Reintegration and Stabilization in the East and North (RISEN)
After 25 years of civil war, the Government of Sri Lanka has regained control of its diverse provinces and peoples. The Eastern Province, an ethnically mixed, politically charged, and economically deprived area, was under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) and still erupting in periodic violence as recently as 2008. Constant battling between the Government of Sri Lanka, the LTTE, and the Karuna-faction, later known as Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), created a culture of violence in the Eastern Province. When the East was “liberalized” by the government in 2007 and subsequent elections empowered the TMVP, underlying resentment from the local people and lack of follow-through by the government created an environment ripe for further instability. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Reintegration and Stabilization in the East and North (RISEN) program implements a wide range of conflict prevention and mitigation measures to create and promote stability. RISEN’s goal is to improve personal and economic security in targeted communities in the East, providing support and opportunities for at-risk youth, and building public confidence that core conflict issues are being addressed by the Government of Sri Lanka.
- Identify communities where militant recruitment has been high and—with the International Organization for Migration, the Government of Sri Lanka, and other donors—develop programs to address needs identified by the communities. All programs promote collaboration between the local authorities and the public to address security issues.
- Reintegrate conflict-affected men and women into civilian life by providing training for market-driven jobs and job-related guidance, increasing access to services, and, in some cases, delivering psychosocial counseling.
- Promote creative approaches to gathering and disseminating news and information to improve public confidence in the transition.
- After several months of life skills training and counseling, young people from highly conflict-affected, isolated areas are now working as music teachers, hotel staff, construction machinery operators, or handicraft artisans. These young people have had positive feedback from their communities, and other youth in those communities are increasingly ready to engage with future income-generating activities. The RISEN team is inundated with requests to repeat training or conduct further interventions that extend the training to other youth from these areas.
- In response to the intense floods of 2010, the project allocated $394,793 to flood response activities; encouraged Tamil and Muslim at-risk youth to work together in the distribution of non-food items to flood- and conflict-affected communities; registered ex-combatants supporting their communities through hygiene kits; provided boats and essential materials to evacuate communities cut off by rising waters; and helped the central government register the needs of the affected population.
Client: U.S. Agency for International Development