In a harmonious collaboration promoting positive change, Mr. Tobias Wilbers, the Program Advisor for the Food Security Program and Senior Adviser for Peace and Reconciliation, along with Ms. Maria Langås, a Humanitarian Adviser, from Caritas Norway commenced an enlightening journey to Sri Lanka Food Security program field locations in Kandy, Anuradhapura, and Vanni. This transformative visit unfolded from the 24th to the 30th of January 2024 and was graced by the presence of National Director Rev. Fr. Luke Nelson Perera. It was accompanied by the National Program coordinator Mrs. Nilani Tissera, and Mr. K. Hershanth, Ms. Amali Shamani, and Mr. Sadun Fernando, Regional Coordinators from Caritas Sri Lanka –SEDEC.
A demonstration of the strong partnership between Caritas Norway, the Government of Norway (NORAD), and Caritas Sri Lanka, the island-wide Food Security program has been successfully executed by the Caritas Sri Lanka network since 2018. The primary objectives of the program encompass community empowerment, and the promotion of organic home gardening with mixed cropping, livestock rearing, beekeeping, and pond fish culture. Remarkably, this initiative has empowered over 7,800 farmer families, enabling them to embrace healthy and nutritionally balanced diets while concurrently bolstering their domestic economies. Moreover, the program has extended its positive impact to benefit 6,800 school children, 690 unemployed youth, and 3,000 mothers of preschool children, contributing significantly to the reduction of malnutrition throughout the entirety of 2023.
During their visit, Mr. Tobias and Ms. Maria were guided through the progress achieved in their respective dioceses by the Directors of the Diocesan Centres and Diocesan Field staff of the Food Security program. Caritas Kandy, Caritas Anuradhapura, and Caritas Vanni organized insightful field visits, showcasing home gardening initiatives, Village Knowledge Centres, and Marketing Centers. This firsthand experience allowed the advisors to witness the profound impact of the program on the lives of Community-Based Organization (CBO) members in remote villages.
The warm reception extended by the villagers was evidence of the gratitude they felt towards Caritas Norway. The ability to consume chemical-free vegetables and fruits, coupled with access to nutritionally balanced diets, induced heartfelt appreciation from the community members. Conversations with the farmer families not only provided valuable insights but also highlighted the tangible positive changes brought about by the Food Security program.
In summary, the visit from Caritas Norway’s advisors marked a series of memorable days, outlining the success and transformative power of the Food Security program in Sri Lanka. This collaborative effort stands as a shining example of sustainable development and compassionate outreach, fostering hope and well-being in communities across the nation.