Participatory approach for tsunami reconstruction
The Wellawatte in the Hikkaduwa Division stands as example for
successful post-tsunami reconstruction and positive collaboration
between a local community, an NGO and an international donor.
In this small village relief and rehabilitation have been carried out
through the project "Let's reconstruct Wellawatte," realised by the
Italian NGO Incontro Tra i Popoli on behalf of the Italian Civil
This Italian institution, relying directly on the Presidency of the
Council of Ministers of the Italian Government, deals with disaster
management and post-disaster reconstruction at national and
It was involved in the early post-tsunami response in the areas of
Galle, Matara and Trincomalee. The first group of relief experts arrived
here on December 27 immediately started to search for survivors and
realise emergency-related activities, such as providing food-items,
setting up emergency camps and arrange sanitary facilities.
Under the second phase, the Italian Civil Protection has undertaken
the reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, houses,
fishing boats as well as the supply of heavy machinery, water supply
schemes and other requirements for the restoration of various parts of
the coastal belt of Sri Lanka.
The interventions have been of two kinds: directly managed by the
donor itself, as it is the case of most schools and hospitals, and
realised through NGOs and other organisations. In this scenario the
reconstruction programme proposed by volunteer of Incontro Tra i Popoli
Roberto Nichele found its space and the possibility to be implemented.
He was already working in Wellawatte with a development project when
the tsunami reached Hikkaduwa on December 26, thus, he had deep
knowledge of the local with standings and of the papulation, and decided
to propose a participatory approach for the reconstruction of Wellawatte
project. In this regard, a Committee of nine has been formed with the
purpose of assessing the people's needs of determine the beneficiaries
and manage the overall handling of the project finance.
The involvement of local community has given very good results;
having every brick, tile and every grain of sand checked by the Town
Committee, the costs were reduced to the minimum: the average prices for
the construction of a one storeyed house amounts to 3 1/2 lakhs (Rs.
350,000), which is far below the average of tsunami reconstruction
projects of the same kind.
Moreover, the employment of local workers and the supervision of the
masonry works carried out by a villager, have contributed to expedite
realisation of the construction works:
Of the 74 houses scheduled in the project, 60 have already been
completed ready and 14 are well under way.
Therefore, in consideration of the expenditure and the elapsed time
for the project implementation, the project should be taken as example
for further interventions.