We are a growing global network of diaspora volunteers committed to supporting the sustainable development of under-represented and vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka.
We work to help shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from sending remittance to building a knowledge economy instead.
Working with and through our partners, we achieve socio-economic empowerment, support community and capacity building, and develop leaders in communities that need it the most.
Comdu.it, Suvadi, and Organic Movement of North East (OMNE) have partnered to co-found NEOrganics Food Innovation Lab, a social enterprise to represent the interests of organic farmers in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
Structural obstacles like market linkages, organic certifications, and subsidies in agriculture create challenges for farmers to succeed in the industry. NEOrganics is looking to change that narrative and support the agricultural community. Over the next 1.5 years, the centre will upskill small scale organic farmers and home gardeners while providing support to incubate innovative ideas for improving organic farming systems. The initiative is centered around the four principles of organic agriculture- health, ecology, fairness and care. Over 250 farmers will be trained on necessary business skills and best practices around organic production with sustainability in mind. Equipped with new agri-tools and know-how, farmers will increase the quality of their yield and improve the marketability of their products.
We are working to strengthen and build resilience in the farming community to prepare for a healthier and tastier tomorrow. This initiative is funded by the German Embassy and the Schöck-Stiftung Foundation.
During the first wave of the global COVID-19 pandemic, access to education was drastically reduced in the North and East of Sri Lanka impeding student learning. Partner organization, Suvadi, offered several online training programs, but lacked a systematic approach in providing the know-how to teachers on how to design and implement online classroom teaching. We saw an opportunity for positive change to support the education community and improve accessibility for students.
In collaboration with comdu.it, Suvadi initiated Google e-Classroom training through 5 interactive workshops for 3 teacher cohorts. This ongoing project delivers a teaching manual on how to deliver online teaching lessons in a structured and engaging manner that best guides students. Private educators are now armed with a tool stack to pivot to a virtual environment and continue adapting to an ever changing online climate.
Thus far, 16 teachers have been trained and are delivering digital content on their own. The project continues to have a significant impact on the education ecosystem in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, with schools and private educators demanding more training on digital learning through the Google Classroom platform.
Jaffna Clean City Initiative
Improper waste collection practices, a lack of awareness surrounding proper waste disposal and low engagement from locals in improving the city’s livability are putting pressure on Jaffna’s environment. Through the Jaffna Clean City Initiative (JCCI), comdu.it is working in collaboration with Suvadi to foster inclusive urban waste governance in Sri Lanka and bring positive changes to the natural environment. Started in June 2021, this project will enable and strengthen community participation in decision-making through workshops and advocacy programs.
In an effort to reach a more sustainable future, the JCCI will implement mechanisms to ensure sustainable management of urban waste, improve the cleanliness and appearance of the Jaffna city centre, and create jobs and economically empower individuals living and working in and around Jaffna. We are also prioritizing women and female-headed households impacted by war along with families who have differently abled members to create a space for more diversified voices.
With funding from the Canadian High Commission in Sri Lanka and engagement from 40 key stakeholders, we hope to normalize and institutionalize sustainable waste management practices while changing behaviours and attitudes on garbage disposal.
Play Based Learning
Play based learning uses open-ended play initiated by children and encouraged by teachers to develop student communication skills, motor skills, and support social and emotional development. Sri Lanka’s current education sidelines play for a curriculum that emphasizes rigorous learning. We will be working with Chelvanayakam Memorial Trust to address the disconnect, and bring creativity and imagination back into focus so that young students are given the time and nurturing space they need to develop.
Over the next 12 months we will pilot a play-based learning curriculum in 2 schools located in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. Under the guide of local educators, a curriculum involving virtual learning platforms, art supplies, educational toys, and workshops will be used to support student development and learning. This pilot project will raise awareness on the importance of play-based learning with parents and primary caregivers. It will also equip local teachers with the resources, knowledge, and skills to implement their own play-based activities within a classroom setting.
Mental Health Matters
In the Eastern Province, existing psychological services and resources are unable to effectively support youth navigating difficult periods of their life. This is why comdu.it is teaming up with a local partner to improve the mental health of at-risk youth who have encountered traumatic experiences. Their aligned vision of empowering and providing opportunities to disadvantaged youth and children makes our collaboration ideal in creating a safe space for young people to grow and feel supported.
The initiative will target at-risk youths in 3 key areas of the Eastern Province: Kithul-Koppaveli, Neelvanai, and Uranee. By leveraging the expertise of our local partners, we will introduce workshops on emotional intelligence, self empowerment, and defeating stigma surrounding mental health. Youth will directly benefit from these workshops by gaining the tools and knowledge to identify their own negative emotions and navigate the root cause(s) of their problem(s). We believe that combating the negative attitudes people have towards mental health will weaken the barriers that may be stopping youth from seeking the help they require. With the support of peers and qualified counsellors, we will work to create a supportive environment for youth to achieve their personal development goals.
Device / Technology Drive
comdu.it and Upcycled Tech, an Australian based organization, are partnering for our first ever upcycled technology project. Upcycled Tech works to collect used devices and reuse them by distributing the equipment to Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern Provinces.
Sri Lanka struggles with a low computer literacy rate and only 14% of the population in the Eastern Province have access to electronic devices. In the next year, we are looking to shrink the digital divide and promote student learning by collecting 1000 used laptops, computers, phones and tablets. This program will improve technology access and help bring full network services to 3 communities, benefiting hundreds of children and families.
Our technology drive will keep devices out of the landfill and in the hands of youth who’ll be empowered and feel supported during their educational pursuit. Technology inclusion improves education quality and prepares students for the modern workforce.