A new progressive scheme to achieve development goals through the technique of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), which is based on the 4Ps method, got underway recently. We were able to set this in motion in face of many complications and impediments. This was accomplished with the incorporation of governmental and non-governmental organisations and the associated community.
The initiative awareness programme of the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was scheduled to be held from 16th – 18th February 2018 in Meewellawa village, Thirippane Divisional Secretariat in Anuradhapura. Nevertheless, it was postponed due to Local Government Elections.
However, at the Field Coordinators’ Monthly Review Meeting held on 27th February 2018, it was decided to conduct this programme at Therunnansegama, 216 A Hagala Gramasevaka Division, Embilipitiya Divisional Secretariat in Rathnapura District.
The District Coordinator of Sap Sri in Rathnapura is Wasana Sudesh. He proposed this village should be helped as he has recognized the drawbacks and inadequacies of the ramshackle village and its deprived and underprivileged inhabitants.
Accordingly, a meeting of awareness was held, with the Divisional Secretary, Ambilipitiya, and residents of the designated village present, on 06th March 2018. Later, under the guidance of the District Secretary of Rathnapura this village was chosen for the model project. Thereafter, we were able to get the scheme off the ground without much upheaval.
The Initiative Programme of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was conducted very successfully on 16th – 18th of March 2018. Three very experienced Resource Personnel conducted this programme. Mr. Karunadasa Jayamuni (Rtd.), Deputy Director of Planning & Implementation, with 15 years of experience in PRA, led the team.
All the Field Coordinators and Officials of Sap Sri joined in this and they got a thorough training when manging and attending this programme. Satisfyingly, and as planned, more than 100 residents participated each day. The Grama Niladari of the village, the Development Officer, the Assistant Administrative Officer of the Agricultural Research Production, and a Police officer were also present.
Through the Participatory Rural Approach (PRA) tool we met villagers and was able to understand the problems faced by them. Conducting many resourceful activities using this technique we chose 100 families in Therunnansegama village eligible for support. It was made easy as the District Coordinating Officer had already established the Sap Sri Nawamini Rural Society in this village in 2014. Family level plans remain to be prepared and implemented.
Mr. Wijaya Wickramtrathna, the Executive Director of Sap Sri, inspired everybody to get involved and encouraged them to work together for the collective enhancement of the village, and to make this project a success.
After much laborious and time-consuming research and arduous meetings and interviews we have come to understand TEN major communal problems faced by the people in Therunnansegama. A comprehensive report is being written on this at the moment.
Communal Problems Faced by the People of Therunnansegama
1. Scarcity of Drinking Water
2. Dearth of Health Facilities
3. Insufficient Water for Cultivation
4. No Stable Income for Families
5. Unemployment Among Youth
6. Addiction to Drugs
7. Lack of Education Facilities
8. Dilapidated Internal Roads
9. Nonexistence of Transport Facilities
10. No Bridge Across/Span the River
Agenda for the future
1. PRA programme to be implemented in the village.
2. A training programme to be conducted for Rural Service Officers at Divisional Secretariat.
3.Volunteers to be selected/assembled before the launch of the programme.
4. Recognize what should be developed and improved in each family in these chosen 100 families
5. Family level plans to be prepared.
6. Direct these problems to recognized fields of authority/governing body in government/non-government organizations to get them solved.