Piloting Livelihood Development and Capacity Building of People at Delft Island

 In Fund Project

Project Idea

After the conclusion of war, several comprehensive studies were carried out in the Jaffna Peninsula. Some of them are, ‘The Sustainable Development of Delft Island –IUCN (2013)’, ‘Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in Sri Lanka – CEPA (2012)’ & ‘Integrated Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka – CEA, UNDP, ENEP (2014).

Presently, a joint programme is proposed to develop the Delft Island into a sustainable tourism hub, by means of improving infrastructure, transport services and obtaining a conservation status for wild horses. This programme is spearheaded by several government and non-government bodies including the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka Navy, Archaeological Department and Dilmah Conservation. The programme also includes preservation of sites of archaeological importance and increasing awareness in terms of establishing informative boards on archaeological sites and directions.

As observed during several site visits in late 2014, the island population is over the age of 40 and the absence of younger generations is clear as they have migrated either overseas or to mainland Jaffna in search of employment opportunities. The main source of income to families living on the Island is through funds sent by their children/siblings and a few other means such as fishing and tourism. Although, proper infrastructure is not in place to handle sustainable tourism, the island receives a considerable number of visitors. The main issues faced by the island are its isolation and distance from the mainland. Delft is increasingly dependent on the mainland for resources, such as food, fuel and basic commodities. Agriculture as a form of livelihood is not sustainable due to the high salinity in the soil and lack of fresh water. Electricity is provided by diesel generators and water through Desalination plants. Delft receives minimal rainfall and as such, rain water harvesting is not a viable investment for residents.

We at EFL proposes piloting a Livelihood Development for people at Delft accounting the social context and availability of resources and opportunities and capacity building, to improve the basic income levels of people living in Delft Island. Through the assistance of local District Secretary officers, EFL hopes to handpick 100 women and 50 men from low income backgrounds with the aim of training them to develop a business through production, marketing and sustainable tourism. EFL specifically choses this series of programmes after studying the observations garnered through physically visiting the Delft Island several times and analysing the information published in reports mentioned above, published by the reputed organisations as well as thoroughly investigating the proposal for sustainable development of Delft Island. As the thematic areas of mapping and ecological restoration, water resource management are currently being addressed by the above mentioned programme, it was clear that no focus was made to improve the individual livelihoods of the residents themselves.


Objectives Key Activities Results (=Outputs) Deliverables
Objective 1:
Identification of beneficiaries of the project
Meeting with relevant stakeholders
Interviewing community members
1. Development of a key understanding on educational and skill levels of people in Delft2. Development of criteria for selection of beneficiaries

3. Identifying areas of key livelihood improvement methodologies through

4. Development of suitable livelihood options for the people in Delft

Selection of 150 beneficiaries from low income backgrounds & identifying key areas of livelihood development and most feasible methodology
Objective 2:
Livelihood Development and Capacity Building of selected beneficiaries
Conduct training on weaving using the abundant Palmyra leaves

Conducting training programmes on the production of vinegar.

Conduct workshops on Banking, Marketing & Location Specific Sustainable Eco Tourism
Introduce methods of eco-tourism such as cycling/boat rides

Identification and establishment of direct communication and networks between producer and seller (e.g Cargills)
One workshop dedicated to free training of all self-employed people on banking/capacity building

Development of skills needed for sustainable production and marketing of specific products.

Increase awareness on the archaeological/ecological significance of the Island and methods of controlling tourist influx.

Introducing new methods of income through eco-tourism.

Establishing a market basis and a direct source of income for the beneficiaries.

Establishment of sustainability in livelihoods in terms of knowledge on banking and management of funds.

150 skilled individuals who can independently produce/market and sustain an income through alternative forms of livelihoods.

Increased income levels (exact percentage of increment could not be evaluated until a baseline survey is conducted), however, 30% additional income for beneficiaries could be expected) of 150 individuals in Delft Island

Much empowered individuals on Banking, Basic Accounting/Capacity Building and other related services for self-employment

Objective 3:
Development of a model for enhancing the socio economic context of Northern Communities
1.Process documentation, and regular monitoring, learning and evaluation Ensuring sustainability of the programme and support replication in similar contexts Documentation of processes and learnings of the project to develop a model on livelihood development

The direct beneficiaries from the project will be chosen among residents themselves, improving their livelihoods and reducing their dependency on funds from their children and other sources of unsustainable income. Presently, the main income generator is fishing, shifting the focus to other sources will result in less dependence on this resource and as a result, the decline of population of fish species overtime will recue in the region and will be able to recover via sustainable ecosystems.

Where will the project be implemented?

Delft Island will be the main focus of the project and we will be working with the Delft Divisional Secretariat, the 06 Grama Niladari division/s and the 24 villages it encompasses. Delft consists a population of 4508 individuals and 1314 families (Department of Census and Statistics, 2012).

Relevance to the MFF criteria and the priorities indicated in the Call for Application

This project will focus on the thematic area of “Introduction of sustainable livelihood options (other than fishing) for coastal resource dependent communities with a view to building economic resilience and reducing pressures on coastal resources (e.g., homestead agricultural production, tourism etc.) – Delft Island, Coastal areas of Jaffna peninsula” as stated in the MFF criteria, developing sustainable livelihoods for a selected number of individuals as a pioneer project.

This project identifies the gender specific employment opportunities available to the people of Delft Island, and focuses on specific areas which are beneficial and sustainable to each individual. The workshops and training programmes will identify the limitations of each individual and assist them in overcoming social beliefs and perceptions in order to enhance their individual as well as their family sustainability. Additionally, each individual will learn to effectively use the resources available to them.

Project Management

The project is managed by EFL, through the appointment of a full time coordinator and allocation of relevant support staff where necessary, with overall supervision and guidance provided by the Programmes Manager and Board of Directors. EFL will maintain constant communication and transparency with all partners/resource persons to ensure the smooth operation of the project from implementation to conclusion. The Project Consultant and process documentation will be in kind contribution.

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