Since the recent Easter Sunday tragedy in Sri Lanka, we have been closely monitoring the situation and conducting an ongoing risk assessment with local partners, international missions in Sri Lanka, advisors and other supporters.
While the armed conflict ended in May 2009 and Sri Lanka has enjoyed relative peace and security since then, the Northern and Eastern provinces have remained subject to securitization issues which has informed the context in which our international volunteers have done work since 2016. In that regard, our programs have and will continue to take into account the securitization framework that is an ever-present reality in Sri Lanka. However, we acknowledge that this most recent incident represents a clear and present danger in Sri Lanka and the ground situation remains fluid. We continue to follow the travel advisories issued by Global Affairs Canada, the German Foreign Office, and the U.S. State Department in this regard.
As such, we have made the following decision on the 2019 Mission.
- All applicants now have until May 31, 2019 to apply for current opportunities that are available. In addition to applicants meeting the specific criteria set out in placement ads, we will also assess for maturity, temperament, and resiliency of applicants to ensure the right fit given current ground conditions.
- The actual placement of international volunteers to Sri Lanka will be decided upon obtaining relevant situational information including additional safety protocols and security measures that local partners have put in place in order to host our volunteers, threat level assessments in travel advisories, and other potential risk factors. This may entail the deferral of placements to later in the summer or calendar year, re-purposing placements as virtual volunteer positions instead, or outright cancellation of all placements.
- We plan to provide our international volunteers this year with an enhanced pre-departure orientation and training programme that may cover additional areas such as trauma-informed care, non-violent communication, Standard First Aid/CPR, and hostile environment awareness training.
- Per our usual practice, we will arrange and partly cover our international volunteers for their health insurance while on mission. In the event of medical evacuations, repatriation will also be covered.
- All interested applicants must read our updated Frequently Asked Questions before applying this year.
We remain committed to our vision of continued engagement by the diaspora with homeland communities especially in such difficult times.