Human economy

"For a human, integral, united and participative development in harmony with the living"


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Human Development Organization (HDO) - Sri Lanka


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The Human Development Organization (HDO) in Sri Lanka is a member organization of the RIEH, working in particular with agricultural workers on tea plantations. People standing up and reacting! to defend a vision of the world in solidarity. It is about understanding how the system works and how it creates exclusion in order to change it. This means creating solidarity and not competition, as of now. In its area of intervention HDO is mobilizing all the stakeholders to act on the different aspects of the fight against the pandemic.




We live in an unexpected time on the globe. The beginnings of Covid-19 and its accelerated spread not only led to the declaration of a global pandemic by the WHO, but also highlighted the fragility of health services and the powerlessness of the world's most vulnerable populations, exacerbating the inequalities that already exist in society. We share some excerpts...



The Human Development Organization (HDO) has initiated a number of immediate measures to combat the Coronavirus in the Central Region. These are :



Support and solidarity with health clinics.


HDO has received a number of requests from the Regional Director of Health Services, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy Districts, Medical Officers of Health and government authorities to provide them with medical and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use by doctors, nurses, public health inspectors, public health midwives, health workers, etc. Although equipment is scarce in the market, HDO is able to procure or produce PPE even during the curfew periods: face masks, gloves, hand washing disinfectants. This equipment has been delivered to the Nuwara Eliya Health Centre, the Kandy Health Centre, Ministry of Health officers in Maskeliya and Galaha, district secretariats, divisional secretariats, and police stations in the Kandy region. Thanks to the Fondation Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World Foundation), France for supporting this initiative.



Raising public awareness.


At this point, we, the civil society organizations and the general public, come together as one family and as a country as a whole to respect and support the decisions taken by the government. Together with the authorities, we have identified the populations least informed about the disease and the protection measures: the tea plantation workers' community, rural women, workers in the informal sector, migrant workers, children. In this context, the HDO organized awareness programmes on Covid-19 through the radio programmes "VIDIYAL" and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The lack of Tamil speaking civil servants is also a challenge, so we are organizing awareness programmes in Tamil language for the benefit of the plantation community and other minorities. The programme reaches the Central, Uva and Sabragamuwa provinces.


For these awareness-raising programs, community volunteers and HDO staff establish and strengthen coordination with the authorities. They provide information on Covid-19, health facilities, government subsidies, delivery of vegetables and food products, etc. for the benefit of the public which is seeking access to public services. The Government of Sri Lanka provides information on the health status of Covid in each district through Media Network and mobile phones.

It also shows how to protect oneself from the spread of the Corona virus through pictures so that illiterate people can easily understand and practice protective measures. In containment zones, family members can easily understand these measures and practice them to stop the spread of the virus and be safe.

However, there is still a need to raise awareness among marginalized groups in their own language. Prevention is better than cure. For this HDO proposes to design, print and distribute information material such as leaflets, posters, stickers, booklets, CDs. HDO staff have already designed posters and stickers.



Capacity building for health workers.


The Covid-19 is a new challenge in the field of health and medicine. Many health workers and volunteers are supporting the health authorities to defeat the Coronavirus. In this regard, we are organizing capacity building trainings for health workers and volunteers from civil society organizations on the technical side of Covid-19 and future challenges for local communities.



Development of cooperatives.


HDO offers a service to put producer-farmers (vegetables, dairy products, food products, fruit, ayurvedic medicines...) in contact with consumers to guarantee quality products at a fair price for the benefit of consumers and farmers. A discussion has been initiated with district secretariats, divisional secretariats, the Department of Agriculture, farmers' groups and community organizations on the construction of a cooperative system. Thus HDO proposes to build a mobile fair market system.



Support for food self-sufficiency.


The International organizations are beginning to fear that the already high number of victims of VIDOC-19 will be worsened by deaths from lack of food, particularly in the world's most vulnerable countries. According to FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, uncertainty about food availability may prompt decision-makers to take restrictive measures to safeguard national food security.

... In 2007-2008, these measures proved extremely detrimental, especially for low-income food-deficit countries, and thwarted the efforts of humanitarian organizations to procure food for the needy and vulnerable.

... The health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on some of the poorest countries are still unknown. Yet we can say with certainty that any crisis in food supply resulting from bad policy will be a humanitarian disaster.

In this context, the HDO and Civil Society Organisations propose to support local communities to initiate local food production: kitchen gardens, production of small fruits and vegetables, animal husbandry, support to small farmers, promotion of micro and small enterprises, etc. HDO is in discussion with the seed production unit of the Peradeniya Department of Agriculture on this subject. We plan to provide vegetable seeds to communities in our target areas. HDO is also visiting the plantation community politicians, plantation management and the government to provide the bare land available in the plantations for young people and unemployed families for agricultural production. HDO is seeking generous support from partners and sponsors to carry out the project.



Food emergency.


HDO plans to provide basic foodstuffs to thousands of disadvantaged people, women and children on plantations, day labourers, the disabled, and the elderly who have limited access to basic food grains during this period of confinement. The Organization plans to provide basic services to families during the period of confinement and until the situation returns to normal when people can go out and earn a living. HDO is seeking generous support from partners and sponsors to carry out the project.