Caritas Sri Lanka – SEDEC in collaboration with Caritas Rathnapura – Sethmini organized a focus group discussion and a mid-line survey under the project titled, “Helping People move towards Reconciliation” on 27th of March 2019 in Rathnapura. The project is funded by CAFOD, the Catholic international development charity in England and Wales.

A group of 27 leaders of the Village Groups of Ellawala, Mudunkotuwa, Lavant, Tanjantenna and Kurupatta formed under this project attended the discussion and the survey.

The objective of this was to ascertain the progress of the improved commitment and capacities of the participants who were involved in promoting unity and reconciliation in 5 villages of the Diocese of Rathnapura.

Addressing the participants, Rev. Fr. Sriyan Fernando, Director of ‘Sethmini’ Ratnapura reminded the aim of establishing this group is to promote peace. He said that the purpose of the gathering was to evaluate and find out the present work carried out by them as an active peace group after being involved in the project for almost 2 years.

During the discussion, a questionnaire in Sinhala and Tamil was given to each leader to add quantitative information and later presentations on implemented activities were shared to gather data for a qualitative survey.

The following were the key observations:

– There was a clear sign of improved capacities from the participants.

– Participants were able to express their ideas freely and confidently.

– Participants conducted themselves very well throughout the session.

– Attitudinal changes towards reconciliation of the villagers were clearly visible from the activity presentations.

– Leaders have a clear understanding of the peace process, co-existence and conflict resolutions.

– Civil Security Forces were established with the assistance of the Police Station of the area to handle small-scale security issues.