A New Chapter - Handing Over to Local Partners in Sri Lanka

July 1, 2021

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After eleven years, War Child is handing over its programmes in Sri Lanka to local partners. The decision is marked by the closure of the Sri Lanka Country Office today and will see key activities including psychosocial support intervention TeamUp and all ongoing research and development projects included in the transfer.

New Strategic Partnerships

Our international management team (IMT) is currently in discussion with local NGO and potential new partner Centre for Children’s Happiness (CCH). The aim is to see one organisation take the lead in all future engagement in Sri Lanka.

Instead of having a country office, we will identify and invest in new strategic partnerships in local civil society. Marina Doris, our current Country Director in Sri Lanka, will support the first months of the transition - forging a presence among community groups, non-profits, the private sector and beyond.

“By strengthening the leadership of local and national actors, we hope to overcome sector-wide challenges and ultimately reach children faster."
Marina Doris, War Child Country Director, Sri Lanka

Committed to Localisation

The re-alignment supports War Child’s ambition to reach more children affected by war and conflict through an expert network of partners. It also hopes to address sector-wide challenges - in particular a difficult funding environment due to Sri Lanka’s recent transformation into a middle-income country (World Bank, 2019).

“War Child is committed to localisation”, says Doris. “By strengthening the leadership of local and national actors, we hope to overcome these challenges and ultimately reach children faster.”

Since 2010, Doris and her team have been achieving positive outcomes for children across the South Asian nation affected by a 26-year-long civil war that ended in 2009. Highlights include the facilitation of children and youth to participate in national decision-making as well as the development of community-owned child protection structures and safe spaces.

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Since 2010, our Sri Lankan team has been achieving positive outcomes for children across the South Asian nation

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TeamUp will move to support more children - with local organisations in the lead

Photo: Marcel van der Steen

Lending Expertise

In these spaces, children take part in structured play and movement-based activities helping them work through trauma - all part of the popular TeamUp intervention. They also gain access to more specialised protection and psychosocial support services. As it prepares to hand over the baton, War Child will lend its expertise to the implementation and scaling of these efforts.

“All involved - especially Marina and her immediate team - can be extremely proud of the impact their work has had on vulnerable children and youth across Sri Lanka”, says War Child CEO Ramin Shahzamani. “On behalf of the IMT, I would like to say thank you for your ongoing achievements and dedication.”