LIRNEasia and Sarvodaya initiated the Webhamuva program with assistance from the World Bank’s Small Grants Program to give voice to the people whose opinions go unheard in the post-tsunami reconstruction work.
The final report is available here (PDF):
The findings from the report indicate that people are dissatisfied with the pace of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Most of the tsunami-affected spoken to have yet to recover their normal lives in terms of livelihood, permanent housing and their sense of safety and security. The feeling of helplessness and despair is quite prevalent especially when people do not have the capital or means to engage in sustainable livelihoods. Needs assessment from the donors has not been very effective because there seems to be a large discrepancy between what people need and what is supplied to them. Starting from housing issues to lesser significant things like utensils and victuals, what is supplied is often not what people want or need.
The tsunami seems to have had an impact that goes beyond economics and has reconfigured the social and cultural lives of those affected. The forced sharing of space in camps and flat-type housing has brought together people from different social backgrounds which have generated some apprehension and friction.
The program was activated in a number of Sarvodaya Service villages located in the Tsunami-affected districts. Trained staff from Sarvodaya visited villages in those districts and asked inhabitants about the effect of the tsunami on their lives, their views on the reconstruction and rehabilitation in their area, and about their current problems and needs. The answers were recorded in the local language and was later transcribed and translated into English. The reports from the villages were then published on www.webhamuva.org, which can be accessed by anyone from around the world.
Twenty four reports in English from six Tsunami affected districts (Colombo, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota, Ampara and Trincomalee) were produced. Sinhala versions from three districts were also made available on the website as PDF downloads.