Who

We work on behalf of all citizens, especially women, people with disabilities, youth, and other marginalized groups.

What

Encourage more inclusive civic participation to promote equality and protection of citizens’ rights.

Where

Countrywide throughout Sri Lanka.

How

Strengthening civil society organizations in Sri Lanka by building their capacity to achieve their missions.

 

Challenge

From 1983 to 2009, Sri Lanka was immersed in a civil war driven by ethnic conflict, which left Sri Lankans with physical and emotional scars. The progress of reconciliation within the country and civic inclusion by the government has been slow following the war, frustrating many citizens. That frustration, combined with government reluctance towards open discussion and civic participation, feeds a growing skepticism among the people of Sri Lanka about their influence and roles in decisions affecting their lives.

Promise

Support for Professional and Institutional Capacity Enhancement (SPICE) program works with local civil society organizations, building their capacity to more effectively promote inclusion and improve responsive participation between civil society and the governing leaders of Sri Lanka, especially in conflict-affected areas. Through assessments and trainings, organizations improve their financial management, administration, and implementation skills. The program empowers these organizations to become more sustainable and efficient as they advocate for the rights of marginalized populations, for inclusive governance, and for continued peace in their country.

Impact

Counterpart has had program oversight, monitored implementation, set up evaluation methodology and coordinated the efforts of implementing partners throughout the SPICE program. In addition, Counterpart has awarded 117 sub-grants totaling more than $5 million USD to civil society organizations that work to protect human rights, promote inclusion, serve the needs of citizens, and encourage partnership between government and civil society. Some of SPICE program sub-grantees include:

  • Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) assists victims of human rights violations to seek legal remedies, advocates for human rights, and provides grassroots training to contribute to the national discourse on transitional justice. CHRD presented recommendations to UN delegates when its representatives attended the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, in June 2016. The recommendations focused on issues related to Sri Lanka’s transitional justice processes, the Office of Missing Persons and the Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms.
  • International Center for Ethnic Studies (ICES) works to deepen the understanding of ethnicity, identity politics and conflict, and to build a more inclusive, just and peaceful society through research and knowledge sharing. The grant will help ICES address gaps in Sri Lanka’s transitional justice system, focusing on prosecutions, truth-seeking, reparations and memorialization.
  • Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) This grant supports developing an open government partnership to achieve more transparent and accountable governance in Sri Lanka. TISL focuses on forming a civil society coalition and drafting a two-year National Action Plan (NAP) with collaboration from citizens and local government. TISL is also assisting in monitoring the government’s commitment to the NAP.

Previous Programs in Sri Lanka

From 1997 until 2002, Counterpart implemented the Forest Gardens program in partnership with the NeoSynthesis Research Centre (NSRC), which uses research and activism to improve Sri Lanka’s sustainable agricultural practices. Counterpart worked to advance NSRC’s Analog Forest model, through which smallholder farmers were trained to implement organic gardening systems that restored degraded lands and biodiversity. These new agricultural practices helped improve livelihoods for farmers, generating economic and social benefits, while also benefitting the environment.

The Forest Gardens program successfully:

  • promoted broad-scale development of organic gardening systems;
  • increased farmers’ income;
  • fostered responsible management of water resources and landscapes; and
  • restored native biodiversity in rural lands.

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

SPICE program Sustainable Development Goals addressed

Partners

Funder: United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Implementing Partners: Management Systems International (MSI) – prime implementer, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), and International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL).

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