For the past three decades, EFL has involved consecutively in community development, building projects on wildlife conservation and habitat protection.
The need for this project arises with the concern that even to date, in much of the rural communities in the North and East, the locals are still unaware and uneducated about the laws and regulations protecting themselves and habitats.
Whilst some of these areas maybe the poorest or the smallest, they still boast necessary resources and networks to build a healthier community. The resources to tackle community affairs effectively are often present amongst the locals but remain unidentified due to the lack of awareness. However, each community is diverse and flourish with ideas and opportunities which provide scope for improvement.
Hence, this project proposes to conduct capacity building workshops for community based organisations (CBO’s) in the North and East provinces, in partnership with the Forest Conservation Department of Sri Lanka. As part of the Forest Department’s overall capacity building workshops, EFL will conduct workshops in community based organisations in the North and East Province, focusing on fundamental laws affecting various aspects of the locals’ lives.
The workshops will also serve as a forum for communities to discuss issues affecting their daily lives, share their experiences and learn from peers. With these forums, EFL will be able to explore the specific challenges encountered building peaceful communities at present and where parties would be empowered and encouraged to explore alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation or reconciliation.
These capacity building workshops intends to educate each individual with the knowledge of knowing fundamental laws which will undoubtedly provide a greater understanding of their responsibilities to themselves and to the environment. This programme will facilitate strong alliances of residents and regional interest groups to maintain a long-term vision for jurisdiction or region and support progress through implementation of sustainable development practices.
Additionally, EFL is in the process of compiling a book titled “An illustrated guide to the tree and timber species of the North and East Provinces of Sri Lanka: with related legislation”. EFL would be able to distribute the above mentioned publication during the workshop once published.
The workshops proposed by EFL will include the following components:
- Basic Introduction to the Legal System and Constitution
- An introduction to the history of the legal systems of Sri Lanka
- Basics of law making process under the constitution, process of the government
- Basic Court Structure
- Fundamental Rights Under the Constitution
- Introduction to the Fundamental Rights Chapter in the Constitution
- Basics of procedure in fundamental rights cases
- Civil Law: Basic overview
- Introduction to family law, property and ownership, disposal of property after death, contracts in the workplace
- How to institute a case
- Proceedings in a Magistrates Court, High Court, Commercial High Court
- What to do when faced with a Court Case
- How to retain a lawyer
- Aspects of Civil cases such as legal aid, proxies, ex parte decrees
- Criminal proceedings: Arrest, Rights of an accused, appeals and bail
- Basic Environmental Right and Responsibilities
- Distribution of up to date trilingual book on “ Your Environmental Rights and Responsibilities”
Each component will be followed by a Q/A session where the community members will have the opportunity to discuss specific issues related to their livelihood.