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Sri Lanka project wins international funding competition

March 16, 2017

The Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project has been named a winner of this year’s Global Resilience Challenge, enabling a major expansion of Seacology’s landmark nationwide project. The competition, hosted by the international Global Resilience Partnership, selected a number of organizations working to bolster communities against climate change and natural disasters in Africa and Asia.

The nearly $1 million grant will let Seacology expand the initiative’s reach and deepen its impact in the country’s northern and eastern regions. As the scientific consensus builds about the importance of mangroves in sequestering carbon, protecting coastal communities from storms, and supporting fisheries, Sri Lanka will be in an even better position to demonstrate these important benefits.

“This project makes Sri Lanka the first nation in the world to protect all of its mangrove forests. This is very important as mangroves sequester more carbon than other forests and thus play a vital role in the battle against global warming,” said Duane Silverstein, Seacology’s executive director. “Funding from GRP allows us to expand this program in the northern and eastern portions of Sri Lanka which were disproportionately impacted by the 26-year civil war.”

The new funding will also let us expand the microfinance and job-training components of the project. Seacology and our Sri Lankan partner organization, Sudeesa, will open a new job-training center and increase the value of each microloan offered under the program from $45 to $100. This increase may seem small by Western standards, but it can be life-changing in Sri Lanka, where monthly incomes are often as low as $70. A small amount of financial assistance can offer a path out of poverty for some of the country’s most vulnerable inhabitants, who are essential partners in our effort to protect the country’s remaining mangrove forests.

We’re very excited by the possibilities this award represents, for Seacology, for the nation of Sri Lanka, and for the broader cause of mangrove conservation.