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Project case: Psychosocial support to children and young people in Batticaloa district

Conflict and consequences

Batticaloa is one of the districts severely affected by the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. People living in Batticaloa faced numerous displacements for several years. As a result, people lost their lives, assets, and economic capacity. They became more dependent and struggled to face the challenges of day-to-day life. Many fathers lost their lives and many heads of families became addicted to alcohol. This situation creates violence in households. Children bear the brunt of this situation. Young people lose their hope for the future.

Many complaints regarding child abuse and domestic violence were reported to the office of the divisional secretariat, although the exact number is not known. As parents are not in a position to support their children’s education by providing financial and material support, children are idle and encouraged to join the labour force. Young people are also idle and they escape in early marriages. Early marriages are becoming a very big social problem especially among people who have been displaced for a long time and lived in camps during conflict.

In order to protect their rights, provide opportunities and minimise the negative impacts of the war, several humanitarian and aid agencies came forward to support these groups of children and young people. War Child has been one of those since 2010.

Project targets

The specific purpose of this project is reducing family violence and violence against children and young people including separated children. The project aims to:

  • Identify needs to fulfil and recover children’s rights through developing education, a protective environment and psychosocial support.
  • Develop the relationship between parents, care givers and children so children are supported and free from violence.
  • Form child protection committees in communities to work on activities promoting child rights at village level and referring child protection issues to relevant officers identified at village level.

Project design and activities

Activities for children’s clubs, child boards and children’s parliament:

  • Conduct dialog sessions with children and young people to improve relationships with other children in the communities.
  • Provide recreational, creative, sports and cultural activities through children clubs and support children’s development and enhance their educational capacity.
  • Organise child protection committees including parents, community leaders, government organisations and other relevant actors in the villages.
  • Conduct sessions with child protection committees on identifying violence against children and violence in families.
  • Awareness-raising on child protection, child rights, the importance of education and inclusion.
  • Establish a functioning youth networking forum.
  • Manage resource centres for children and young people and lead the child rights monitoring committee meetings.
  • IDEAL sessions for children and BIG DEAL sessions for youth.
  • Exchange visits between different ethnic groups (youth and children camp).
  • Implement English station project in 3 divisions in Batticaloa.
  • Conduct IDEAL and English sessions with safe house children (children in conflict with law).

In 2012 we achieved the following:

  • 30 children and youth clubs were registered under the child council, an official government body. The clubs were strengthened and will advocate in communities for solutions to children’s problems.
  • 19 child protection committees were strengthened and linked with government committees in villages. Child protection committees function as change-makers in their communities and will address children’s issues.
  • Child rights monitoring committees at government level were strengthened. They are now active and responsible for children issues in their divisions.
  • Child participation at village level increased and improved. Because children of the village were represented at district level meetings and forums, the link between the village and district levels was improved.
  • 6 resource centres for children were established in the communities. More than 1,500 children use these centres on a daily basis. A success has been the commitment by the government divisional offices to provide monitoring and maintenance support to the centres. 
  • Children developed a child rights advocacy album to be used to advocate children’s issues in the district.
  • 22 child facilitators and 8 staff members from 3 divisions were involved in the ‘Child Rights Situation Analysis’ that War Child undertook to identify what child rights violations most seriously need to be addressed according to children and adults.


 Child Protection Psychosocial Support Education Total Total
Intervention strategyPlannedActualPlannedActualPlannedActualPlannedActual
Direct services  187082181122148247124085646523
Capacity building5543547925703098  81138577
Advocacy31085860    31085860

Program in Sri Lanka in which young women are trained in skillsThe project was successfully implemented as planned. Appropriate coordination with all stakeholders and participants was maintained. Good implementation of the result-based monitoring mechanisms motivated our partner ESCO to achieve the targeted outputs and outcomes. The monitoring had a very positive impact on the partner staff. Though they have been successful in the planned programme activities, they lack funding capacities to be able to address the needs of other children in similar scenarios.

Lessons learned

  • In this project, former children’s club members are voluntarily supporting the current children’s clubs. They also manage resource centres. These people could be further trained to run and manage full-fledged programmes and thereby reach more children.
  • Awareness and training programmes for the parents and foster parents should be increased. The children strongly believe that such programmes will have great impact on adults, encouraging them to respect their children, take responsibility to protect their rights and create a peaceful environment at home.
  • Partners should be trained in fundraising.

Project information
Name of the project:Working with local government and community protection structures to protect and provide psychosocial support to children and young people in Koralai Patru North, Koralai Patru and Koralai pattu south in Batticaloa district.”
Duration: Jan 2010 – Dec 2013
Location: Batticaloa district in Sri Lanka
Partner organisation: ESCO
Target groups:

  • children and young people, including children of separated and single parents
  • parents, caregivers and their families

Budget: for 2011- 2013 € 150,000


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