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Habitat to impact more than 300,000 people in Sri Lanka with a new project supported by the European Union.

Habitat for Humanity has signed an agreement for a new project supported by European Union in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Through a €14 million EU grant, Habitat is to impact more than 300,000 people living in three war stricken communities of districts Sri Lanka.

The project will build homes and improve community infrastructure for internally displaced people and returnees. The activities will be implemented from 2016-2018 and follows an earlier housing programme for which the European Union contributed € 33.7 million, which assisted more than 45,775 people.

Speaking during the signing of the project, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, H.E. David Daly said, "The project contributes to a sustainable solution for returnee families with the specific objective of improving the living conditions and social cohesion of displaced people, returnees and their host communities. This is not just an infrastructure project, but an initiative that will contribute towards building a brighter and better future for the Sri Lanka of tomorrow".

The initiative aims to build houses for almost 16,000 victims of the conflict, in cooperation with World Vision Lanka. To minimise debt, vulnerable families will receive supplements for loan repayments. In addition, more than 60,000 people in 60 villages will be supported through financial, disaster preparedness and construction trainings.

To provide more holistic development support and increase livelihood opportunities, Habitat for Humanity will provide vocational and skills development training to households, persons active in the trade sector and youth in construction related services.

This project will follow a “homeowner driven process” of construction, whereby the selected families will contribute through their own labour towards the reconstruction efforts. The project also provides support to the domestic economy by sourcing all building material locally.

The project also aims to safeguard women's rights by ensuring their participation in community consultation meetings and decision-making process.

“At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that housing is not a product but a process. It is not enough to build houses, we need to turn them into homes and empower homeowners to transition from poverty and dependency to independence and self-sufficiency. This is exactly what we hope to do for the war affected communities in Sri Lanka. We want to show them a way out of poverty and unlock their entrepreneurship,” says Greg Foster, Area Vice President for Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa.

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