Urban Gardening as a Municipal Investment
This project introduced and enhanced urban agriculture in three cities in Sri Lanka as a strategy to reduce poverty and enhance the environment. The "Greening Package" involved capacity building, community environmental management and income generation, targeted particularly at women.
As a result, 300 home gardens were created, and home composting programs in 100 homes in Matale, Moratuwa and Badulla were set up. The Moratuwa Municipal Council created a separate budget line for Urban Greening in 2006, and the Council now requires that all newly constructed buildings incorporate green space into their design. The municipal councils have secured the support of local institutions such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, the Department of Agrarian Services, and the Youth Services Council. A sub-regional seminar on urban agriculture was organized, with the participation of 10 mayors and 30 municipal staff from Thailand. While 90% of project participants were women, young people were also provided training in urban greening, waste management, and environmental protection. Like SCI's Thai urban agriculture project, this one also helped bring together communities, and empowered them to be able to interact more directly with their municipal councils, breaking some of the barriers that once stood between local authorities and grassroots groups. The project was highly successful and was presented in 2006 at the World Urban Forum and at the Mayors' Forum in Sri Lanka.