Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island country, known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Endless beaches, sandy shores, and year-long sunshine brought many European tourists and sustained local economies during uncertain times. 

In 2009, 30 years of civil war ended, and Sri Lanka embarked on rapid development with many opportunities and risks. Sri Lanka has experienced positive development since the end of the civil war, and is now a lower middle-income country. 

Country facts



1,8 %
Live in extreme poverty

Above 15 years of age cannot read or write

73 of 191
Human Development Index

Our work

Worked here since

Women and girls

Below 18 years

5 Local partners

Selected results (2019):

533 local leaders received training in political processes.

328 young people received vocational training.

1260 adults received training in school management.

More about our work

The economy is transitioning from being predominantly rurally based towards greater urbanisation, oriented around manufacturing and services. Extreme poverty is rare and exists in certain geographical pockets, but a large share of the population subsists on slightly more than the poverty line. 

While agricultural production is largely undisrupted, high food price inflation is disproportionately affecting the poor who spend a larger share of their budget on food. Peace did create shared prosperity, but growth is unevenly distributed with rural to urban migration creating further shortages in skilled and unskilled labour. Rural villages and areas in the north and east that were hardest hit by the civil war lag behind in sustainable income creation and encourage young people to remain where they are.

Our programmes

  1. Over the course of five years, we have implemented a programme to strengthen the socio-economic position of marginalised families and establish networks of small groups so that poor communities can represent themselves and claim their rights.
  2. We engage parents and local communities in becoming more involved and taking greater responsibility for their children's rights when it comes to education, and therefore we place a strong focus on building and strengthening local school committees that are governed and led by parents.
  3. A secure financial future also depends on a profession, which is why we work with vocational education and training to give young people an opportunity for a decent job.

Covid-19 effects

The economic effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic will have significant welfare implications. The crisis is believed to have triggered sharp jobs and earnings losses. Informal workers, about 70 percent of the workforce, are vulnerable as they lack employment protection or paid leave. The apparel industry, which mainly exports to US and Europe, employs about half a million workers, and has reportedly cut significant jobs.


Read more: