His Excellency Tung-Lai Margue, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, being welcomed by the homeowners at the project site in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.

European Union-funded housing project starts in Sri Lanka

2,455 families to benefit from the house building component of a Euro 14 million grant

COLOMBO, 20 February 2017 ─ More than 215, 000 people will benefit from a Euro 14 million multi-faceted housing project, financed by the European Union (EU), and implemented by Habitat for Humanity and World Vision Lanka.

Speaking during the opening ceremony on February 16, 2017, Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives for the Delegation of the European Union (EU), HE Tung-Laï Margue said, "I am hopeful that this project will assist in providing returnee families with not just homes and livelihood alternatives but also the necessary support to rebuild a life and a future for themselves. The goal has always been to turn the cycle of impoverishment and reliance to that of self-sufficiency, and I am encouraged to see that we are moving in the right direction through this initiative".

The project, which bridges the gap between relief, rehabilitation and development, aims to build 2,315 houses and repair 140 homes in 31 divisions across Batticaloa, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu by early 2020. It utilises alternative materials and techniques to reduce constructions costs, while ensuring decent housing, and to encourage the use and production of locally manufactured earth blocks and construction materials.

“The project is aptly entitled ‘Homes not Houses’. Indeed we wish to see thriving communities that are self-sufficient, stable and strong, once our building work is done and we are long gone. Thanks to the focus of this funding from the European Union the project aims to boost the local economy by investing in earth-based technologies which are cost-effective and sustainable,” said Torre Nelson, Area Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Habitat for Humanity.

The project activities include:

  • Access to permanent housing including houses built with innovative materials (compressed stabilized earth blocks and earth concrete blocks).
  • Appropriate incremental building through microcredit to expand a home or create a place of business.
  • “Flanking measures” relating to general livelihood support for families and communities such as vocational training in construction, training in appropriate building materials and methods, and forming and strengthening small and medium enterprises.
  • Training families in financial literacy including savings plans, microfinance and basics of business. Improved access to appropriate microfinance and management of debt.
  • A more holistic approach of strengthening community-based organizations, supporting disaster risk reduction, peace building and gender equity.

Commenting, on this endeavor, National Director of World Vision Lanka, Dhanan Senathirajah, said “We are proud to be associated with this project. One of the main strengths of World Vision Lanka is its community engagement and livelihood development expertise. I believe our interventions in this sphere will be key to transform houses into happy and stable homes.”

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort. The housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit altenheime-hamburg.info.

About World Vision Lanka
World Vision is a Christian, relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. The organisation serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender and has been in Sri Lanka since 1977. The organization has 45 programmes spread across 19 Districts in the country.