Introduce Natural Resources Governance into Participatory Decision Making process Through Conserve & Manage Coastal Ecosystem



  1. Participatory Natural Resources Management Mechanism is established in Thimilaithive area.
  2. Awareness and capacity of the local community are improved in order to change the attitude and behavior to safeguard lagoon environment.
  3. Sustainable livelihood will be introduced to the local community in order to reduce rural poverty.
  4. Resource management map to the area is prepared and used for decision making process.
  5. Project is managed wisely within the scope of allocated resources, thematic area, time and geographic location.


Batticaloa lagoon is a very productive coastal water body of approximately 11,500 ha in extent situated in Batticaloa District in the eastern province of Sri Lanka. The Batticaloa Lagoon is the one of largest, significant coastal ecosystem which is economically as well as ecologically important habitat in the east coast. Lagoon is providing large numbers of livelihoods for community living around the lagoon but community do not understand the ecological value of the lagoon and constantly exploited its resources without given adequate attention towards its longer run sustainability. Despite many discussions and approached been made during the past decades which were not able to produce a good result due to many reasons and constrains. One of major difficulty was civil conflict in the area existed for a longer period of time(about 30 years), which restricted community moving to day to day life and other livelihood options resulting lagoon become the feeding grounds for many. This aggravates lagoon resource exploitation, fish and other various crustaceans for foods and mangrove for fuel and construction materials for marginalized community.


As there were no substantial options for livelihoods for poor families, mostly women headed families, restricted to the lagoon; lagoon is the only open and common resource and feeding ground for them. Poverty level of the community drastically increased due to poor income as well as lack of adequate skill, education and opportunities. In recent years, after the civil war, recent developments have not been able to address grass root level issues of the local community.  Traditional management does not understand the situation they are passing by and do not have adequate technical knowledge and thinking to cater the situation. This scenario is almost similar to marginalized poverty driven families living boarder to the Lagoon. Poor understand of ecosystem services, high numbers of unemployment and widows in the families creating uncertainty among the marginalized community, which aggravated the lagoon degradation.  All these happening due to lack of governance in decision making process in remote areas from top management to the grass root level.


The project site, Thimilaithive is an area with a population of about 1500 mostly depending of paddy cultivation and lagoon fishing (Figure 1-5). This area is vulnerable to frequent floods. Out of the paddy cultivated areas of about 300 acres, 30- 40 acres get drowned during the rainy season on the one hand. On the other hand extended droughts and the water level fluctuation often affect the fishing and biodiversity of the lagoon and surrounding.


1. Conduct a workshop for key stakeholders on Concept and Principals of Natural Resources Governance.

2.Conduct consultation process to form District Level Coordinating Mechanism to Mange issues related to Natural Resource Management.

3. Mobilize Local Level Community Organization to form village level resource management forum.

4. Materials related to Natural Resources Governance will be produced and distributed among the relevant agencies and key stakeholders.

5. Conduct village level awareness and capacity building programs to educate local community.

6. Leadership building programs design and implemented.

7. Community Revolving Loan Fund System will be introducing to the local community to ensure sustainable use of natural resources and empower the CBOs.

8. Encourage 50 farmers to engage in sustainable agricultural practices as a model project.

9. Survey and prepare details GIS map for the project area. 

Target beneficiaries

25 farmer families in the livelihood program and involve 100 families living in the Thilimlathive village in the natural resource governance.


  1. GIS Atlas for Thimilathivu village, Batticaloa 
  2. Poster (English & Tamil) (1000 copies)
  3. Brochure on the Lagoon (Tamil & Sinhala) (1000 copies each)
  4. Brochure on Revolving Loan Fund (Tamil & Sinhala) (1000 copies each)

Accomplishments and challenges

  • Local level community organizations mobilized to form a village level Resource Management f Forum
  • Materials related to natural resource governance printed and distributed among the key stakeholders
  • Community Revolving Loan Fund in operation - to build financial resilience and support livelihoods of dependent communities




Contributions to cross-cutting themes

The community revolving loan fund system is expected to support people suffering from floods, droughts that affect their livelihoods. The project site, Thimilaithive is an area vulnerable to frequent floods, with a population of about 1500 mostly depending of paddy cultivation and lagoon fishing. Out of the paddy cultivated areas of about 300 acres, 30- 40 acres get flooded during the rainy season on the one hand. On the other hand extended droughts and the water level fluctuation often affect fishing and biodiversity of the lagoon and surrounding.

The women headed families, the most vulnerable group of the area affected by the climate change benefitted through the project.

Lessons Learned

  1. During the project period the government imposed new regulations to control NGO activities. Therefore some activities could not be completed on time. The government officers also have some restrictions regarding these meetings.  We have wait for a long time to take meeting dates from goverment officers.    
  2. Less participation of the communities because of they expect direct benefits from beginning of the project.


Project Facts



Thimilithivu Island in Batticalao



10th Jan 2014 to 9th Dec 2014

MFF Grant Amount

LKR 1,946,000.00

Co-financing Partner

Grantee:           LKR 371,500

Partner (Industrial  Development Organization (IDO):            LKR 242,500

Community:      LKR   40,000

Implementing Partner

Center for Environmental Justice
Mr Hemantha Vithanage
20A, Kuruppu Road,
Colombo 08
Tel/Fax: +94 112 683 282
email: /


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