Postwar Livelihood Trends in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka
Using a wide range of information collected through key informant interviews, FGDs and Stakeholder Consultations, this report documents the livelihood shifts in the Northern and Eastern Provinces since the end of war in May 2009. For a vast majority of impoverished people who have survived the war, casual wage labor in an unstable labor market characterized by low wages, absence of continuous work and terms and conditions dictated by the employers, have become the main source of livelihood, replacing farming and fishing, the two leading livelihoods in the area for generations. The demand for wage labor has obviously increased in the postwar era due to the construction boom associated with new constructions including roads and other infrastructure as well as housing. In spite of multiple investments by GOSL and partner organizations including donors and civil society organizations the progress achieved have been slow also due to new challenges such as high cost of production inputs, poaching by Indian trawlers, crop damage by wild animals and possible effects of climate change. While prospects for restoring pre-established livelihoods in Northern and Eastern Provinces must be further explored, diversification of livelihoods in line with the aspirations of youth is essential. This is where IT industry, tourism, fish culture, contract farming and overseas employment must receive greater attention in development policies and interventions.