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Sri Lanka

Uraniya Lagoon

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Conservation benefit: Conservation of 2,965 acres of coast swamp and mangrove for 10 years

Conservation benefit: Construction of a coastal resource conservation and livelihood development center

Date Approved: 01.2011

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Communities in eastern Sri Lanka are slowly recovering from the 30-year civil war that ended in 2009. The communities continue to feel losses; they have been displaced from their original homes, 22 percent of families lost their breadwinners, and 38 percent of children lost their schools. The majority of women are destitute (29,856 total in the province). Most of them engage in shallow-water fishing, which means they depend on the coastal lagoon system. But the war caused great destruction to these mangrove lagoons. The natural tidal system and drainage were blocked, and fish breeding grounds dried up. The estimated loss of coastal forest and swamp in the Ampare District is 2,965 acres.

To help restore these crucial ecosystems, the community will protect 2,965 acres of coastal swamp and mangrove area. Within this area, they will replant 642 acres with 260,000 mangroves and protect it as a demonstration area. More than 420,000 schoolchildren in the Eastern Province will have access to the center. Widows and school dropouts will be engaged in conservation activities, and will learn business skills without damaging the coastal environment. The area will be protected for at least 10 years.

The Small Fishers Federation of Sri Lanka (SFFL or Sudeesa) will use a Seacology grant to build a resource conservation and livelihood development center. Women and school dropouts, mainly from the Tamil community, will receive vocational training. Seacology partnered with Sudeesa to fund the Kiralakele Mangrove Resource Centre in the country’s south.

Project Updates

June 2012

Building construction is in progress, with an inauguration ceremony planned for July 2012. The main structure of the building is almost completed and roof work is in progress. After construction is completed, this centre will be the main place for meetings, demonstrations, livelihood training and micro banking and micro business development for women and youngsters.

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January 2012

Site preparation and foundation work has been completed. Construction has commenced but is slow due to heavy rains. Construction is expected to be completed by April 2012. The existing center has been rehabilitated, and women’s livelihood activities have commenced. Four lagoon conservation organizations have been set up, and the women and children in these organizations are actively involved in protecting the lagoon systems from illegal timber cutting and encroachment into the lagoon conservation areas. Dried fish production has been identified as a major livelihood of fisherwomen, and 162 women have already been trained for this. Central Bank of Sri Lanka has agreed to sponsor this part of the program. Mangrove species have been identified and seeds are being collected to propagate in the nursery.

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June 2011

Funds have been sent to the Small Fishers Federation of Lanka, the organization that is managing the project

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