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Strengthening Green Gold Harvesters

Green Gold Harvesters is an initiative of Caritas Sri Lanka, with funding assistance from Misereor, a German Humanitarian Organization with the mandate of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference for Development Cooperation. Under this project, named, “Empowerment of Green Gold Harvesters”, the plantation communities in the dioceses of Galle, Kandy, Badulla and Rathnapura are being assisted to gain inclusion into mainstream society and to have increased access to State services and benefits.

This 2-year project includes activities such as legal clinics which would facilitate mobile governmental administrative services, livelihood support as well as substance abuse prevention programmes to stop the spread of social vices such as alcoholism which have ravaged the plantation communities for a long time. The overall project objective is to strengthen the marginalized and vulnerable communities in the plantation sector to achieve social and legal inclusion with the rest of society, while enjoying the civil, labour and human rights.

A two-day capacity building workshop was organized by Caritas Sri Lanka for the Programme Coordinators and community leaders recently. The programme    which was held from 14t to 16th September 2016 at SEDEC Auditorium was facilitated by Dr. A.S. Chandrabose, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Open University of Sri Lanka. The objective of this residential workshop was to update the plantation programme implementers and community leaders (CBO/ Vigilant Group Members) of the current situation of the plantation population and their role as Community Mobilizers.

During the training, the participants were made aware of the emerging issues in the plantation sector and guidelines were given as to how these issues could be addressed systematically without giving room for any misunderstanding or conflict with the employers and other stakeholders.

Dr. Chandrabose also explained the importance of gaining land-rights for the estate people, in addition to the need for decent housing. Further he emphasized the need to strengthen the plantation community to secure their rights through advocacy and lobbying while at the same time maintaining a level of cooperation and cordiality with Estate Managements.

Activities under this empowerment project will continue till the end of April 2017.