Current EIIP Involvement
The ILO has supported the infrastructure sector in Sri Lanka for a number of years, including giving aid to the Institute for Construction Training and Development. This led to ASIST AP (a hub of EIIP in Asia) beginning its involvement in 2003. EIIP is currently working with the Government to develop capacity at the decentralized level for the sustainable delivery and maintenance of rural roads.
Current Situation of Rural Roads
The lack of access to various services at the rural level has been an issue due to poor upgrading and maintenance of existing rural roads. Some recent studies have revealed that the main transport need in the rural areas in Sri Lanka is the introduction of an improved system of upgrading and maintenance of rural roads. The majority of the roads in Sri Lanka’s road network come under the category of rural roads, which amount in total to over 65,000 km. The local authority responsible for these roads – the Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) - generally are constrained by inadequate funds for upgrading and maintenance of the rural road network. The general perception is that gravel roads are constructed through a lower standard of technology. In the past, most of these roads together with some unregistered roads were upgraded and maintained byShramadana' (labour donation) organized by local NGOs and CBOs.
Scope of Current Support
The programme is in its earliest stages but a number of interlinked activities are underway.
- In April and May 2004, a training programme on practical skills for labour-based road works was held in Colombo and Monaragala. This was for PSs together with local contractors and was paid for by a World Bank PHRD grant. Further training may be done as part of a Ministry of Samurdhi World Bank Project.
- With support from ASIST AP consultants, the Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance (SLILG), part of the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, completed a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) of the decentralized government agencies responsible for rural road infrastructure in August 2004. Funding was provided by the ILO country programme.
- The TNA also looked at SLILG's own training needs in respect to its mandate of providing technical support to the decentralized agencies. The TNA was completed in 2004. Training materials for labour-based road rehabilitation and maintenance are now being prepared by local consultants and training of trainers will be undertaken shortly.
- The World Bank has asked ILO ASIST AP for support in the preparation of the rural roads component of a major road sector project. The TNA links into this process and will be used as the basis for formulating technical assistance under the project.
- In line with the ILO's commitment to post conflict reconstruction and as part of the 4R Transition Programme in the North and East, ILO ASIST AP will implement demonstration and training programmes on a labour based road rehabilitation project in Kilinocchi undertaken by UNDP and WFP.
- EIIP is collaborating with United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to develop and implement IRAP activities in Ampara district with EU funding. A technical assistance project has been approved and implementation has started.