrastructure development in the Northern Province. SOND stressed the need for knowledge transfer and capacity development among local stakeholders involved in infrastructure decision-making, emphasizing their readiness to collaborate with ASI.


Additionally, discussions with the Confederation of Micro, Small & Medium Industries (COSMI) underscored the importance of involving the private sector in ASI's strategies. COSMI and its member body, the Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB), are set to implement specific activities of the ongoing project, aiming to bring a vibrant private sector perspective into ASI's initiatives.


Furthermore, Mr. Samantha's visit to the Social Welfare Organization of Ampara District (SWOAD) highlighted concerns about large-scale ilmenite/sand extraction and environmental consequences. SWOAD sought ASI's assistance in addressing public complaints and proposed a training program on citizen monitoring and participation in local infrastructure projects.


In December, ASI took a significant step towards community participation in infrastructure development by launching People's Forums on Sustainable Infrastructure in key regions of Sri Lanka. In Jaffna, the Plantation Community, and the Ampara district, these forums served as inclusive platforms for stakeholders to engage in dialogue and collaboration on sustainable infrastructure projects.



The inaugural People's Forum in Jaffna saw over 50 attendees representing diverse backgrounds, with Prof. Balasundarampillai, former Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University and Mr. S Senthuraj, Executive Director of SOND being elected as Co-Chairmen. 

Similar forums were established in the Plantation Community and the Ampara district, symbolizing ASI's commitment to fostering community participation and empowerment in infrastructure development.


ASI Convenor's visit to the Social Welfare Organization of Ampara District (SWOAD) unveiled concerns about large-scale ilmenite and sand extraction causing significant environmental consequences. SWOAD sought ASI's assistance in addressing public complaints and proposed a training program on citizen monitoring and participation in local infrastructure projects. This visit highlighted the crucial role CSOs play in ensuring infrastructure development and environmental sustainability.


These engagements with CSOs and the establishment of People's Forums mark significant milestones in ASI's journey towards promoting sustainable infrastructure practices and fostering community-driven development initiatives. As ASI continues its mission, we thank all partners and stakeholders for their support and commitment to creating a better, more sustainable future for Sri Lanka.





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