Home » Empowering villages: Unveiling Sri Lanka’s rural renaissance initiative led by Dhammika Perera

Empowering villages: Unveiling Sri Lanka’s rural renaissance initiative led by Dhammika Perera


March 21, Colombo (LNW): Two inaugural model villages, marking the commencement of the Action Plan “Pohosath Gamak – Pohosath Ratak” (A Rich Village – A Rich Country), spearheaded by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Dhammika Perera, are set to be unveiled next month.

The initiative aims to fortify the rural economy, thereby propelling the nation towards economic recovery amidst prevailing challenges.

The first two model villages will be strategically located in the Alavathugoda area of the Kandy district and the Bibila area of the Monaragala district.

These pilot projects serve as tangible manifestations of Mr. Perera’s comprehensive action plan, meticulously crafted to encompass 20 pivotal steps.

These steps span across various domains including education, healthcare, agriculture, industry, information technology, transportation, and foreign employment.

With a vision to cultivate prosperity at the grassroots level, the Action Plan “Pohosath Gamak – Pohosath Ratak” aims to foster holistic development within rural communities.

These model villages are poised to serve as catalysts for socio-economic upliftment, fostering sustainable growth and resilience within these regions.

The Action Plan of “Pohosath Gamak – Pohosath Ratak” (A Rich Village – A Rich Country):

  1. Establishment of Community Kitchens: To address food insecurity among vulnerable households, the government will initiate the establishment of community kitchens in every village. These kitchens, strategically located in public spaces such as temples, churches, or kovils, will provide meals to impoverished families who struggle to afford basic sustenance. The government will allocate 50 per cent of the operational costs, with the remaining funds sourced from village philanthropists, societies, and corporate entities. This collaborative effort aims to ensure no family goes hungry within the community.
  2. Enhancement of Village Pre-schools: In alignment with global standards of early childhood education, village pre-schools will undergo a transformation to provide children with an enriching learning environment. Equipped with modern amenities including tables, chairs, and educational toys, these pre-schools will mirror the educational infrastructure seen in developed countries like the United States. Furthermore, the introduction of smart classrooms featuring digital screens will facilitate interactive learning experiences for children, fostering their cognitive development during the critical early years. Because 90 per cent of children’s brain development concludes between birth and 5 years of age, it is very important to provide such education. Recognising the pivotal role of educators, teachers overseeing these pre-schools will receive a stipend of Rs. 1,500 per child enrolled, incentivising the delivery of high-quality education.
  3. Implementation of Smart Classrooms in Village Schools: To bridge the education gap between rural and urban areas, village schools will be outfitted with state-of-the-art smart classrooms, mirroring the educational standards observed in prestigious urban institutions. Through this initiative, students in rural villages will have access to the same caliber of education imparted to their urban counterparts. Leveraging technology, these smart classrooms will enable students to learn from top-tier educators across Sri Lanka, fostering academic excellence and equitable access to quality education.
  4. Promotion of One Village One Product Concept: Under the “One Village One Product” initiative, each village will be empowered to specialise in the production of a distinct commodity, ranging from ornamental fish to coconut-based products. By equipping women and youth with the necessary knowledge and resources, this initiative aims to generate sustainable livelihoods within rural communities. The standardised production of a single product streamlines marketing efforts, facilitating bulk sales and ensuring fair prices for both producers and buyers.
  5. Adoption of One Crop per Village Concept (Colonial Crops): In alignment with local climate and soil conditions, each village will cultivate a designated crop, fostering agricultural sustainability and economic resilience. This “One Crop per Village” aka Colonial Crops concept enables families to earn supplemental income through the cultivation of long-term harvest crops such as coffee, mangoes, and coconuts. By collectively cultivating a single crop, villages streamline production and enhance marketability, ensuring a steady income source for residents.
  6. Establishment of Economic Centres in Samurdhi Bank Areas: To empower local entrepreneurs and promote economic self-sufficiency, small-scale economic centers will be established within Samurdhi Bank areas. These centres will serve as retail hubs, enabling residents to sell locally produced goods such as vegetables, fruits, dried fish and arecanuts. By providing a platform for direct sales, these centres empower residents to leverage their entrepreneurial skills and contribute to local economic growth.
  7. Implementation of Free Wifi Zones: To bridge the digital divide and promote digital inclusivity, free Wifi zones will be established in every village. These Wifi zones, located in religious or public spaces, will provide villagers with access to free internet facilities, facilitating online communication, education, and commerce. By democratising access to digital resources, these Wifi zones empower villagers to harness the transformative power of technology for personal and economic development.
  8. Establishment of Youth Leadership Clubs: To nurture future leaders and foster personal development among youth, youth leadership clubs will be established in each Grama Niladhari division. These clubs will provide leadership training, career guidance, and mentorship opportunities to young individuals, equipping them with the skills and confidence needed to pursue higher-paying jobs and fulfill their potential.
  9. Creation of IT Jobs and Language Schools: To address youth unemployment and enhance employability, IT jobs will be decentralised from urban centres to rural villages. Each village will be given 50 IT-related jobs and will host an IT office equipped with computers and internet facilities, creating employment opportunities for local youth. Additionally, language schools will be established to provide language proficiency training in English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Italian. Leveraging smart classroom technology, these schools will offer specialised training in high-demand professions, empowering youth to secure lucrative employment opportunities both locally and internationally. These courses can be completed within six-to-nine months, thereby permanently eradicating youth unemployment.
  10. Implementation of Digital Agricultural Systems: To modernise agriculture and enhance farmer livelihoods, digital agricultural systems will be implemented in villages. These systems will provide farmers with access to essential resources such as fertilisers, seeds, and agricultural knowledge, while also facilitating the sale of their crops through digital platforms. Additionally, mobile applications will provide farmers with real-time weather forecasts, enabling them to predetermine weather-changes ten days ahead, optimise crop cultivation, resist price fluctuations and minimise crop damage and losses. Fishermen living in coastal villages will be provided with modern technology to easily predetermine fishing areas in the sea, thereby enabling them to slash their fuel costs by 50 per cent. By embracing technology, these initiatives aim to revolutionise agriculture, increase farmer incomes, and promote sustainable agricultural practices.
  11. Enhancement of Transportation Accessibility: To address transportation challenges faced by school students and parents in areas lacking Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) bus services, the government will introduce season tickets for private buses operating on these routes. Additionally, parents accompanying young children to primary schools will also be eligible for season tickets at subsidised rates. For routes less than 5 kilometres without SLTB bus services, communal three-wheelers will be provided, while mini buses will serve routes exceeding 5 kilometres. Furthermore, to promote gender equality and accessibility, women will benefit from a 50 per cent fare reduction on SLTB buses during specified off-peak hours. To streamline transportation services, a dedicated smart app for rental three-wheelers will be deployed in every village, allowing users to efficiently book rides without queuing.
  12. Implementation of Elephant Fences: In regions prone to human-elephant conflict, the government will install elephant fences, utilising electric fencing technology to mitigate encounters between wild elephants and village communities. These fences will safeguard agricultural lands and residential areas, providing peace of mind to villagers and protecting both human and elephant populations from potential harm.
  13. Provision of Potable Water: To address water scarcity in rural villages, the government will undertake the construction of deep wells, ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water for residents. By implementing sustainable water infrastructure projects, the government aims to enhance public health outcomes and improve the quality of life for villagers.
  14. Promotion of Rural Tourism: In areas with tourist potential, the government will support the development of infrastructure to facilitate home stays for foreign tourists. This initiative includes the construction of attached bathrooms and other amenities to accommodate travellers within village households. Moreover, online training programmes will be offered to homeowners, imparting knowledge on maintaining hospitality standards and marketing their accommodations effectively. By promoting rural tourism, the government aims to boost local economies and create income-generating opportunities for villagers.
  15. Empowerment of Small-Scale Businesses: Through a series of targeted interventions, the government seeks to stimulate economic growth within villages and support budding entrepreneurs. The introduction of a reality TV programme titled “Startup Sri Lanka” will provide aspiring business owners with access to initial capital and mentorship opportunities. By showcasing innovative business ideas and fostering entrepreneurship, this initiative aims to catalyse economic development and create sustainable livelihoods in rural communities.
  16. Support for Religious Leaders and Pirivens: To support the religious activities of Buddhist monks and other spiritual leaders, the government will offer further education in religious doctrines and foreign languages such as English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Italian. Additionally, parents of monks and religious priests will receive VIP cards to expedite administrative processes. Smart classrooms will also be established in Pirivens to enhance educational outcomes and modernise religious education.
  17. Conservation and Cultivation of Endangered Species: In a bid to preserve biodiversity and promote sustainable agriculture, the government will initiate tree planting programs featuring endangered species native to Sri Lanka. Currently, there are 1496 species of endangered trees in the island. Villagers will also receive support to cultivate medicinal herbs and plants used in Ayurvedic medicine, creating additional sources of income and fostering environmental stewardship.
  18. Promotion of Dairy Farming: To support dairy farmers, the government will allocate government lands alongside village roads and river streams for grass cultivation. Furthermore, technical officers will be deployed to Samurdhi Bank zones to facilitate artificial insemination programmes, improving livestock productivity and enhancing dairy farming practices.
  19. Establishment of Telemedicine Centres: To enhance healthcare accessibility, telemedicine centres will be established in every fifth village, allowing residents to consult with healthcare professionals remotely. Additionally, health monitoring programmes will be implemented to assess the health status of elderly individuals, contributing to increased life expectancy and improved overall health outcomes.
  20. Development of Sports Infrastructure and Training Facilities: To nurture athletic talent and promote a healthy lifestyle, the government will provide access to professional sports training through video technology for players of volleyball, cricket, 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, high jump and long jump. Expert coaches will offer specialised training in various sports disciplines, empowering athletes to excel at national and international levels. Additionally, the establishment of sports complexes in select provinces will provide residential training facilities for elite athletes, fostering a culture of sports excellence and contributing to national pride.

These 20 steps have been meticulously crafted to align with the needs of the entire country and the specific requirements of the two chosen areas. Necessary measures are underway to establish the first two model villages, facilitated by the personal contribution of Mr. Dhammika Perera.

The inauguration of the initial model village will take place on April 17 during a New Year festival in the Bibila Wegama area. Subsequently, the second model village will be unveiled on April 18 during a New Year celebration in Alavathugoda, Konakalagala area.

This marks a significant departure from traditional political practices in the 76-year history of independent Sri Lanka. Mr. Perera’s initiative represents a practical commitment, bypassing mere promises, to guide an entire village towards a specific path of economic development. It is part of a comprehensive programme integrated into an action plan aimed at revitalising the country’s economy.

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