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Our Projects

Promote Community Engagement in Transitional Justice  

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 Considering the prevailing issues and the post conflict political scenario of the country, ISD strategized to address the issues by driving the community to actively engage in Transitional Justice process and to use the currently available avenues to demand basic right and development needs. As the first step, the members of the hill country Tamil civil society will be empowered on new political situation and the existing institutions to ensure rights which can be enjoy under the local government (Pradesiya Sabha) and divisional secretariat’s role. This awareness will be conducted for the selected Pradesiya Sabha areas in the Kandy & Matale district which are neglected by the government. The resident of the selected estates will be encouraged to form rural development and women rural development societies. Once RDS & WRDS were formed then automatically the community will make linkages with the divisional secretariat and local government institution thus obtains the services.  Simultaneously the civil society of the wider section will be enlighten on Transitional Justice(TJ) and the imperative role of active engagement to raise the issue of the hill country community who live in North and South.

The key leaders of the civil society organizations such trade union, peasant societies, youth clubs, women’s organizations will be capacitate on TJ and the fundamental issues of the community in order to make representations and submission to the commissions and the policy makers.

To achieve this, the ISD will implement the following;

I.  Capacitate the plantation community on the role of governance, RDS and WRDS.

2. Capacitate the community members on transitional justice and vital issues of the community.

 

Strengthen the citizenry leadership among the plantation community by emphasizing the women's leadership.

                                                                                                                                                                         

 
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The main objective of the program is the inclusion of the plantation community under the agenda of the local government programs. During the past 3 years, the ISD was engaged in promoting Community based Organizations; in other words; CBOs and WCBOs in Central & Uva provinces in Sri Lanka while lobbying to bring legal changes to the local government Act, which deprives the Tamil minority plantation community from enjoying development and political rights.

Community based organizations are formed and built their capacities and knowledge on democracy, governance, and the roles of local government institutions and Divisional Secretariats thereby intend to obtain services provided by the government and upgrade the living standards  of the estate community.  Under this project, CBOs & WCBOs are strengthened to actively engage in community development activities such as infrastructural development and welfare of the community.

 

UTZ Tea Certification in Sri Lanka

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The UTZ certification focuses on improving worker’s rights and ensuring their health and safety while promoting social and environmental friendly production techniques, adopting Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and promoting efficient agricultural and farm management practices. Thus, UTZ certified tea can achieve higher prices in the world market by ensuring better quality in terms of production standards and social guidelines. This allows exporters to tap into niche markets, targeting socially and environmentally conscious consumers who are willing to pay a premium for such ethically responsible products. In the best case scenario, the UTZ certification will lead to a win-win situation where the estates can tap into niche markets, the workers enjoy better work standards and social issues in the estate communities can be tackled with the premium money. One of the main requirements to get the certification is to establish an Internal Management System consisting of lead workers, management staff and union representatives who through monthly meetings ensure that the UTZ requirements are met and jointly decide what the premium will be used for.
 
The ISD in collaboration with Solidaridad South and South East Asia has implemented a project introducing UTZ certification in two estates. The objective of this project is to develop sustainable tea supply chains in Sri Lanka to meet the growing need of the industry.
 

Promoting Decent Labour Standards in the Sri Lankan Tea Sector through UTZ certification

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One of the reasons for the major drawback in the Sri Lankan tea sector is due to lack of decent working environment and low productivity among tea estates and small holders. This led to the initiation of implementing a project to focus on promoting decent working environment in the Sri Lankan tea sector by
expanding UTZ certification and the sustainability of the tea industry by capacity building and strengthening the employees and managers on GAP, GMP, OHS, first aid and good labour practices to three new estates of the Nuwara Eliya district namely Uda Radalla, Nuwara Eliya and Alma. This pilot project commenced in 2014 latter. The ISD's experience on advocating for the rights of the plantation workers for over a period of two decades and its involvement in promoting UTZ tea certification in Sri Lanka with strengthened networks helped to establish new networks and to successfully commence the implementation of the project.
 

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