Civic Engagement and Accountability for Good Governance in Ratnapura District


There is so much discussed and taught about democracy and good governance. Democracy constitutes one of the oldest political systems practiced in many different. The most popular definition for democracy was given by Abraham Lincoln i.e.” Democracy is by the people, for the people, and of the people”. Basically, there are many versions and modifications are available from country to country and in Sri Lanka, it is the modification of the West Minster system practiced in Great Britain.

Ratnapura District, one of the two districts in Sabaragamuwa Province, has a total population about 1.929 million of which 9.1% is urban, 81.7% is rural and 9.2% is in plantations. As regards, gemming, Ratnapura district ranks first in the country. The district economy is mainly based in agriculture. It is a plantation district. There are 42 large estates and many small holdings under tea and rubber as cash crops.

There are many tourist attractions such as Adam’s Peak known world over, Bopathella falls and many more including ancient Buddhist shrines which attract both local and foreign tourists.

Due to the style of daily economic activities, sometimes the public has difficulties in interacting with duty bearers. The project has identified Grama Niladhari as the officer in civil administration closest to people.

Ratnapura district faces many natural disasters almost annually due to floods and landslides which requires the involvement of the government and non-governmental organizations to provide relief. Community Development Foundation is one among the NGOs that respond to such needs and community development in all three economic sectors.

However, with the emergence of the concept of good governance, the issues of accountability are given emphasis. As mentioned already Ratnapura district is a good mix of three major economic sectors in the country. Therefore the Community Development Foundation(CDF) conceptualized the project Civic Engagement and Accountability in Ratnapura to reduce or any gaps between government authorities and people in order that people will be better served. The main objective of the project is: Strengthening the communities to reap the benefits of good governance by interacting with service providers.

Already, two workshops have been conducted for the top level duty bearers and estate managers to prepare the base for the activities. This project would continue for a period of one year from June 1918 to May 1919.

This article on Good Governance Program\ in Ratnapura is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of the Good Governance Program in Ratnapura are the sole responsibility of the Community Development Foundation, Ratnapura and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.