A 3 strand approach to Rural Development

Posted Thursday September 17, 2015 by Hazel Durbridge

Panic is beginning to grip me about the job situation. I know that I am trying hard. Every day I think, ‘now, what have you done today Hazel towards moving you towards a job?’, and I do do something every day. My two interview offers are still pending whether I will get another date.

That’s one thing about being home. I worry more. I get caught up in the melee of ‘what I should be doing’ and I have to think hard to keep a focus on what is really important to me. Here some of the ‘doing’ options get taken away so it is easier.




Rural Communities need to be taught to manage what they have better. For example, with trees, it is not always about planting more, but looking after what they have better – pruning, irrigating etc to ensure maximum yield. This also applies to livestock.

The management of IT facilities. Many departments complained about the lack of equipment. They have lap tops, printers etc that may be old, but are quite capable of doing the job if they were serviced. Paddiruppu Zonal Education Office have a fully equipped mobile computer unit donated by the Italians that they don’t use because none of the computers work and they can’t afford to get them serviced.

Either by service area, geographic area or centrally, an IT repair and maintenance unit / or local contracts needs to be established.

Don’t ignore the Human-Elephant conflict. This issue seems to have been allowed to take a back seat even when schools are affected. Meanwhile elephant and human deaths escalate annually. An in depth study of the ecology of the elephants in the region needs to be undertaken. Without this information any other actions that are implemented would be just a waste of time and money.

Anecdotally we know the fences are not sufficient on their own; we know that there is a migratory corridor between parks, but this is not enshrined in law so steps can not be taken to enforce protection of both wildlife and humans.



Batticaloa must set up systems to process what it harvests. For example all rice is processed outside the district (mainly at Polonnaruwa) so local people get all the negative effects such as chemical fertilisers seeping in to the water courses and none of the benefits of agricultural extension.

With fish & prawns, they could do more cleaning, packing, tinning etc. This is what adds vale and makes increased profit.

There is a need to site

  • A large rice mill in the Kokkaddichilai / Vavunativu area.
  • a cashew processing factory on the Hardy plantation at Kiran
  • an organic fertiliser factory in the district
  • a seed processing factory at Vellevely where there is a long established seed paddy producing society of 50 members – Parathy.
  • a ground nut processing factory in the area of Thatpanai, Kulam, Mavilaiyaru, Puthampun, Rajapalayanagar, Karadiyanaru
  • a pulses processing factory at Varunativu

Processing would create jobs in small and medium size enterprises. Investors must be encouraged.


To get more staff willing to spend time in rural areas there must be incentives. The District secretariat is not in a position to alter wage structures, but it can utilise empty buildings and lands to redesign or build free accommodation for teachers primarily, then perhaps young graduates/ agricultural trainees without dependents who would be prepared to spend 1-2 years out in the field. This may be hard. Eastern University said that of 750 graduates only 10 had not sought a desk job. It may be got round by training village people with community leadership skills and paying them to act in support roles.

Research could be undertaken to see whether the use of circuit bungalows is maximised.

The systems may not be in place for travel expenses, but this may be an area foreign funding could be used, managed through government departments and NGOs.



  • get water in to all rural schools
  • support teacher recruitment and enhanced benefits to retain quality staff prepared to work in rural areas
  • improve the rural road network
  • get public transport running in rural areas
  • Ensure all staff using their own transport are fully reimbursed
  • IT servicing
  • Carry out research into the ecology of the elephants
  • Soil mapping


Other priorities identified by the Planning Department

Capacity Development

  • Vocational training and provision of tools (ex-combatant & unemployed youths).
  • Establish opportunities to get the jobs to the poorest families in the each village.
  • Establish a poverty free village.

Batticaloa District Development Plan DRAFT 2013

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