Capacities and Activities
IDEA has over the years won the confidence of a large number of grassroots level CBOs seeking technical assistance in rural energy technologies and environment oriented programmes. IDEA has developed a NGO network to work in harmony in related fields. A major project implemented by IDEA was the Commercialization, Production and Distribution of Improved Wood Stoves in collaboration with the ITDG. Activities included are, providing technical training, development promotional and marketing skills to poor rural potters including women producers. This project covered Kandy, Matale, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Badulla and Anuradhapura districts. The Janasaviya Trust Fund provided the financial support for the second phase of this project, which covered Kandy, Matale, Kurunegala and Kegalle districts. This was extended to Monaragala, Hambantota, Galle, Matara. Ratnapura and Batticoloa districts with the funding from ODA, NORAD and ITDG.
The Improved Cook Stove Programme was introduced to the Plantation Sector in Nuwara Eliya and Hatton Plantation Regions with the funding from Netherlands Government and the Plantation Housing and Social Welfare Trust in several stages. A programme to strengthen the community‐based organizations in the rural sector complemented the improved stove project. This was implemented in Kandy, Kurunegala and Puttalam districts in 1993 through three NGOs. It was strongly supported by Asian regional Cookstove Programme (ARECOP). With JTF support, IDEA carried out a special programme to strengthen grassroots level NGOs/CBOs in Kandy, Matale, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Puttalm districts in 1994.
IDEA has given particular attention to aspects of commercialization with respect to stove production. An international workshop was held on the subject in 1992. IDEA also conducts workshops with the NGOs who are working as stove installers in order to address the issue of marketing. In the year 2001, IDEA established a national network of NGOs and GOs in 15 districts, which was initiated by ARECOP in its Phase II programme. This was aimed at the dissemination of technical skills in cookstove development to network organizations, develop IDEA into a cookstove information center and improve its facilities as a laboratory.
In 1993 IDEA implemented a dry zone model home garden project for poverty groups in Puttalam and Kurunegala Districts. It was expanded to include Anuradhapura District from 1994 to 1996 through an NGO using a revolving fund. Sri Lanka Canada Development Fund (SLCDF) funded the project at the initial stage and from 1994 Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) supported the project. IDEA also implemented a human resource development programme which was supported by the JTF between 1994 and 1995. This project was carried out Hanguranketha Divisional Secretariat Area in Nuwara Eliya District.
The Forest Fire Prevention Programme in Hantane, Uduwela in the Kandy District is another project that was carried out from 1992 to 1996. Here idea cooperated with the Integrated Environmental Organization, which is comprised of several NGOs in the central province that are concentrated on environmental issues.
IDEA has been playing a facilitation role and has conducted training programmes and organized special lectures in order to sensitize the public on environmental conservation. This project was funded by NORAD. In response to the needs identified by some NGO groups. IDEA has conducted several seminars and workshops using its own resources and infra‐structural capacities, while relying on joint sponsorship on occasion. These include seminars on environmental friendly farming systems, business development and book keeping for rural potters, and workshops on energy conservation, environment and mass communication, and stoves and kitchen improvement.
IDEA had provided solutions to rural energy problems through the installation of micro‐hydro electric facilities, operated by the communities themselves. Twelve ongoing projects for which consultancy was provided by ITDG Sri Lanka, were handed over to IDEA in April 1996. These projects were carried out in the Uva, Central and Southern Provinces, and were funded by the CEB, Rotary Club, National Development Trust Fund (UNTF), ECF, Southern Provincial Council, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and WBESC. These projects have become a major activity of the IDEA and are being implemented in Sabaragamuwa, Uva and Central Provinces also with the financial assistance from the Energy Services Delivery Programme funded by the World Bank and the respective Provincial Councils.
IDEA successfully completed a pilot project for the prevention of suicides in the Thanamalvila D.S Area in the Monaragala District where the suicide rate was very high according to statistics. The project was able to bring down he suicide rate by 50% in this area through the project activities.
IDEA completed a pilot project on the Improvement of Small and Medium Scale Brick Producers by mixing clay with saw dust and paddy husk and also improvement of kilns to reduce the fire wood consumption. This was implemented in the Kandy District with the partnership with ITDG and is currently being implemented in Galle and Matara Districts. When IDEA received information on a person who has invented a method to convert bakeries to be operated with paddy husk as fuel as an alternative to fire wood, this was investigated and found that it was operating efficiently. In order to provide due recognition to the inventor, apart from the fact that it also help to conserve trees and reduce pollution due to accumulation of paddy husk, IDEA implemented a pilot project to convert 5 bakeries in the Polonnaruwa District under the GEF/Small Grant programme of the UNDP. During the operational phase of this project, 10 more bakeries were converted in Polonnarauwa and Anuradhapura Districts.
IDEA also supported GEF/SGP programme during its Phase I by assisting the UNDP in conducting capacity building workshops for the stake holder NGOs/CBOs and evaluating the project proposals submitted by them. It also assisted the UNDP in conducting Stake Holder workshops in November and December 1998 for reviewing the progress of the projects. In October 1998, IDEA conducted a workshop to identify issues related to the formulation of a Regional Biodiversity Action Plan for the Central Province with financial assistance from the Ministry of Forestry and Environment and the Agriculture Ministry of the Central Provincial Council.
In the year 2002, IDEA implemented a project to introduce and disseminate to use bio‐mass waste in brick manufacture and improve brick kilns to reduce pollution and firewood consumption under the Local Environment Fund (LEF) of the IUCN financed by the Government of Netherlands. IDEA is currently implementing a project to conserve biodiversity and minimize climate changes through introduction of new technologies in using bio‐mass energy under the GEF/SGP of the UNDP. Being the Country Contact Point (CCP) of the Asia Regional Cook Stove Programme IDEA is implementing a 4 year programme on the bio‐mass energy related activities which includes production of various types of stoves and rural kitchen improvement.
IDEA was responsible in formulating a work plan on the Logical Framework Approach for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants Project funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Ministry of the Indigenous Medicine. A 3 day training workshop was conducted by IDEA for Land Management Unit of the Kandy Provincial Council to introduce Participatory Planning Approaches for identification of a future vision and strengthening communities in developing micro watersheds. IDEA also issues a quarterly newsletter called “Adahasa”, the Sinhala term for “idea”. It covers a wide range of development and environmental issues, and news on activities carried out by NGOs. Theme articles are provided by experts on topics related to sustainable and integrated development, while a substantial amount of material is provided by the readers themselves, who are mostly development practitioners. It therefore functions as a forum where ideas and experiences are shared and debated, stimulating a better understanding of the issues involved.