Engineering works commenced and required machinery purchased while the VLMAs went into full swing. The watchdog groups continue to perform excellently and are seen to be efficiently utilizing their cell phones to do the voluntary jobs that they were tasked with.
07th June – 30th June 2022
Yala planting hits its stride with all of the communities mobilized towards this while the backgrounds for creating the VLMAs was continued during the month while the issues related to price escalation of target machinery was worked on. Children’s societies go into full swing with many activities.
11th May – 6th June 2022
The GMSL strategy for utilizing the limited Maha season to obtain the Yala season bio-assets was seen to yield significant success with the communities acquiring the seeds and saplings themselves.
1st May – 10th May 2022
The GMSL creates two cases studies based on its work. The first is on identification of community and development within large swatch commons and the second was on the practicalities of improving green cover in large areas. Watchdog groups are fully involved on the ground and with cascade trainers they are engaged in constantly monitoring the work of farmers, the health of plantations and checking on illegal anthropogenic activities.
1st April- 10th April 2022
Watchdog group training completed along with the handing over of smartphones to both the watchdog groups as well as the cascade trainers. A new era of NGO work based on comnets commences in Sri Lanka. Despite the GMSL leadership’s understanding that the youth will commence reporting back on illegal anthropogenic activity in May after the festive season ends, the success of the training program is seen by the fact that they immediately started reporting back.
3rd February – 31st March 2022
Field consolidation and leadership monitoring completed. Delays in receipt of second installment curtails some urgent purchases leading to possible cost escalation issues due to rapid devaluation of the rupee. GMSL engages itself and its stakeholder cloud with the EU monitoring teams and await their final report.
5th January – 15th February 2022
2281 farmer families coached on specifics of engaging in sustainable agricultural practices including input manufacture, management of home gardens, management of green cover, optimization of sunlight and seed strategies. Where there was too much green cover, experts were brought in from the government to instruct the farmers on reduction techniques and optimizing yield especially on their fruit trees.
1st December – 31st December 2021
5×5 farmer groups are created for specific basins and 1375 of the target 2250 are so grouped. Fruit plants are distributed to the them and heirloom seeds obtained. Saplings for green cover improvement also identified with pledges from the FD for quality planting material. Planting itself is differed to Jan-March 2022 bracket since monsoon patterns have changed.
1st November – 30th November 2021
23 TOTs are trained through an intense 5 day program and sent out to the field to commence cascade training. Stage 1 of cascade training (large group training at the GN level) is completed. All relevant state and provincial officials of the DS, FD, AD, EAD etc. are linked and pledge their active support for the exercise.
1st October – 31st October 2021
The GMSL field teams commence interventions on the ground and short list TOTs based on their knowledge of the communities through engagement through the year. Informal discussions are held with farmer communities on future work that is planned.
5th September – 12th September 2021
The GMSL team created a preliminary field activity plan during August 2021. However, with the pandemic showing no signs of abating, some of the activities had to be reconsidered. The first draft of the document was submitted to ACTED on the 12th.
1st August – 24th August 2021
The country opens up for a brief period and sees frenetic activity on the part of the GMSL Head Office and field teams. The teams gather at the Field Office in Hunnasgiriya and put together a plan to speedily obtain the crucial missing data that would complete the inception report. The teams finally obtain the required data by the final week of August despite yet another lockdown and reimposition of restrictions due to an escalation of covid cases. A meet was held on 25th August and a final activity matrix is earmarked for the beginning of September.
1st – 31st July 2021
GMSL works on the website and does some field activities although in limited form to attempt to obtain additional data that can inform future activities. A key discussion is held with ACTED on ways forward based on the information in the IR and a plan is made to try to get the required data from the field. A key problem outlined was the lack of sufficient data on climate events, weather and environment damage. However, plan to implement a positive workaround was penciled.
10th April -30 June 2021
The country is either in lockdown or shut down due to the pandemic. Very little can be done in the field although the GMSL initiates discussions with the IFS to help with the soil and water testing as well as tries to get a meet with the Ministry of Environment to discuss carbon offsets. The offset initiative hits a bit of a wall due to external political moves and the GMSL decides strategically to remove themselves from the debate and pseudo-effort temporarily. However, the work to complete the Inception Report goes on with existing data although there are grassroots level gaps that could not be extracted due to covid restrictions. A frustrating time and the only engagement of some note are the weekly meetings between the partners. Even these seem to indicate the inability to do much. All three implementing partners flag up the fact there are serious concerns as to how effective the program would be given the fact that field operations could not be executed despite a telescoped timeline for project implementation. Not a good time to be either a donor, a lead partner or an implementing partner for exercises that require this level of physical interaction between the partners and the people.
01st-09th April 2021
In another innovative change to the approach, the GMSL realizes that it cannot use such instruments as PRAs (too localized) or FDGs (politically not the best approach given identified issues in the area) or questionnaires (too fraught with error) and therefore create a modified PRA that can encompass the realities of large geographies where communities share commons such as entire rivers or forests. The GMSL calls this a SCORECARD (Shared Commons Organization, Regeneration and Enhancement- Community Analysis of Resource Dynamics). The method is piloted in the seven targeted river basins with some success although much improvement to the methodological approach is still required.
15th-31st March 2021
The GMSL and ACTED teams meet for the first time in the field at the GMSL’s Hunnasgiriya field office. After outlining emerging design level changes that the GMSL anticipates because of the approach switch to river basins, the GMSL and ACTED team visit the Heen Ganga communities to acclimatize the ACTED team to the ground level realities.
05th – 15th February
The research team identifies that a river basin approach is more logical socially and environmentally than a GN/HH approach. This colors the entire project design and the GMSL turns its attention to identifying data related to river valley dynamics and realizes that these are almost non-existent.
26th January – 3th March 2021
The GMSL team conducts its initial observation tasks, working directly for the first time with the field staff officers and researchers. The team covers the entire potential terrain.
24th January 2021
The project kicks off with a meeting of all partners (EU, ACTED, GMSL, EFT and BRT) where each partner outlined their plans, tasks and challenges.
15-17 December 2020
Suranjan and Arjuna of the GMSL are accompanied by Ludovic of the EU and John on a pre-project reconnaissance to the Ratna Ella area in Hasalaka.