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CapAsia V

Kirinda Sri Lanka Kimberly El-Sadek Amber Gress Emily McIntosh Johanna Ofner Lisa Peffer Janak Ranaweera Tushari Ranaweera M . P. R a n a t u n g a Jagath Ratnayake

Kirinda’s historical significance dates back to the Second Century B.C. when King Devanampiyatissa of Kelaniya ordered a monk, who he accused of being involved in an intrigue between the queen and his own brother, to his death by boiling him in a cauldron of oil. The gods were angered by the King’s harsh response and so caused the ocean to flood the land. The King was remorseful in the wake of this ancient tsunami and as penance he built a boat of gold, provisioned it with a month of supplies, put his eldest daughter in it, and set the boat adrift. Many days later a fisherman spotted the boat off the shore of Kirinda. As he neared the boat to investigate he read the inscription on the boat that indicated a princess was aboard. He went to tell King Kavantissa of the southern region who ordered that she be rescued and brought to him. He eventually married the princess and named her Viharamahadevi for which the temple high on the rocks of Kirinda was built and named after. The Vihara Maha Devi temple has remained a pilgrimage destination over the centuries and Kirinda has remained relatively small and largely dependent on fishing and sea related activities. On December 26, 2004 the Kirinda area was heavily damaged by the tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean. Approximately 250 houses either sustained damage or were destroyed and as a result of this, 750 people were displaced in the village. As the sea subsided from the land many NGOs and their monetary aid poured into Sri Lanka to assist with the rebuilding and recovery process. It is this recovery process of the people - economic, social, and personal, that we came to Kirinda to learn about through observation and interactions with the people. This is their story. And ours.

Table of Contents Context Hambantota District Map..................................................................................................................... 4 Kirinda Map..........................................................................................................................................5 Phase I: Research Findings Introduction.......................................................................................................................................... 7 Methodology.........................................................................................................................................8 Demographics......................................................................................................................................10 Housing................................................................................................................................................11 Infrastructure......................................................................................................................................14 Economic Activity................................................................................................................................16 Children’s Issues................................................................................................................................17 Education........................................................................................................................................... 18 Environment.......................................................................................................................................19 Cultural Spaces..................................................................................................................................20 Public Spaces.....................................................................................................................................21 Other Influences.................................................................................................................................24 Shadow of the Tsunami......................................................................................................................26 Phase II: Community Workshop Introduction........................................................................................................................................ 29 Challenges......................................................................................................................................... 29 Meeting.............................................................................................................................................. 31 Phase III: Building Bridges Introduction........................................................................................................................................ 34 Project: Alipamaga Bridge..................................................................................................................34 Project: Matchmaking........................................................................................................................ 44 Project: Magama School....................................................................................................................45 In Closing........................................................................................................................................... 50 Appendix Letters of Request..............................................................................................................................52 Magama School Survey..................................................................................................................... 54 Presentations & Proposals.................................................................................................................57 2

Kirinda: Context


Context: Hambantota District Sri Lanka District Map



Context: Kirinda Tissamaharama DS Division

Kirinda Site

Tsunami Housing Schemes

Kirinda is located at the southern end of Sri Lanka in the Hambantota district. Within this district, Kirinda lies within the Tissamaharama DS Division at its southern end. The village itself lies within the Kirinda GN division which also encompasses the Yala National Park. We were charged with researching the recovery process of one of two tsunami housing schemes in the village of Kirinda. However, once we arrived on the ground we discovered how close in proximity the two schemes were to one another and that there were four other tsunami housing schemes in the very nearby Andaragasyaya village located in the Andaragasyaya GN. We quickly realized that all of the housing schemes were closely interrelated with one another, utilized common services, community facilities, and public spaces. In short, the housing schemes along with the existing housing form the greater Kirinda area that we refer to in this studio report. It is important to note that although the greater Kirinda area functions as a whole it is located in two different administrative divisions, each with their own administrator. 5


Phase I: Research Findings

Introduction The Kirinda Project Team is comprised of nine members: four American students, the daughter of one of the American students, and four Sri Lankan students.The American students came through the CapAsia V Program organized through Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana in the United States. The American teammates include a second year architecture student, a fourth year landscape architecture student, and two Masters in urban planning candidates. Four Sri Lankan students, all practicing planners, are Masters candidates from the University of Moratuwa in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. This team of nine was matched together by CapAsia and University of Moratuwa faculty to form a well balanced collaboration of skill sets and personal/professional backgrounds. The primary goal of the project in Kirinda was for the students to become familiar with the people, community, and village of Kirinda. The was done through preliminary research and on-site fieldwork. Preliminary research at the Urban Development Authority and the University of Moratuwa included presentations from the central government regarding the effects of the tsunami, the resulting disaster response, presentations on future plans for infrastructure and economic development, and collecting raw data from the central Urban Development Authority’s files. Additionally, a tour of the southeastern Sri Lankan coast offered the the group an on the ground perspective of the regional impact of the tsunami. Subsequent trips to Kirinda on multiple occasions were necessary to acquaint the team with the people, hear their “story”, find out about the people’s recovery process, and map the resulting resettlement schemes built in response to the tsunami. All methods of fact gathering while in Kirinda were done in a participatory manner: through stories told by individuals, visits with community leaders, tours of schools, and meetings with local officials. Even mapping required local knowledge, suggestions, and often personal tours as no formal map of Kirinda had been created since the tsuanmi razed many of the previous housing settlements. Between trips to Kirinda the Project Team reconvened with the larger CapAsia V group for classroom lectures, readings, and discussions relevant to the fieldwork. These classes sparked further questions and avenues of discovery during time spent in the field. Three trips to Kirinda were taken as an entire team, with additional trips taken by representatives of the team as needed. In light of research needs, meetings, networking, and information gathering visits to other villages and cities were taken when needed by respective members of the team. It is important to note that the team worked as one unit at all times. We worked, played, ate, and wrote together. At each phase of the project the Kirinda Project Team would hold a group meeting, discuss goals, strategies, and the best implementation methods. At times, the Team decided the best course of action was to “divide and conquer”, in honor of time contraints and work load. Throughout the entire project all nine of us were working towards the same goal. The success of any and all projects is due, in no small part, to the cohesiveness of our Team. In an attempt to be thorough, a variety of research methods were employed to familiarize the Team with Kirinda. Preliminary research in Colombo, the tour of the southeast coastal areas, and “on the ground” methods used in Kirinda allowed the Team to identify the following during Phase I: demographics, housing (temporary and permanent), infrastructure (water, waste, transportation, electricity, the harbor), economic activity, children’s issues, education, environment, cultural spaces, and public spaces. As the Team came to know the people and the village, other influences of importance to this community became apparent and worth noting in this studio report. These are our findings.


Methodology The field study in Kirinda utilized several different methodologies in order to gain an adequate understanding of the recovery process and ensuing challenges facing the Kirinda-Andaragasyaya villages. The first method employed was that of personally interviewing residents in regards to their tsunami survival story. Through storytelling, residents of both villages shared their relocation process experience including: time spent in temporary housing, changes in economic livelihood and economic status, family characteristics, daily routine, challenges experienced and changes desired, as well as the general satisfaction of the residents in regards to the relocation and recovery process. Lisa, Kim, Janak, Ranatunge Having Discussion

Amber Drawing with Kirinda Children

Lisa and Amber Interviewing a Family

The second method employed was interviewing various community leaders such as the Kirinda and Andaragasyaya GN officials, the chief of police, and a monk from the local temple. When interviewing the officials, care was taken to ask questions that elicited thoughtful responses rather than programmed answers based upon statistical data. A third method employed was an on-the-ground survey of the area by physically walking all the settlements in Andaragasyaya and by walking and driving around the Kirinda area due to its size. We felt this method to be very important as there is a dearth of recently updated maps for the village which has undergone a large transformation in response to the relocation of tsunami displaced persons to the area. Through physical surveying we were able to rough sketch an overview map, identify potential physical problems in the area, and we obtained GPS coordinates to map landmarks. The final method used was obtaining statistical data and other affiliated information from the local GN offices, the Hambantota District office, and finally from the Sri Lankan Urban Development Authority. While basic data regarding population and demographic attributes were available there remains a lack of adequate economic data other than occupational breakdown currently available and is likely to be the case until the next national census is conducted. At the end of each day our Team would regroup and discuss the day’s events, methodologies employed, and our findings. We would share stories of the people we met as well as the stories we ourselves were telling. Our stories told how we were affected both personally and professionally by the village. During this phase of fact gathering about the people’s recovery process, we were processing our role in the Kirinda community-home-life. Our role of student superceded our role as planner, architect, or landscape architect. It became 8

Methodology increasingly clear to us that our agency was limited. At the same time our mere prescence was misinterpreted by the people of Kirinda-they believed that we could potentially offer more than our true status as students, resources, or abilities. It was that realization that brought concern to all team members as we began to ask ourselves what right we had to invite the Kirinda community to recollect stories of pain, loss, and despair when we had nothing to offer in return. At this point in the process all of the personal and professional ethical issues we were experiencing from the beginning of the entire process came to a peak and we had several discussions about what we all felt was our ethical responsibilities as individuals, students, and professionals. Chief amongst the concerns was what right we felt we had to invade upon people’s recollection of surviving the tsunami and their recovery process, especially since we could not offer them anything tangible in return. Asking people to share their experience of a highly traumatic experience seemed irresponsible to us, since none of us were trained psychologists, or have specific training in interviewing disaster survivors. Collectively, we decided against asking or discussing the tsunami with children since they seemed to be the most fragile. We agreed to accept information the adults were willing to share, combined with observations about their standard of living to gauge economic recovery. We began to focus our “interviews� on recovery, rather than on loss. In this vein we began having solutions-based discussions that focused on better building, planning, and standards of living for Kirinda and its people.

Evening Group Discussion


Demographics The housing schemes that we studied straddle the eastern border of the Andaragasyaya GN Division and spill over into the Kirinda GN Division which is the reason for including demographic information for both divisions. As Andaragasyaya is the smallest division in regards to land mass in Sri Lanka it has a high population density of 509 persons per square kilometer. In contrast, Kirinda is the largest division in regards to land mass and has a much lower population density of 7 persons per square kilometer, however it should be noted that much of the land is preserved in the Yala National Park and other reserved areas which are minimally inhabited. Additionally, the population is balanced as far as gender is concerned. The population characteristics vary between the two divisions in regards to cultural identity. The overall population is 25% Muslim and 75% Sinhalese, while Kirinda is 42% Muslim and 58% Sinhalese, and Andaragasyaya is 2% Muslim and 98% Sinhalese. We have chosen to refer to these statistics as cultural identity rather than religious identity because Sinhalese persons can be of a number of religious identities even though they tend to be predominantly Buddhist. Overall, 18% of the housing stock was either damaged or destroyed and 62% of the population suffered economic damage through the loss of their livelihood. In Kirinda, 22% of the housing stock was damaged or destroyed and 79% of the population suffered economic damage. In sharp contrast, Andaragasyaya, 13% of the housing stock was damaged or destroyed and 39% of the population suffered economic damage.

Demographics Description Land Area Population (2007) Male Female Families Sinhalese Muslim Tsunami Affected Houses Completely Damaged Partially Damaged Economically Damaged Families Tsunami Deaths (Locals)

Andaragasyaya GN Division 518 sq. km. 3,677 1,821 1,856 804 460 344 180 111 69

Kirinda GN Division 4.8 sq. km. 2,445 1,263 1,212 582 574 8 76 36 40

522.8 sq. km. 6,152 3,083 3,068 1,386 1,034 352 256 147 109






14 52 Data Source: Sri Lanka U.D.A., GN Administrators


Housing: Temporary Village residents displaced by the tsunami were initially provided temporary housing and eventually relocated to permanent new housing schemes. Accommodations were funded by a multitude of donor agencies (NGOs), and infrastructure was provided by the government. The rebuilding process, as outlined by the graph below, continues today. Due to the intense scale of resettlement, each phase of reconstruction spans over months or years overlapping with other phases. While one housing scheme may be laying infrastructure and building permanent buildings, another group of people may be living in temporary wooden structures, awaiting their permanent relocation site. Thus the timeline indicates that recovery is indeed a process, where one community may be in several stages at any one given moment in time. Over the past 3.5 years since the tsunami, the people of Kirinda have called tents, wooden structures, and

cement buildings “home”. The majority of the displaced Kirinda community lived in Kirinda itself or 15 kilometers away in the nearest town of Tissamaharama. Those in Tissamaharama and many who remained in Kirinda co-housed with family and friends who were “unaffected” by the tsunami. For those who were unable to find lodging, tent shelter was provided immediately following the tsunami. Most people interviewed said they lived in tents through December of 2005, approximately one year. As soon as two months after the tsunami swept the land, temporary wooden housing was created and many people lived in temporary housing for upwards of two years. Of primary concern were the livelihoods, social, psychological and economic consequences which ensue with such displacement on a large scale. Public, private and donor agencies worked together to minimize the amount of time spent in temporary shelter.

Rebuilding Timeline Infrastructure

Self Built Improvements

3 Years

2 Years





Shelters 1 Year


6 Months 2 Months 26.12.2004 11

Housing: Permanent The housing reconstruction projects in Kirinda are numerous and vary in design. Six new resettlement schemes have been introduced to Kirinda, each by a different NGO and each offering a different design. Though the permanent housing built in Kirinda is largely successful, the practicality and cultural sensitivity of design and function have been questioned in all of the schemes. Sithjayapura


Soyurupura-World Vision


In a situation unique to Kirinda, the dislocated residents had the opportunity to preview model houses provided by each NGO. Upon viewing the design and location of all six schemes, each household was able to prioritize their preferred schemes. Many families collaborated with pre-tsunami neighbors, requesting to be relocated as a group into the same scheme. After preferences were chosen, a lottery system made the final decision as to who would be relocated into each respective scheme. Overall, many of the pre-tsunami communities were relocated together into their scheme of choice maintaining the previous social ties. The quality of construction varies widely between projects. One example of design differences is illustrated by the ASPIC and World Vision houses. ASPIC did not provide inside doors, while World Vision did. Inside doors are coveted by those who are without them, as they offer a greater sense of privacy than the makeshift doors of curtains or bed sheets that are commonly used in lieu of doors. Some problems with housing schemes can be due, in part, to cultural insensitivity by the designer. Many examples are illustrated by the design of kitchens. All kitchens in the new schemes are indoors, while a typical Sri Lankan kitchen in this area is in a separate building behind the living quarters in which the preferred cooking fuel of wood can be used without fouling the air inside the house. Indoor kitchens were built without chimneys or flues which mean that cooking must be done with gas on a gas stove, something that is not affordable to many of the residents. Kitchens are further inconvenienced in schemes that have bathrooms on the backside of the kitchen as the bathroom walls often do not reach the ceiling. This design flaw allows odors from the bathroom to drift into the kitchen and living spaces especially during hot weather. In response, families are making self-improvements, constructing outdoor or partially covered attached kitchens, away from bathrooms and in the traditional Sri Lankan vernacular. The Colliers Kirinda Trust project, a scheme of 44 houses designed by renowned architect Shiguru Ban, has several cultural design flaws that have contributed to discontent and resentment among the residents. Most notably is the veranda space; located in the center of the building, this space is intended to act as a circulation and ventilation core. However, traditional Sri Lankan vernacular places a veranda at the front of the house, 12

Housing: Permanent acting as an entryway and as a semi-public social space. Without this cultural detail the Colliers houses, seem too informal, lack a proper front entry and make for awkward social spaces. In this instance, the benefit of a design feature to increase ventilation in a hot climate, compromises a social space integral to Sri Lankan culture and community.

Kirinda Village-Colliers International

Rajapaksa-Terre de Hommes

Kirinda Village Garden

Mrs. R. Muthumula

Additionally, unlike most schemes, the model home showcased by the Colliers Foundation was not an accurate representation of the final product. The model home showcased a mixed cement-brick home with the interior spaces finished in plaster. The final product is simple brick, without an interior finish. While Shiguru Ban may feel that this is a material to be celebrated, the people living in these houses were disappointed to be given an unfinished home. Consequently, due to the exposed brick, interior walls have cracks that readily begin to crumble and create the need for constant cleaning to keep the interior free of dust. It should be noted that Shiguru Ban was the only architect to successfully separate the kitchen and bathroom space from the main living space of the house. However, these spaces have issues stemming from the walls not extending all the way up to the ceiling which allows for squirrels and other vermin to invade the spaces. The sense of urgency behind the rapid relocation timeline may be in part to blame for some of the design insensitivities and impracticalities. By and large the people of Kirinda feel safe in their new location and are happy with the housing scheme with which they have been provided. The people’s recovery process long withstands the time of reconstruction. The priority of the Sri Lankan government and International community of NGOs to provide permanent shelter as soon as possible allowed for a massive and rapid reconstruction project. Basic houses were rapidly provided for the hundreds who lost their homes in Kirinda. The timeline for structural reconstruction can be quantified. The timeline for recovery cannot. Yet signs of recovery appear among the resettlements. Self-improvements made to the basic house provided, such as a garden, a new kitchen, repainting, and personalization is evidence of the resilience of the human spirit. In the Rajapaksha community of Kirinda, a project of 86 houses funded by Terre des Hommes, the houses are maintained with much pride. Mrs. R. Muthumala has one of the most well maintained gardens in any of the reconstruction projects in Kirinda and her family is working on building a kitchen behind their house. Slowly, through tree plantings and individual gardens, the area is filling in the landscape that was cleared for construction. With each season the community grows toward its previous state of shady breeze-filled homes by the sea, and less like the arid landscape they moved into. Small touches such as a painted house, a flowering bush and a proudly decorated interior testify that homes are being created from the houses they were given. 13

Infrastructure Water

Fresh water is like blue gold in Kirinda. While some pre-tsunami houses were tied into the piped water supply, many others relied on a community tap. Community taps were placed in a central location in the midst of ten or twenty houses and the residents have to transport it by bucket back to their homes. Those not fortunate to have a community tap either buy water from a tanker truck which is costly or utilize the fresh water contained in the series of wewas that dot the landscape around Kirinda. Water Storage Tank

Carrying Water from Wewa

Wewa Activities

Households with a piped water system receive water supply twice a week during the monsoon and not so dry seasons and only once a week during the height of the dry season. Usually the supply of water comes in the middle of the night. Some households have electric water pumps that can move the water to the storage tanks, but most do not. Presumably, this midnight water supply discourages overuse of the piped water. However, it also creates a great hardship on the people of the village without a water pump as they must be awake when the water comes in order to move it, one bucket load at a time, to the storage tank. Although many people would like to have a piped water connection, the supply is too low to support the already existing demand, much less the demand additional households create. Alternatively, the fresh water wewas are heavily utilized as places to do laundry, have a bath, and to fulfill some household water needs. Restoration and expansion of the wewa system would help alleviate the high demand on the water supply as it provides an alternative for non-drinking uses. World Vision implemented a rainwater harvesting program in its scheme, but it can only be used during periods of rain.

Waste Waste disposal is a concern in the community because there is no garbage collection service and no dumping site exists within the community. Although the waste generated by the community is considerably less than a more developed area, there is still garbage present beside the roadways and in spaces that are not regularly maintained. Most people burn their garbage in their yards which is of some concern given the increased prevalence of nonbiodegradable packaging materials such as plastic drink bottles. Additionally, the area is quite arid during some parts of the year and the scrub brush that is ever present in the area could act as tinder to an unattended fire.

Refuse on the Roadside




Transportation can be a challenge in Kirinda due to the lack of improved roads and low frequency of regional bus service to larger towns such as Tissamaharama and Hambantota. Bus service only is scheduled three times a day: twice in the morning and once in the evening. An additional community bus is available on Sundays to take people to Tissamaharama. Most local transportation occurs either on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, and small tractors. There are a number of three-wheeler vehicles in the area but many of them are owned for private use only and not as taxi vehicles. Three-Wheelers

Electricity Electrical service is present in the greater Kirinda area and nearly all of the tsunami houses are tied into the power grid which is quite reliable and experiences minimal power disruptions. Many of the other houses and buildings in the area are also electrified as long as they are situated along the power corridors which generally follow the route of the more improved roadways. There are still a number of houses without electricity either due to being located too far away from a connection point, not being built with wiring, or the families being too poor to afford the connection fee and monthly charges. The Colliers International Kirinda Village housing scheme installed the area’s first solar power street lamps rather than add to an increasingly burdened electrical grid which was in keeping with the scheme’s committment to using more environmentally sustainable materials. Recent installation of wind turbines have been occurring in the Hambantota region which takes advantage of the ever present off shore winds to generate much needed electricity for the area. However, this requires that the wind turbines be tied into the power grid which is costly and has capacity constraints. Alternatively, there is a small pilot program for the installation of household size wind turbines paid for through the use of micro credit mechanisms that do not require a tie-in to the local power grid.


Kirinda Fisheries Harbor

Electrification Project

Solar Powered Street Lamp

Kirinda is fortunate to have an influx of tsunami aid that redeveloped the fishing harbor and its facilities which include a boat docking area, ice making facilities, covered market area, and a repair area. Upgrades have been made to the harbor itself which includes installation of rock jetties to provide a calmer access for boats to the sea and dredging of the harbor to deepen it. It remains to be seen how successful the harbor will continue to be into the future because the local authority will be responsible for future maintenance and the central government will be in charge of periodic dredging of the harbor. The local community wonders if these activities will be funded as needed. 15

Economic Activity We explored the economic activity of the Kirinda-Andaragasyaya area by looking at employment, entrepreneurship, and tourism activities. In regards to employment it was found that approximately 70% of the population is involved in the fisheries sector with 60% actually engaged in fishing activities and 10% participating in ancillary fishing support services. About 15% of the population is involved in chena cultivation and farming, and the remaining 10% of the population is engaged in working for the local government services which encompass forest and wildlife management, police/military, and fishing harbor operations. While there are a number of small local businesses in the villages many are secondary to the primary occupation of the residents and operate in a very informal manner out of private homes so it is difficult to precisely gauge what percentage of the population are entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurial businesses are generally related to small shops providing sundries and food stuffs, everyday items necessary to the community due to infrequent affordable transportation to the major shopping destinations of Tissamaharama and Hambantota. There has been an effort to provide a space at the base of the Viharamahadevi Temple for the petty traders adversely affected by the tsunami. There are approximately 50 shop spaces for rent on a competitive bidding basis and currently only half of the spaces are rented due to a combination of high rent and low traffic, there are an additional 20 businesses located along Temple Road. While most businesses provide sundries and food items there are a few that are engaged in selling textiles and souvenirs related to the temple. Tourism activity is present within the community but is not fully realized at this point in time due to a number of issues. Kirinda and Andragasaya are home to the historic Buddhist temple and the Yala National Forest. The temple generally attracts pilgrims from the larger regional area and the Yala National Forest attracts both local and foreign tourists. Most touring Kirinda maintain a base and arrange provisioning in the larger town of Tissamaharama rather than contribute directly to the local economy of Kirinda and Andaragasyaya. Currently there are very limited guest house/hotel facilities available and the major resort hotel was obliterated by the tsunami and has not been rebuilt. Additionally, the proximity to previous LTTE activities in the area has negatively impacted the tourism in the area.

Daily Catch at the Fishing Harbor

Sundry Shop

Viharamahadevi Temple


Children’s Issues

The children of Kirinda have persevered through many hardships—the tsunami, reconstruction, many losses and adjustment to daily life in a completely transformed environment. Teachers from all three schools servicing the Kirinda community comment that following the tsunami children played less, were quieter and were easily startled by loud noises. Many children suddenly became introverted, even anti-social. Psycho–social counseling has just recently been introduced to Kirinda. Today teachers note that over the past 3.5 years most children have found their own coping mechanisms. Unlike the reclusive behavior seen immediately after the tsunami, children are once again playing and eager to have fun.

Ashani Interested in the children’s process of recovery, we asked a Grade 1 class at the Magama School to draw their home (not their house). The themes that appeared in their drawings were fascinating. Many focused on the butterflies and ducks that always surround their homes, intently drawing their families and outhouses and the technicolor sky. They seem to associate their homes with gardens, the warmth of a lit window and a welcoming path leading to their house. Interestingly, one child included several of the cultural design details that were so obviously important to the success or failure of the tsunami reconstruction projects. Ashani’s drawing included an outdoor bathroom and kitchen, a front porch and the front gate. These details are part of what makes his house a home and determine its functionality. 17


Magama School

Kirinda Primary School

Muslim Vidyalaya School

The Magama School is a Sinahala language Kindergarten through 10th grade school located in Magama, but serves children of Kirinda, Andaragasyaya, and Magama areas. The school currently provides education for 800 children and serves as a meeting space, community center, and plays hosts to various festivals. The school had minor physical impacts from the tsunami, but the children were affected psychologically by the tsunami. The school is a recepient of a grant from the Rajapaksa Foundation and is currently building a new three story building and upgrading existing facilities to better meet the needs of the children and community.

The Kirinda Primary School is a Sinhala Kindergarten through 5th grade school serving children from Kirinda and Andaragasyaya. Approximtely 200 children attend the school and the school also functions as a meeting space for community groups. This school suffered damage from the tsunami and was repaired and added to by USAID and its facilities are very basic. The main concern of the principal and staff of the school is the rate of children leaving school after finishing the 5th grade as they must transfer to the larger Magama school which is some distance away. Additionally, children often leave school to contribute to their household incomes.

The Muslim Vidyalaya School is a brand new facility built by UNICEF and CARE as the old school was destroyed by the tsunami. The school provides education from the 1st through 10th grades for approximately 350 students. The school educates the Muslim students in the Kirinda-Andaragasyaya area in the Tamil language, but also offers Sinahala and English language education. As students progress through the school the ratio of boys to girls reaches 2:1 as many girls leave school after completion of 8th grade. The school is struggling to recruit and pay for qualified teachers especially for those in the sciences and upper level classes.

Jayasena Naotunna Vice Principal, Magama School

W.K. Nandasivi Principal, Kirinda Primary School

M. Kamurdeen Gym Teacher, Muslim Vidyalaya 18


Environmental issues related to tsunami recovery are either the effect of prior natural system manipulation or consequences of the tsunami’s impact. One of the most evident examples of man made alterations to natural systems is the coastal management practice that cleared massive sand dunes on the Yala Safari Hotel beach. Because the dunes had been leveled for clear views and easier access for hotel guests, there was no protection of the hotel structure from the tsunami. Without the natural protection of the sand dunes, numerous deaths, structural destruction, and degradation to jungle lands resulted due to the unabated impact of the tsunami. In Brown’s Safari Beach Hotel Ruins comparison, a nearby hotel that maintained its sand dunes suffered minimal damage and reported zero deaths. The surrounding vegetated areas within Yala National Park experienced damage from the enormous wave, such as the destruction of trees and water system patterns. Other environmental concerns were caused as a direct result from the tsunami disaster. Most notably is the alteration of soil salinity levels. This change in soil quality directly impacted the health of agriculture vital to the region’s economy, such as rice paddy and chena farming . In addition, excess salinity in the soil has polluted ground water, hampering the growth of natural vegetation. Flooding is another major concern. Reconstruction has altered natural stormwater systems and cleared vegetation which has weakened the regions environmental recovery process. Consequently, recurrent flooding has ensued which has had a greater bearing on settled lowland areas. The loss of vegetation has impacted communities on a microscale level. As vegetation was cleared to make room for resettlement schemes, natural cooling systems have been replaced with heat island effects. Stories shared with us about living conditions before and after the tsunami include the effects of vegetation versus a lack there of. Once having lived along the coast, whether in large or small homes, many reminisce over the refreshing ocean breezes and shady yards abundant with palm trees and home gardens. After the tsunami, in an effort to build in a safer location, people were moved inland and to higher ground where land was cleared to create new settlements. The distance from the sea took away the ocean breeze and the cleared land took away the trees. In some of the new settlements where trees have been planted beside homes, natural air conditioning has been created. Residents wish for more mature vegetation as a natural remedy to their increased house Village Houses heat index. 19

Cultural Spaces

Playing Cricket

While new and former cultural spaces in Kirinda are an asset to the community, at times, their diversity contests the space. An example is the Kirinda Vihara Maha Devi Temple, Viharamahadevi Temple a popular tourist attraction among locals. The residential community surrounding the Buddhist temple is largely Muslim Malay. The close proximity of a Buddhist cultural center in the middle of a Muslim community has created a tension between the two cultural groups about the division of space. Originally the settlement was built on space earmarked for the preservation of the temple. After the tsunami this land was re-zoned to support tsunami resettlement. A portion of the once prescribed Buddhist land is currently located in the Colliers Kirinda Trust scheme, and home to a Malay community that is currently working on the construction of a community mosque. Despite its differences in culture, religion, ethnicity and geo-political boundaries, the Kirinda community on a whole is accentuated by its varicolored character. Cultures commune in the many public spaces.

Buddhist Monk at Viharamahadevi Temple

Soyurupura Mosque


Public Spaces: What Is Working

There are a significant number of public spaces in Kirinda. Some existed before the tsunami, such as the natural wewas, while a great number of new community spaces were introduced by various NGOs post-tsunami. Because Kirinda spans two GN divisions and multiple development schemes located adjacent to each other, some of the community spaces were strategically placed to provide service to both GNs. Each of these spaces has been constructed by different NGOs, to varying degrees of success.

Kirinda Peripheral Hospital

Woman Going to Wewa

In discussions with local residents, vendors, schools and community representatives, young and old alike, local tales and the history of certain spaces revealed interesting stories about the functionality, practicality and overall community satisfaction of these public spaces. A few places stand out as working well for the community, while some do not seem to be working as well as intended. The impressions of these community spaces give insight to this community’s priorities and concerns, and an overall sense of how the power of community can bring together two districts of displaced people, of different cultural and political persuasions, in an attempt to create a stronger and better life for their families in the wake of a destructive disaster. Characteristics of public spaces that appear to be working well include: location, capacity, political harmony, and layout. Those identified by the community as working well are the new hospital, wewas, playgrounds, community centers and an informal pola. The Kirinda Peripheral Hospital was built by the NGO Terres de HommesNetherlands. It is in a central location, on the arterial road, accessible by the greater Kirinda area. It focuses on prenatal and early child health care, and treatment of illnesses and minor injuries. The facilities are widely used, and there are requests from residents to expand its services to include public health education, to obtain an ambulance and to add an elder health care component. Surgeries and complicated procedures must be done at a larger hospital in Tissamaharama, 15 kilometers away.

Washing Clothes and Bathing in Wewa

Self-Built Pola

Wewas are widely used by the community for bathing, washing laundry, taking a quick swim, and sometimes fishing. Because wewas are used for such utilitarian purposes people generally prefer to have one nearby their home so as not to have to travel too far with wet clothes and the like. Some wewas have dried up since the new construction of the many schemes around the wewas. Residents are requesting that dry wewas be repaired, as the need for them has increased due to the increase in housing density as families relocated from the beach areas. Additionally, as nearly all the new houses are connected to the piped fresh water supply the demand for water is higher without a corresponding increase in supply. Restoring and maintaining wewas also helps alleviate the demand on the piped water supply for uses other than drinking, cooking, or sanitation uses. We came upon a self-built pola, situated in a “central location� to the locals within the new settlements. It would be easy to walk past this pola, on a non-market day, unnoticed. Situated on a tertiary dirt road 21

Public Spaces: What Is Working

Andaragasyaya GN Office

Kirinda GN Office

that appeared to dead-end into an unused open space, this pola appears to be in a precarious location. To our surprise, despite the fact that streets and infrastructure do not lend to this being a central node, this location seems to work best for the villagers. Having returned to the pola during operating market hours, we found a thriving fair that seemed to sprout out of nowhere. Residents from Andaragasyaya, Kirinda and Magama participated both as sellers and New Playground buyers. This informal market exhibits a quintessential thriving exchange of goods and healthy community gathering space for the community at large. Scattered throughout Kirinda are numerous brand new playgrounds. Before the tsunami, there were just a few. Since the creation of playgrounds by NGOs, teachers and parents report children loving them to the point of conflict with schoolwork. There is such excitement for the time on the playground; adults are concerned that children are spending less time on the coursework, to have more time on the playground. Each GN division administrator has been built a brand new office building with an attached community center. Offices are in full use and receive many visitors each day, both officials and local residents. The community centers appear to be regularly used and are equipped with tables and chairs, although there were no functions at the time we were visiting.

Lela Mother, Wife, Grandmother, Aunt, Niece, and Entrepreneur, Lela Sepala and her family lost their home during the tsunami and received a new house in one of the tsunami housing schemes. Since the inception of the wooden pola, Lela found financial opportunity to support her extended family and unemployed husband. A vendor in the twice weekly pola, Lela sells homegrown produce along with children’s and ladies’ clothing. Unemployment being high and incomes low, many purchases are made on credit. Lela does not know when or how her neighbors will be able to repay their debt. Without their payments, she is unable to reinventory. When asked her preference of pola location, Lela unabashedly proclaims her allegiance to the current, though informal, pola. Factors such as location, function, and affordability of the wooden pola were decidedly more important to Lela than the formal modern new structure built to house all Kirinda pola vendors.


Public Spaces: What Is Not Working Proposed and built by the central government, a beautiful new pola has been constructed within the Kirinda village, to service both Kirinda and Andragasaya. Traditionally, polas are under the direction of the local government. Although in this instance, the central government has funded and built this pola and wants recognition for its construction and authority. Displeased with this unconventional demand, the local government will not endorse the opening of this pola. Upon further questioning of local vendors at the informal, self built pola, it was pointed out that the new pola is a metal roofed structure on a concrete floor that gets very hot under the afternoon sun and that the metal roof is built too high to shield them from the wind driven monsoon rains. Additionally, the location of the new pola is too far from the western reaches of Andaragasyaya and from Magama where the chena fields and Government Built Pola rice paddies are located making a longer distance to travel with goods. Pre-tsunami a vending junction was at a fixed location at the base of the beloved seaside temple. This site is a hub for local cultural tourism, as many travel to Kirinda to visit the temple. Traditionally, vendors aligned wooden “temporary” vending structures in rows, allowing customers to peruse stalls, flowing from one to the next. After the tsunami the NGO Care International redesigned this space as a permanent vending junction. Fifty stalls were built out of concrete to formalize this vending zone. In the process, they reconfigured the layout of the vending area. The new design has stalls in groupings of 2-7. With this design, customers tend to visit only a few stalls, one or two “groupings” of stalls. Overall sales have gone down due to this changed flow of customer traffic. Vendors are happy with the new permanence of the stalls, but Temple Vending Junction wish the layout was less disjointed.

Chanti Chanti, is a female vendor at the Kirinda Junction at the base of the temple. She sells sundries and offers a shady spot to relax and enjoy a local herbal tea called bellimal, sipped with bits of jaggery. After the tsunami, Chanti says tourism picked back up. About 40-50 customers would come to her stall per day. Since the recent LTTE activity, she estimates about 10 people walk past her stall a day. She lives 3-4 kilometers from the Kirinda Junction. Serving just 10 people a day cannot justify the traveling and long days in a quiet stall. She now only opens her stall on the busiest day of the week, Saturdays. Chanti lives with her two sons, one daughter, one daughter in law and two grandchildren. She relies on her eldest son’s income from the fisheries to support them. Her youngest son, 17, is joining the Airforce, to further support the family. When asked if her family will be able to support themselves under current tourist constraints due to LTTE activity, Chanti says: “I am hopeful that the fighting will come to an end within the next few months.” 23

Other Influences Flooding

The tsunami temporary housing is being repurposed. Built to house those displaced from the tsunami, these wooden structures have fulfilled their original purpose long ago. However, this temporary housing is a testament to the saying, “nothing is temporary in Sri Lanka”, as they are currently in use, by others.

Flood Displaced Family

Inside Temporary Shelter

To this day, annual flooding destroys houses and displaces people from Kirinda and its surrounding area. Victims of recent floods have been relocated to higher, safer ground in the same temporary housing built for tsunami survivors. Current residents say these dark, hot wooden timber houses are satisfactory for the time being. However, these structures are not meant to be used as permanent shelter. The flood victims living there today find themselves in a difficult situation, because though they may not stay in this housing, government flood aid is not sufficient to provide permanent housing construction. Following the tsunami, these wooden structures were quickly constructed by the local temple as an immediate and temporary response to the tsunami. The temple did not intend this aid to be permanent either in form or in function. Presently these structures are under consideration to be torn down to make space for a “proper” temple for the chief monk. When asked where those displaced by floods will go for temporary shelter, once the current wooden shelters are de-constructed, the Chief Monk’s response is: “They will go to the school as they did before.” Upon visiting three schools in the community, we have yet to find a school that has served as temporary shelter to flood victims. It seems that the families displaced by the flood will once again be displaced when this temporary housing is torn down.

Maleesha Maleesha’s family has been living in temporary housing since the annual flooding destroyed their mud brick house last year. Though the structures are only wood and asbestos, they have no other housing options. Aid provided by the government is not adequate to rebuild their house, and was used long ago to support their family of five. At the moment, her mother works as a seamstress and her father as a fisherman. Maleesha is bright, and may test high enough to attend a boarding school in Colombo. Despite her intelligence, she also uses fairness cream, a sad reflection on the influence of the media and residual colonialist hierarchies of skin color. 24

Other Influences

Flood & Tsunami Prone Areas Map

LTTE The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as Tamil Tigers, is a militant Tamil nationalist organization founded in the 1970s with the mission of creating a separate Tamil state within Sri Lanka. This group has been identified as a terrorist organization and for over thirty years has been responsible for many acts of violence including bombings, assaults, kidnappings, acts of piracy, assassinations, and forcible relocation of non-Tamil people from its stronghold areas. As related to the area near Kirinda, there were several incidents within the Yala National Park with the LTTE escaping the Sri Lankan army by fleeing into the forest area and setting up small camps. The LTTE were responsible for burning down a number of circuit bungalows within the Yala National Park. These activities had an adverse affect on the tourism industry that is a vital part of the economy in the area. In 2007, the Sri Lankan army and government have pushed back the LTTE into the far northern reaches of the country. Although the risk of LTTE activity in the south eastern area of the country where the Yala National Park and Kirinda are located is very miniscule currently, the continuing periodic activity of the LTTE in the northern areas and Colombo have had a negative impact on the overall number of tourist coming to Sri Lanka.

Kirinda LTTE Activity Map


Shadow of the Tsunami Effects of the tsunami are further reaching than previously considered. Listening to multiple personal stories, questions regarding the definition of “affected” arose: Who was included? Who was excluded? Personal stories, fact checking and interviews with local authorities revealed a new aspect of the tsunami recovery. It came to light that “everyone is affected by the reconstruction”. A new story began to be painted. A shift in research took place: from looking at the “affected” and “non-affected” to reconsidering the relationship between the “displaced” and “nondisplaced”. The tsunami created a situation in which great amounts of aid where given to those displaced by the tsunami. This included not just money and shelter, but also: • Household goods • Clothing • Equipment and tools for livelihood maintenence and economic development • Physical infrastructure: roads, piped water, and electricity Family Residing in a Cadjan House

All of these were gifted to the displaced. To the “lucky” that were not displaced-no aid was given. This created a disparity between two groups that did not exist before. Children and parents alike experienced an economic gap that had social and psychological ramifications. There are even stories of parents drinking poison - overwhelmed with the inability to compete within this new economy and social situation, due to their local economy being flooded with relief funds. Even suicide has became a desperate option for some.

Wattle & Daub House

Post-tsunami, NGO’s and the government alike found their pockets deeply lined, earmarked for “the displaced” by the international community of donors. Abundant gifting had unforeseen effects for those not identified as “affected” by the tsunami. 26

Shadow of the Tsunami Impacts Economic Shelter Water Electricity Roads Accessibility Social Emotional & Psychological

Displaced Given money Given occupational equipment Given permanent structures on less land Given piped water (increased water usage) Given electricity Built new paved and dirt roads Further from schools Close to new structures Still have same neighbors Close proximity to neighbors (too dense) Socially equalized Happy with new settlement overall sense of security and safety

Non-Displaced Chena farmers who lack land Loans through black market Traditional mud brick home on more land Community pump (less water now) Oil lamps Same as before Same distance to schools Far from new structures New neighbors (increased density) Social disparity created Depression, envy, suicide

The above chart demonstrates how both the displaced and non-displaced residents were affected by the tsunami and the subsequent influx of donor aid afterwards.

Tale of Two Children A story of 2 school children in the same class, pre and post tsunami, illustrates the affects aid can have for both the receivers and non-receivers of aid. Pre-tsunami these 2 boys knew each other and were friends with similar resources. After the tsunami: The boy who was displaced came to school with new shoes. The non-displaced still wore his old pair of slippers. The displaced had new clothes. The non-displaced wore his same old clothes. The displaced had new school supplies. The non-displaced did not. The displaced did his homework under electric lights. The non-displaced continued to squint under oil lamps. 27



Phase II: Community Workshop


Introducing the Meeting Goals

Upon completion of Phase I, the Team returned to Kirinda to organize a community meeting. The goal was to engage local residents in the bottom-up planning process, whereby they would identify the needs of their community and solutions to those needs. It has long been a criticism that traditional community planning processes have been characterized by a top down approach resulting in local residents being told what their planning needs were and denying them an opportunity to play a truly meaningful role in determining the planning needs of their own community. Denying participation to residents misses out on a wealth of “local expertise� the residents possess about their own community and its needs, and perhaps interferes with the potential engagement opportunities that residents might have in the impletation of any eventual plan. While organizing the meeting, a number of challenges became apparent and needed to be resolved in order for the partifipants, and the community, to have a successful experience. It is our belief that we successfully overcame most of these identified challenges and had a successful and productive community meeting.

Distribuiting Survey Materials

Challenges Time & Place

Johanna Draws with the Children

One of the most significant challenges in organizing the community meeting was the time factor. The meeting was scheduled from 10am to 1pm on a Friday. This was an issue because a significant proportion of the residents are Muslim and Friday is the communal prayer day, with the midday prayer occurring between noon and 1pm. The timing was also a factor for parents as school dismissed at noon requiring parents to either pick children up from school or be at home to receive them. The community meeting was scheduled in the Kirinda Muslim School which caused the meeting to have two constraints: the school would be closing at noon and the school is some distance from those residents residing in the northern and western areas of Andaragasyaya. Because of the time constraints, as a group we chose to condense the meeting time to two hours to be sensitive to the community’s needs. 29


Language & Literacy Because the American students on the academic team did not speak Sinhala it was decided that the Sri Lankan students would take the lead in facilitating the actual meeting and that English translation would not be provided real time in order to finish the meeting within the two hour time frame that we had previously agreed upon. We realized that there would be a number of community members that were not literate so there would be scribes provided so they would be able to participate in the written exercises and their voices would be heard. Nihal Scribes for a Community Elder

Academic vs. Professional While extending meeting invitations to the villagers, it was learned they often attend meetings on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. This raised concern for the fact tiresome meeting goers may not take our workshop seriously, if they choose to attend at all. Monetary incentive could not be given by the group to the villagers like some NGO and governmental agencies had done in the past to compensate for lost daily wages. Those attending would have to be given verbal incentive. The Sri Lankan students in the group affiliated with Urban Development Authority (UDA) extended invitations to the workshop by stating they were working on governmental UDA behalf. It was expressed the meeting purpose was to gather community issues for UDA future planning. However, the fact of the matter was the purpose of the community meeting was purely academic. The Sri Lankan group members assumed an academic exercise would not be a trigger for attendance or genuine participation by the community members. Jagath Answers Questions

Ethics When it came to organizing the community meeting, the issue of ethics was once again raised as far as what right did we have to ask for and expect participation by the community especially when this seemed to be a purely academic exercise without a plan for the findings to be presented to any government office or official for further consideration. As a group we elected to continue with the meeting as planned by our professors. Our hope was that way may hear a way in which we could use our agency to facilitate the implementation of a community driven solution that would be identified at the meeting.


Meeting: Process

Individual Response

Group Responses

As the meeting time and location was already determined before we arrived in the village we only had to organize for refreshments, obtaining necessary meeting supplies, arrange the meeting space, and of course invite area residents to participate in the meeting. As a group we elected to invite all the people that we had interviewed during the first phase of this project and then ask them to identify community leaders that we could invite as well. We also extended invitations to the Andaragasyaya and Kirinda GN administrators, the police chief, and the school principals. We were careful to invite men, women, young, old, Buddhist, Muslim, displaced, and non-displaced individuals in order to have a cross section of the community represented in the meeting. We also provided childcare so that it would be easier for individuals with small children to attend. Initially, we were given a meeting format to follow but upon discovering the time challenge we condensed the format somewhat in order to meet this constraint. At the workshop introductions were made , the agenda and format discussed, and the approximately 50 attendees divided into four work groups. The group at large was asked to list their top three issues within the community individually. Then, the four break out groups would whittle all the collective responses in the group to three main issues. Those priority issues would then be shared with the group at large. The group responses were written on poster at the front of the room and divided into categories such as water, transportation, economy, health, etc. A short break with refreshments was taken and then the meeting reconvened. The next step entailed everyone voting on the order of importance, both within each category and between the categories. After prioritizing the issues the meeting participants were asked to brainstorm potential solutions for each of the issues they had identified. Everyone attending took this process very seriously and fully participated in the meeting. Not once did anyone ask us what we were going to provide them, and all of the issues raised were of a true community nature-not just solely individual issues.

Ranatunga & Janak Categorize Group Responses


Meeting: Outcomes The table below summarizes the small group responses from the workshop which reflect individual responses identifying issues within the community. The community categorized their responses into the following sectors: economic, housing, transportation, water, and welfare issues that the community is facing.

Sector Classified Group Response Sector

Group 1

Group 2


Vocational training

Kitchen & toilet Housing issues in tsunami houses Alipamaga Bridge Transportation repair Inadequate supply Water Palaugaswewa Tank repair Welfare


Group 3 Fishing harbor N/A dredging Housing for poor, Housing for poor tsunami and flood victims Internal road upgrade Alipamaga Bridge Street lighting repair

Group 4

Inadequate supply

Inadequate supply

Inadequate supply

New playground in Andaragasyaya

Dalada Vihara Temple needs building for religious study


Unemployment Housing for poor, tsunami and flood victims Internal road upgrade Access roads needed

This table represents the entire group’s effort to prioritize the needs within each sector by voting with a simple show of hands. Reflected below are the top issues identified in the previous table and the vote count indicating which issue in each sector the residents thought was the greatest priority.

Prioritized Issues Within Sectors Economic Housing Transportation Issue Vote Issue Vote Issue Vote Upgrade of Housing for fishing harborpoor, tsunami Alipamaga 8 28 20 dredging and and flood Bridge repair enlarging victims Providing a Factory to Internal road 21 proper kitchen 15 6 provide jobs upgrades and toilet Street lighting

Water Issue

Welfare Vote Issue Vote Dalada Vihara Inadequate Temple needs 10 5 supply building for religious study New Palaugaswewa 16 playground in 5 Tank repair Andaragasyaya Water supply 2 for Gemunu 3 Mawatha Road 32















Phase III: Building Bridges


In our third phase personal, team, and community processes began to run parallel to one another. Like the Kirinda community, out team came together with varied backgrounds, beliefs, resources and goals. As the people of Kirinda questioned and challenged us, we questioned and challenged ourselves. By this phase our Project Team goals aligned with what the community shared to be one of their top concerns. We began this last phase of our project in Kirinda with the objective of further researching how to rebuild a local bridge. Formal and informal research findings offered new information that made us change course many times. Based on the strength of the people of Kirinda and the synergy of their differences, we unite as students, community members, organizations, schools and public representatives from different cultures to build bridges both metaphorically and literally.

Project: Alipamaga Bridge

The feedback we received from personal interviews, meetings and the community workshop all had one theme in common: the repair of the Alipamaga Bridge. It was not surprising to find the bridge mentioned at the workshop, and then to see it prioritized within the top three main concerns of the community. A little more research into the bridge made the reason obvious. Our objective over the last three weeks was to identify the most viable and sustainable way for the bridge to be rebuilt, and locate key players and potential funding sources. The Alipamaga Bridge is a main thoroughfare connecting three communities: Andragasaya, Kirinda and Magama. It connects fishermen to the sea, farmers to chena fields, the prayerful to their places of worship, vendors to the pola, children to schools and families to loved ones. During monsoon, users hoping to save multiple kilometers risk the flooded bridge crossing with their bicycles held precariously above their heads. Built by a community member in the 1960s, the bridge was originally precast reinforced concrete, spanning 60 feet and approximately 15 feet wide. The bridge served pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes, small tractors and three-wheelers; there are larger bridges several kilometers up the river that can sustain Alipamaga Bridge daily traffic by vans, buses and trucks. Since the construction of Alipamaga Bridge was lead by a community member and not the local authority, it was not maintainted by the government. The bridge served its users well until tsunami and monsoon flooding weakened its footings and pulled the structure into the river. When the bridge’s designer, builder, and maintainer, now bedridden, was told about the current state of the bridge, he replied only “not my bridge.” Again, since the bridge is not under the government’s authority, it has lain in disrepair for three years, growing steadily worse with each monsoon. Local residents have repairded the bridge, as best as they can, which is to a barely functional level. Palm trunks have benn lain over the broken bridge, covered by sandbags, and compacted soil. The lack of railings and erosion prevention make the bridge quite dangerous, especially during monsoon season. Now motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians only use the bridge; it is not wide or steady enough to support a three-wheeler or tractor. Informational interviews with bridge users, community leaders and local authorities all stated an awareness of the lack of safety of the bridge in its current condition. Local sentiment expressed that the state of the Alipamaga Bridge as our team witnessed it illustrated the extent of the people’s resources and agency in maintaining it to withstand daily traffic loads or the impending annual monsoons.


Methodology Before deciding on a plan that could be implemented and sustained, we needed more background information about the bridge. It was decided to do the following: 1) Conduct foot traffic surveys of the bridge activity at different times and on different days. 2) Identify local vernacular bridge design. 3) Obtain a streamside analysis of the bridge from a certified engineer.

Traffic Survey

Upon returning to Kirinda on a weekend, we decided that the most accurate survey given the time constraints would involve multiple foot traffic surveys. Surveys included a tally of the number of people crossing the bridge from each direction, and interviews of bridge crossers. Tallying included information such as: • numbers of adults • numbers of children • mode of transportation • direction in which each individual is going Interviews were conducted in Sinhala, translated to English, and consisted of basic questions such as:

• Where are you going? • What will you do there? • From where did you come? • What did you do there? • How many times a day do you cross this bridge? • What do you do during monsoon season (or when the bridge is flooded)? Lisa, Emily & Kim Conducting Traffic Survey Strategic days and times for surveys were selected based on our knowledge of local events and schedules. The first survey took place on a Sunday morning from 10:45 – 12:45. This survey recorded people in their Sunday morning routine: visiting friends and family, coming from Sunday school, and going to the pola. The second survey was taken on the same day, in the afternoon, scheduled for 2:45 – 4:45pm. Less than 20 minutes into the survey our team witnessed a troubling accident on the bridge. Luckily no one was badly injured. Concurrently, one of our team members suffered heatstroke and fainted. Our second survey quickly came to a halt. Determined to get a general indication of common traffic patterns, we attempted a third survey on Monday morning, while children where en route to school. Having only one team member who could translate and general group hesitancy in interviewing Johanna Photographing the Traffic Survey children, it was decided to only tally and not ask questions regarding destinations. This survey lasted two hours: 7:00 – 9:00, luckily without incident. 35

Bridge Accident

Alipamaga Bridge Accident Scene Sketch

Amber and I were recording data on the Magama side of the bridge, admiring babies, listening to birds and counting pedestrians when I looked over to see that a passing motorcycle slipped off the bridge and had fallen backward into the river bank. In slow motion and yet simultaneously bizarrely fast I saw three people falling toward a large concrete slab tilted toward them out of the water. In a blink, they were sucked in the deep mud of the river basin, missing the slab by mere feet. Suddenly, after the shock of the sight released our bodies, we all sprang into action, extending hands to the victims, pulling the motorcycle out of the sucking mud and fanning our teammate who fainted from a combination of the blazing heat and the trauma of the accident. All three people, quite shaken, emerged from the water brown as the river mud. The search for injuries began, each victim pressing and prodding their various bruises and aches. Soon after, however, we were all assured that the only victim of the accident was a slipper lost to the current. With shock and exhaustion, everyone realized that they were truly alright. As we looked at each other after our new friends left the scene of the trauma, we all recognized a grim determination in each other’s eyes. “We will find a way to fix the bridge” - Johanna Ofner 36


Traffic Count Results Direction To Magama To Andaragasyaya To Magama To Andaragasyaya

Date Sunday 3/23/08 Sunday 3/23/08 Monday 3/24/08 Monday 3/24/08

Time Count Adult Child Foot Bicycle Motorbike 10:45am-12:45pm 51 46 5 6 27 8 10:45am-12:45pm 79 48 31 22 38 9 7:00am-9:00am 92 38 54 20 35 18 7:00am-9:00pm 46 45 1 14 17 7

Note: Transportation mode figures do not add up to the traffic count figures as often times more than one person was observed riding on a bicycle or mototbike.

Destination Survey Results

Alipamaga Bridge LInkages

Sixty-two community members were surveyed while crossing the bridge on Sunday, March 23, 2008 and the top four destinations mentioned by them were: visiting the Magama Temple, going to the pola, working in the paddy or chena fields, bathing or washing laundry in the wewas, and visiting family or friends. The majority of the community members surveyed said that they use the bridge upstream when the Alipamaga Bridge floods, but a few of them brave the water and wade across. Many community members told us that the bridge needs to be desperately rebuilt, especially for the children and elderly in the community who suffer the most during the flooding season due to the added 3 km to 4 km distance in order to use the upstream bridge to travel between Kirinda-Andaragasyaya and Magama. Although we chose not to survey people crossing the bridge on Monday, March 24, 2008, it was obvious that the children were going to school and many of the adults were going to work. 37

Methodology Design Survey

We agreed that the ideal design for a new bridge construction at this site would incorporate local materials, labor and vernacular. Our research began with the search to identify examples of such style bridges in the community. Site visits to four local bridges offered little incentive. Three bridges were purely utilitarian, made of cement and steel. The first one was of a culvert design which is not suitable for a large span. The second bridge was more appropriate design but the span was somewhat shorter than needed and lackluster in design. The third one was a very large and rather elevated in nature, overkill for this application. The fourth, a suspension bridge designed and constructed locally, was made of timber and steel cable. Unfortunately it seemed to be as risky as the broken bridge and inappropriate for vehicular traffic.

Culvert Bridge

Small Span Bridge

Suspension Bridge

Large Span Bridge

Structural Analysis A gracious offer from engineer Jayampath Alwis was made to visit the site and make a pro bono informal analysis of the bridge’s current state to round out our background research. A bridge-side meeting offered insightful information that brought light to which options were realistic in nature. Mr. Alwis’ analysis was that the bridge was of a significant enough span that it would have to be professionally designed to ensure sound structural integrity that would accomodate typical usage of the bridge. It was his opinion that the bridge could not be adequately designed and built by the community itself, but that their role would be more contributary in terms of the labor and materials needed.

Engineer Jayampath Alwis



Findings from traffic surveys, local bridge identification, and engineer analysis revealed the scope of the project. Surveys testified that Alipamaga Bridge is indeed a thoroughfare, connecting three GNs. Area bridges gave no insight to local bridge building design or materials that would be appropriate to this project. Engineering requirements proved costly and supported a larger scale project than originally imagined by this team. Based on this new understanding of the project at hand the Kirinda team created a new strategy. Surveys showed that the bridge is a main artery to three GNs: Andragasaya, Kirinda, and Magama. Residents on both sides of the bridge use services on the opposite side. To the North of the bridge, in Magama, there are homes, Sunday School classes, a temple, a Sinhala school (grades 1-10), rice paddy fields, the rice mill, and chena fields. To the South are Kirinda and Andragasaya GNs, including the hospital, Muslim School (grades1-10), a Sinhala School (grades 1-5), Viharamahadevi (historic famous Buddhist temple reserved for special occasions), homes, the fishing harbor, pola, and vending junction. As was seen in the traffic count survey chart, bicycles and walking are the main modes of transportation with a smaller percentage on motorcycles. On school days, traffic is high in early morning and early afternoon as children go and come from Magama. On Sundays children walk and ride bicycles to and from Sunday School, and adults go to and from the pola. Surveys clearly indicate that all three GNs are interconnected economically and socially.

Time Lapse Photo of Alipamaga Bridge


Our Role As students, none of us have the financial ability to repair the Alipamaga Bridge—we cannot give them a new structure. We entered the community with the intention of observing the problem and using our presence to magnify and project the voices of the Kirinda community. We wanted to identify possible funding sources, government leaders, and construction professionals who would support the local construction. Our goals in Kirinda included both the physical solution to Alipamaga Bridge’s trouble, but also an aid process that utilized the people’s own agency. The presentation of a bridge to the community does little to solve long-term issues such as unemployment and dependence on external aid. Making sure the community is deeply involved in the improvement of their own infrastructure is key to creating a sustainable solution and a sustainable, vibrant community. We see our role in the people’s process as that of facilitator. Getting the word to proper channels of the importance of this brige in the daily lives of people in the community was our main priority. It quickly became apparent that the most affective, viable and sustainable solution to the bridge necessitated the banding together and pooling of resources of community leaders at governmental levels as well as NGOs, creating a public and private partnership with a built-in checks and balances system. Henceforth, we made contact with various agencies and organizations and scheduled meeting times to discuss their possible roles in the construction. In the name of participatory process, it was vital that these local parties collaborate to set the tone for community rebuilding efforts. Ultimately, we found that the physical construction of the bridge would have to be implemented and managed by the local government, to ensure it’s longterm maintenance. The collaboration of local community organizations would prove to ensure local labor. An NGO would serve as the backbone funding source and executor. Our role as catylists and motivators identified the key players, brought them to the same table, facilitated the discussion, outlined the role of each respective party, and walked them through the process of collaboration until roles and action steps were outlined and agreed upon. In affect, we took the voice of the community to levels of understanding and awareness, and then managed the partnership building process needed to make this project come to fruition with the Kirinda community.

Our Original Goals Our goal when arriving in Kirinda was to do research on the Alipamaga Bridge, and to organize a bottomup bridge building process that incorporated local vernacular, community labor and local materials. We wanted to identify possible funding sources, government leaders, and construction professionals that would facilitate support this local construction. With the information gathered from our final round of research, a series of final proposals would be completed. We would create a report focusing on timeframe, key figures, and construction costs for the potential bridge. It would be submitted to the Hong Kong Sri Lankan Society (a possible funding source) along with other organizations later identified. School Children Crossing Alipamaga Bridge


Our Role

Evolving Strategies

Upon realizing that our Team role was to act as catalyst: initiating discussions regarding bridge repair, and as connector: securing collaborations among stakeholders, we strategized the best use of the limited time remaining in Sri Lanka. At each phase of the project the Kirinda Project Team held a group meeting to discuss goals,and best implementation methods. Having only two remaining weeks in Sri Lanka, the Team decided the best course of action was to “divide and conquer”, in honor of time and work load. Visits to other villages and cities were taken as needed by respective members of the team. The success of any and all projects is due in no small part to the cohesiveness of our Team, which enabled us to be in multiples places at the same time, as needed- making concurrent strides in our project.

Alipamaga Bridge

The following meetings provided information, commitments, deadends, and support. With each meeting our strategy was revisited and next course of action decided:

Local Authority Office, Tissamaharama Chairman Jayasiri revealed that construction plans and cost estimates had been created for this bridge a year prior, though no further steps had been taken. He pledged his commitment to the project along with approvals for various construction equipment and responsibility of maintenance post-construction. These commitments were the green light needed to advance in our role as connectors. Our next action step was to identify partnering organizations, local labor and funding sources. Kirinda Community Foundation, Kirinda Director Anura Kumara was acutely aware of the impact the disrepair of the Alipamaga Bridge is having on his community and its children. He explained that his office has a small fund available for a project that gives direct economic benefit to the children and their community. This fund could potentially be used to pay for local labour for demolition and construction of the Alipamaga Bridge. Next, funding needed to be identified MercyCorps, Kirinda Having personal knowledge of Mercy Corps’ mission and livelihoods programming, the Kirinda Project Team was happy to meet Shirantha Lokusooriya, Kirinda Mercy Corps Representative. Shirantha became an immediate champion for the Alipmaga Bridge project- he attended meetings with us, interpreted when needed, called colleagues for their support and allowed us to use his office to make long distance telephone calls to other partnering organizations. Through Shirantha’s connections we were introduced to Mercy Corps staff with whom to discuss funding. Mercy Corps, Hambantota We met with the Lokusooriya Palitha Ranadewa, who expressed his support of the Alipamaga Bridge project and referred us to the Mercy Corps Country Director, Josh DeWald. Josh was gracious enough to give us his time and discuss the bridge. It came as disappointing news to our team, Josh, Palitha and Shirantha that the Mercy Corps 41

Our Role

Evolving Strategies

current funding cycle had just passed (by one week). In support of the project and our tenacity, Josh suggested we contact another organization that has a strong local presence in Sri Lanka: AmeriCares. After some preliminary fact-checking and information gathering about AmeriCares we found they are primarily funded by international private donors and their mission and code of ethics aligns with local interest. One phone call to Country Director Lisa Hilmi, and she was intrigued enough to meet in person to discuss the project details, in Colombo.

Local Authority Office, Tissimaharama Before meeting with Mrs. Hilmi, we met again with Chairman Jayasiri to update him on our advancements in organizing a consortium of community organizations and donor agencies. At this time we were presented with the previously proposed bridge design plans and cost estimates. With plans and esitmates in hand, we were better prepared for our meeting with hopeful funder, AmeriCares. AmeriCares, Colombo Country Director Lisa Hilmi made us aware that AmeriCares was currently constructing a bridge in Mutur, Sri Lanka, quite similar to the Alipamaga Bridge. They are dedicated to specifically targeting tsunami relief projects on a local level and specialize in infrastructure projects that focus on the revitalization of livelihoods. They only pledge to fund projects after receiving long-term commitment from local government and local communities to ensure the project’s sustainability. She indicated that her budget could fully cover a project such as ours. This commitment to meeting local needs, sustainability and livelihoods brought us hope that AmeriCares would agree to fund the entirety of Alipamaga Bridge’s construction. Local Authority Office and Irrigation Board Office, Tissamaharama and Alipamaga Bridge, Kirinda Collaborating partners gathered in Tissamaharama to discuss the project, followed by a site survey in Kirinda. Partners in attendance: Local Authority Vice Chairman, Irrigation Board Director, Urban Development Authority Assistant Planner, Assistant Divisional Secretary, AmeriCares Engineer, CapAsia V Kirinda Project Team. Outcomes include: the Irrigation Board Director agreeing to coordinate with the Road Development Authority to obtain adequate design plans; the Assistant Divisional Secretary agreeing to be the official requesting agency and author of the Memorandum Of Understanding; the Urban Development Authority Director and Planning Assistant agreeing to function as coordinator of local agencies; the AmeriCares Engineer agreeing to submit her findings to the AmeriCares Country Director; and the Kirinda Project team agreeing to create a project description, list of key contacts, remain as involved as possible from the USA. It was of utmost importance to our team to identify partnering agencies whose operations align with a participatory process focusing on the people’s needs. While AmeriCares meets all of these criteria, we still hoped that the process would be one of public and private collaboration. Because AmeriCares could also meet all of the financial requirements, if they accept the project, our plan of bringing together multiple funders became obsolete. However, If this project is accepted, AmeriCares (funding) will partner with the Local Authority (ownership and maintenance) and The Kirinda Community Foundation (local labourers), harnessing resources to make the Alipamaga Bridge safer and sustainable for the people of Kirinda, Magama and Andaragasyaya.


Our Role

Future Phases

As we depart from Sri Lanka, we must hand over the bridge project to AmeriCares and the people of Kirinda, Andaragasyaya and Magama. Though our time in Sri Lanka is now over, we hope that our role in the bridge process can continue and evolve. Many of us hope or plan to return to Alipamaga Bridge, hopefully to see its completion or, if necessary, join the realization process once again. Our role in the initiation of the aid process was to magnify the people’s voice and harness their agency. If needed, we may re-enter the community at a later date, at which point we could act as a watchdog- ensuring that the project is locally focused. We would also gain a deeper understanding of the effects of our own actions. It may be that our initial role of facilitators acted as a catalyst to the community; it may be that Kirinda would require our voices again to project their needs to the public eye. It is important to us as The Kirinda Project Team, and as individuals, that the community know that we are truly invested in their well-being. They were never objects under a microscope; they welcomed us warmly into their homes and families, sharing their stories, experiences, joys and woes with us and for that we are extremely grateful. As people, we would love to develop our existing relationship. Also, if our presence or actions have led to any suffering or inconvenience in the community we need to know. From our time in Kirinda, we observed many aid projects that were completely abandoned after physical construction was realized. Without accountability, without a dialog with the community about the efficiency or effectiveness of the project, many NGOs say goodbye, congratulating themselves on a job well done. We hope to break this cycle and develop a long-term relationship, dedicated to the solution of their problems, especially any in which we may have played a role.

Crossing the Alipamaga Bridge


Project: Matchmaking During the community workshop two letters requesting aid were handed to our Kirinda Project team. One letter, from the Social Development Forum, outlined specific requests within the World Vision scheme including: sand blasting a mosque and rebuilding a playground. A second letter, received from the Muslim School, at which the workshop was held, highlighted needs for volunteer teachers as well as for a funding source to assist students with school fees. Upon receiving these letters we realized that once again, despite exhaustive attempts to relay the message that we are only students, without access to aid and without connections to NGOs, our message was lost. The letters were tangible proof we needed to verify that no matter our efforts, the skin color of western foreigners was consistently misinterpreted as a potential aid source, Girls Class at Muslim Vidyalaya no matter one’s status, resources or intention. Regardless, we did not want to disregard the letters, as they were hand delivered to us with a request that we respond. A promise was made that we would read each letter and follow up with a response. Upon receiving these letters of request we decided to first do some fact checking, to get a better understanding of the needs and solutions addressed in each letter. In response to the first letter, from the Social Development Forum, on-the ground observation and interviews with local residents and leaders, revealed that the playground in the World Vision scheme is in fact in good working order. The other requests from this organization were not readily supported by the people in Kirinda with whom we spoke. The requests outlined in the letter from the Muslim School were different, however. During tours of the school, the need for teachers was apparent (as it was in every school we visited). The requests School Girls at Muslim Vidyalaya for funding in support of children was noted when we interviewed parents, school faculty and community leaders. In response to this request we visited the Kirinda Community Project, a Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) program. To our delight we found that this organization has not only been in Kirinda for 15 years and supports over 1300 children in the area, but that their mission is to offer assistance to children of all races and creeds. A visit to their office, the Muslim School’s letter of request in hand, earned their offer to identify the children at the aforementioned school who were in need, and to align resources to meet those needs. The unflinching response from CCF gave us hope for NGOs who offer sponsorships and backed our promotion of organizations acting locally. With the offer from CCF in hand we walked to the Muslim School to respond to their letters, in person. Their response was striking. They literally stood frozen, as if they did not believe what we were saying. We repeated the offer from CCF in a couple of ways, to make certain that little would be lost in translation. Their speechless response was followed by enormous grins and many rounds of thanks. That Boys Class at Muslim Vidyalaya afternoon touched everyone’s hearts and was a shining moment for this project.


Project: Magama School The group became introduced to Magama School while conducting vernacular research for the Alapamaga Bridge project. Jayasena Naotunna, Vice Principal of Magama School, offered to answer our questions about how Alapamaga Bridge’s current state impacts the children’s journey to school. He invited us for a tour of the school which we accepted as an opportunity to continue research on the children’s recovery process by asking them to draw their homes. After the research of the children’s recovery process with a first grade class, V.P. Naotunna led us on a short informal tour of the school grounds. We were shown a large piece of the property meant for field sports that was currently used for construction equipment storage and fill dirt storage. The most noticeable condition of the field was standing stagnant water and numerous areas of mud. V.P. Naotunna kept jokingly commenting, “Rice paddy, sports field--same thing.” The school yard was used as temporary housing after the tsunami. Just as the sports field played an important role in the recovery of the community, it now is in need of recovery Magama School Classroom itself. After recent flooding the entire field has been covered in mud and inches of standing water. This space is utilitarian in nature as it traditionally services the community on many levels: it is a recreation area during the school day, as well as a student pola, stage, large meeting place and mass shelter location posttsunami. Now the field is flooded, making play difficult. Observation of the site during a standard school playtime, illustrated the flooding effects on daily play: a game of football was interrupted every time the ball fell in a puddle multiple inches deep, and standing water where goals had once been made scoring impossible. In addition, mounds of dirt left over from recent construction and placed in the field obstructed the group play space and prohibiting students from being able to run laps. As outlined by the school faculty and witnessed by our Team, this waterlogged field is not suitable to many sports and other activities in its current state. The multi-faceted use of this space sparked a curiosity in the Team, when VP Naotunna indicated a need for better design. V.P. Naotunna explained the normative future plans for the field. He is looking for an NGO to fund and build the field improvements. But, without design drawings to illustrate the school’s vision, the process of getting funding is delayed. With a bit of grading, some basic equipment and a small masonry stage and storage space, the school’s sports field would be completely functional and an asset to the community. As design and planning students, we saw a potential role in The Magama School’s need. By conducting a workshop to obtain the input of students and faculty and with the consultation of an engineer familiar with the site, we hoped to compile a series of drawings for the sports field area. These drawings would then facilitate the school’s process of obtaining and working with an NGO. We also hoped to act as a voice for The Magama School while speaking to NGO contacts we had previously made. Ultimately The Kirinda Project Team would like the process to be driven by the school. 45

Methodology The first step in Magama School’s collaborative efforts was to hold a meeting between the CapAsia Kirinda group and school officials to discuss limitations. We wanted to be up front about our role and in some instances lack of resources. In order for this partnership to be successful, Magama School needed to be made aware that as students we have no affiliation with an NGO nor do we have funding. We simply have a skill. The skill is design and landscape architecture knowledge to produce design concepts for the sports field. Through our people’s process research and bottom up approach, we were aware of the invaluable information obtained through the people’s voice. To harness this, the Kirinda Project team conducted a one-day workshop that was divided into three phases: the first phase incorporates the student’s participation, the second a meeting with school administration, and the third a meeting with a civil engineer familiar with the site. The student workshop was conducted at 9 o’clock on a school day, on site. As we stood in a circle in the middle of the field, the students were asked questions while an English teacher translated. Such questions asked were: • • • • • • • • • •

What types of activities do you want for this space? What are your dreams for this sports field? Would you stay after school to play in competitions? Would you be willing to maintain this field by cleaning and taking care of it? Where do you play in your village? What do you do during monsoon season for play? What sports do the girls play? What sports equipment do you use? What are your favorite subjects? What are your ambitions when you are older?

A meeting with school administration followed the student workshop. Those in attendance were the principal, vice principal, and an English teacher. The following questioned were asked: • • • • • • • • • • • • Magama School Field

What is needed for the site? Would you like more vegetation on site? How do the primary children and secondary children use the space? How does the community use the space? Who would maintain the site? Describe how the field was used during temporary housing during the tsunami. Are there any planned expansions for the school? How are the terms set-up; what times of the year is school in session? What are the students’ parents’ occupations? Have you worked with any NGOs in the past? What districts does the school serve? Why would constructing this athletic field be beneficial to the children? 46


Magama School Girls Playing

Magama School

The final phase included interviewing a mechanical and civil engineer who worked on site. Questions were aimed toward his knowledge and expertise relating to grading and drainage issues, typical construction methods in Sri Lanka, and types of materials used. Site analysis was conducted after the meetings with the students, administration, and engineer. Dimensions of the space were measured with the help of the students. Also, areas of sun and shade, vegetation, grading, surrounding context, and drainage were observed.

Magama School Building Plan

The last step of research was very informal. Participant observation was practiced through an afternoon playdate with the children on site. The children requested we come back to play when school was released. This was perhaps the best site analysis since being able to experience and partake in the children’s play best demonstrates the use and detriments of the field space.

Johanna Measures the Field

Recreation Field

The Team & School Administrators


Our Role


The overall goal of this project is to strategically engage in the design process as a facilitator by harnessing the design vision of the school and transforming it into a planned space for the school and its surrounding community. Primary goals are to provide a functional and safe place for children, incorporating their health and fitness needs. Utmost attention will be given to: • Safety: The field will be a functional and safe area accessible to all. • Drainage: Design features will incorporate sustainable and low impact stormwater management techniques to better service weather and drainage patterns.

Boys Playing Soccer

In addition to design elements relevant to specific daily uses of the field, as identified through the school workshop, peripheral uses and design features will be taken into consideration, such as: • Community Space: The area will be easily transformed into a large group space for community functions. This includes accessibility and safety considerations. • Temporary Shelter: As history dictates this space as a mass shelter area, in the event of a natural disaster, shelter needs will be considered in the layout, accessibility and general design of the field. • Goal of the Workshop: By taking into account the visions of students and administration, we will be employing a participatory bottom-up process. Our hope is to not only work with the public, but to incorporate them into the process. • Goal of Drawings: Ultimately we will provide Magama School with a set of conceptual drawings and designs based on their input from the workshop. Priority will be given to sustainable design models that highlight safety and the most efficacious use of the play space.

Amber Interviews a Teacher

Strategy • Findings from the workshop and the insights from the onsite engineer are our best resources in defining parameters for the design of this field space. • Proper calculations on-site will lead to water management requirements, which will be realized in the design. • Background research on the children’s play areas and habitats will also be explored for best practices in designing a functional, safe and creative sports and multi-use area. • It is our hope that the designs we offer to The Magama School will be funded and realized by a local funding source such as an NGO. Consideration of parameters and requirements of NGOs will be taken when contemplating the most appropriate design. • Next steps will be to present our designs to The Magama School along with any leads we identify as potential funding sources.

Magama School Boys

V.P. Jayasena Naotunna Plays Stickball


Our Role The Plan


In Closing

What is the role of the planner and architect in disaster recovery? We united as curious compassionate aspiring planners, architects, and landscape architects in an effort to better understand a rebuilding process, and to ultimately challenge our theory and training. While first introduced to the community of Kirinda we were faced with a barrage of questions regarding: the people’s recovery process; how our skills and backgrounds could possibly be relevant to this community; how we as fellow human beings can relate to the people of Kirinda; and how will the people and the experiences we meet in CapAsia be realized within ourselves. Today our team and the community of Kirinda have been mutually affected. We walked into Kirinda with the possibility of being its helper. We walk out of Kirinda as its students. Through the participatory process we became participants our selves. We found the most sustainable solutions to be those that are rooted in the strengths of its community. With the identification of strengths, the agency of the people was exposed to us. However, as with all things, agency has its limitations. It was frustrating to find that the bridge project could not be fully realized by the community alone. Through this exercise layers of community that support each other were revealed. Just as our team can only contribute our skill sets and limited resources, so too could the residents of Kirinda. In that way, and many others, we shared a similar struggle. As we became more intimately involved with the Kirinda community, we learned more about ourselves. As a team we found the growing pains of facing our own limitations and of struggling against pre-conceived notions of who we were and what we could offer. One challenge to be faced was an awareness that the most well thought out reconstruction plan cannot be fully manifested without the people taking an active role in their own recovery. Shelter can be designed by a planner or architect. However, no plan or scheme can truly design a home. Home is created by a community that is comprised of individuals and families who realize their home for themselves. We found inspiration in the overwhelming strength of human spirit and community witnessed in Kirinda as the fostering agent to recovery as they create new homes. The impetus of the project was in identifying a strategic place within the people’s recovery process in which we could intervene. In Kirinda we found that the unity of our agencies (that of CapAsia students and that of the people of Kirinda), had resounding synergistic effects. The combination of planners and designers as organizers, facilitators, and matchmakers alongside local professionals and laborers, government, community leaders, school administrations and residents marshaled the momentum needed to turn up the volume of an unheard voice. We are honored to have been invited into the homes and hearts of many of the people of Kirinda. There we found that recovery, as a process, is not quantifiable by the number of houses built, or by any amount of aid donated. Aid, as a tool to recovery, can minimize some of the impact of a disaster. However the recovery process itself is a personal experience eased by community support and compassion. As we were invited to join in their despair and in their joy, the people of Kirinda showed us the meaning of home. In an effort to provide a safe transportation route, support of children’s school fees and design of a play field, it is our hope that the time we spent in Kirinda will further nurture the home the people of Kirinda are rebuilding for themselves.



Letter of Request

Social Development Forum


Letter of Request Muslim Vidyalaya


Magama School Survey After the initial meeting with school officials to explain our roles as students able to assist The Magama School in co-creating the school’s sports field, there was a greater degree of comfort and understanding for both parties. We found that being upfront about our limitations at the beginning of the process leveled the playing field so to speak. There was no false hope of preconceive notions. All parties involved seemed to have a mutual understanding. After the initial student workshop, many questions about the use and program needs of the space were answered. Below are the student responses to questions asked by our team: Q: What types of activities do you want for this space? A: Students played formal games such as; football, volleyball, net ball, cricket, LA, and cabadi. Small games played were skipping and doing stretches/exercises. At 7:30 am for twenty minutes the space is used for physical education. Q: What are your dreams for this sports field? A: They would like a very colorful area, much like the rest of their school. Being able to have class outside would be a benefit. Shade for sport spectators would be comfortable in the hot sun. Most importantly, the children simply stated, “No water, no mud.” Q: Would you stay after school to play in competitions? A: The students became very ecstatic after being asked this question. They were quick to respond, “We would stay all 24 hours of the day!” In reality, many would stay two hours after school (school ends at 1:30 pm). Q: Would you be willing to maintain this field by cleaning and taking care of it? A: Yes. Q: Where do you play in your village? A: The students told us that there are no formal spaces for play near their homes. Therefore, many play informal games of cricket in the road. Q: What do you do during monsoon season for play? A: The students cannot play outside during the Yala and Maha monsoon seasons. They suggested a covered area for play could be built. Q: What sports do the girls play? A: The girls mainly participate in sports such as volleyball, netball, and cricket. With a giggle, many also stated that they play cricket (considered mainly a boy’s sport). Q: What sports equipment do you use? A: There are a few balls to be shared amongst the 800 students. Makeshift soccer goals and cricket wickets are constructed of tree twigs punctured into the soft ground. Q: What are your favorite subjects? A: English, reading, PE. Q: What are your ambitions when you are older? A: Doctor, Teacher, Soldier, Nurse.


Magama School Survey The findings from the workshop with school administration were aimed towards obtaining more specific answers. Below are the responses to questions asked by our team: Q: What is needed for the site? A: There is an existing concrete wall on the southern edge of the site that needs to continue around the perimeter of the field. The same type of materials and construction should be utilized. Colorful and vibrant murals completed by the students are painted on the existing wall and are ideally going to be painted on future built wall panels. Program needs include: • Bleachers for spectators • Pavilion (stage) with three levels, storage, bathrooms, dressing rooms, • Water, electricity, and small canteen • Lighting system • PA system • Flag poles Q: Would you like more vegetation on site? A: Yes, not only are trees aesthetically pleasing, they provide relief from sun underneath their shady branches. Q: How do the primary children and secondary children use the space? A: Primary aged children use the space to play small games. Secondary children use the space for more formal competitive games, but also marching in the band. At the end of each term, there is a student fair complete with a pola, when children bring fruits, vegetables, and small crafts to sell. Over 100 students participate in the pola. Each term end also brings about sporting competitions with other schools. Q: How does the community use the space? A: The field area is a public space for the community to use. After the tsunami, it was used for a month as temporary housing. Various festivals take place in the space as well as celebration activities for the new year. Q: Who would maintain the site? A: All would participate in maintenance of the site. Students already take responsibility for maintaining many facilities within the school. They clean restrooms, class rooms, and play areas. Principals and teachers also share in the responsibility. Volunteers from the community frequently donate their time for upkeep of the school grounds. Q: Describe how the field was used during temporary housing during the tsunami. A: For approximately one month the field served as a makeshift homebase for many families displaced by the tsunami. Tents were set up on site. Families also took shelter in class room and laboratory structures at the school. A main factor in the field’s condition is that of the extreme use of the field for temporary housing. After the families moved from the site, trampled ground remained and have since never fully recovered. Q: Are there any planned expansions for the school? A: Yes, currently a central building is being constructed. It will have a lecturing hall on the bottom level and class rooms on the upper two levels. Named after the president’s son as a thank-you to V.P. Naotunna for political campaigning, the building will be used as temporary shelter for flood or other disaster related housing if needed. There is also upgrading in water and sanitation facilities planned. Q: How are the terms set-up; what times of the year is school in session? A: There are three terms, each lasting approximately three months. There is a break in April for the new year, a break in August for the A Level exams, and a break in December for the O Level exams. 55

Magama School Survey Q: What are the students’ parents’ occupations? A: Farmers, fishermen, government services, sailors, service jobs (chena, cooks, weavers, cottage industry), safari drivers. Q: Have you worked with any NGOs in the past? A: Yes: CCF, World Vision, and USAID. Many did repairs and painted. The administration felt like other schools receive more in aid then they do from NGOs. Q: What districts does the school serve? A: Andagalawela, Nidangalawella, Pustolamulla, Pelulla, Magama, Palatupana, Pattiyawelayaya, Konwelena, Godana, Kirinda, Andragasyaya, Sooriyawelana, and Boondala (spans approx. 10 km radius) Q: Why would constructing this athletic field be beneficial to the children? A: Athletics and physical education are required by Sri Lankan education standards. But besides being a part of curriculum, sports and physical activities keep children healthy and active while they build confidence, learn teamwork, and demonstrate leadership. Being able to practice and host district competitions has long been a wish for the school. Meeting with the engineer proved very insightful and informative on the construction methods of the area. The engineer shared grading standards and drainage solutions for the site. Rough conceptual construction detail sections were drawn of drainage canals and concrete fencing with the engineer’s input. The last step in the process, the informal playdate was perhaps the most beneficial for research. Being able to watch and play with the children on site offered a first hand perspective for the limitations of the site. The children did well in playing within a refined space, but the group was small in comparison to a typical play period during school hours. About 15 children were playing a game of soccer with no boundary markers except for the moat of mud surrounding the scattered patches of damp grass. Two sticks jabbed into the ground two yards apart served as goals. The intense heat of the day was quick to wear down the girls playing, but went unnoticeable with the energy filled boys. The girls broke away from the soccer game to play netball. Another subspace was located where the standing water and mud was at a minimum. The girls switched playing offense and defense each time the ball exchanged teams. After a satisfying game, the girls took refuge in a thin patch of shade on the western edge to watch the boys begin a new game of cricket. While resting in the shade, the girls amused themselves with a silly but more passive game of handclaps. Overall, the findings amplified that the field could be a great potential for the school and community. It is more than an area for sporting competitions or playground; it is a showpiece for the community hosting fairs and other convocations. The space is accessible to all, no matter gender, age, social status. It served those displaced by the tsunami as a refuge and now deserves a time to be celebrated as a community asset.


Building Bridges

Alipamaga Bridge Project Proposal Submitted to AmeriCares Kirinda-Andaragasyaya-Magama Hambantota District, Sri Lanka


Introduction This project proposal has its beginnings with a group of eight students participating in a joint program between Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and the University of Moratuwa in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. The group was comprised of 5 American students and 3 Sri Lankan students from the Town & Country Planning, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture disciplines. This group came together to study the effects of the 2004 tsunami and the ensuing recovery of the people of Kirinda and Andaragasyaya. Three separate field visits were made to the area, each with different objectives. The first visit was primarily to interview the residents of the Kirinda-Andaragasyaya area regarding how the tsunami affected them, their individual recovery, what challenges they were facing, and to gather much needed locational data as the community has undergone a dramatic transformation in the aftermath of the tsunami. During the second visit to the area we conducted a community meeting for the residents. We invited a representative cross section of the community to participate in a workshop for the residents to self identify issues within the community and possible solutions to those issues. One of the chief concerns raised by the community was the condition of the Alipamaga Bridge. The bridge was weakened by the tsunami and subsequently collapsed during the period of seasonal flooding. After much consideration by the group, the rebuilding of the Alipamaga Bridge was selected as a project that it would like to pursue. The focus of the third visit was to more closely survey the damaged bridge, conduct a traffic count and destination survey on the bridge, and speak with local community organizations to ascertain what kind of support they might provide in the rebuilding effort. A gracious engineer donated his time to conduct a streamside analysis as to what type of bridge would need to be built and if it was a project that could be feasibly be built by local community members. It was quickly determined that the bridge needed to be professionally engineered to meet the long term needs of the community and that the cost of the rebuilding would far exceed the resources of any one single organization in the community. Based on the opinion of the engineer we started looking for ways to arrange a consortium of organizations to amass the funding that is needed for the rebuilding of the bridge. This process brought us in contact with AmeriCares through a circuitous route that included stops at the Kirinda Community Foundation, Mercy Corps International, the Hambantota District Urban Development Authority office, the Tissamaharama Pradeshya Sabha (Local Authority), and the Divisional Secretariat office. Please find within this report the information and data collected, the understanding and contact information of key players in this effort, and meeting summaries through April 10, 2008. We sincerely hope that AmeriCares will recognize how the rebuilding of the Alipamaga Bridge will benefit the economic, educational, health, and social well being of the community for many years to come and choose to sponsor this greatly needed project. Kimberly El-Sadek Amber Gress Emily McIntosh Johanna Ofner

Lisa Peffer Jagath Ratnayake Janak Ranaweera M.P. Ranatunga


The Bridge The Alipamaga Bridge was built nearly 50 years ago by a private citizen and the bridge stood fast until the devastating 2004 tsunami weakened the footings on the eastern bank of the river. During the subsequent rainy season in 2005 the weakened bridge collapsed into river. Lacking funding or a remedy to adequately rebuild the bridge, local community members shored up the bridge using coconut timbers over which they placed sandbags, rocks, gravel, and dirt to create a path. The bridge has remained in this state for nearly three years while multiple requests for funding the rebuilding of the bridge have been put forth and turned down. While this “temporary� repair has provided a means to continue using the bridge, it cannot be used at the same level of service as it previously was. Only pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle traffic is able to use the bridge. Tractor, three-wheeler, and other vehicle traffic must use the bridge 2 km upstream. During the rainy season the water level of the river rises over the surface of the bridge causing community members to detour to the bridge upstream or to wade through the water in order to cross the bridge.


Linkages The Alipamaga Bridge is a vital connector to the community. As shown in the diagram below the bridge connects community residents to their livelihoods, education, health care, places of worship, and extended families. Rebuilding the Alipamaga Bridge will ensure the long term sustainabilty of the community for generations to come.

Chena Fields

Paddy Fields

Fishing Harbor

Alipamaga Bridge Hospital Vending Junction Magama Temple Pola Magama School

Vihara Mahadevi Temple


Rice Mill



Traffic Survey Two separate traffic surveys were conducted on the Alipamaga Bridge, one on a weekend day and the other on a weekday in order to determine the characteristics and direction of the community traffic patterns as related to the bridge. The team split into two groups and stood on either end of the bridge and recorded number of people crossing from which direction, whether the person was an adult or child, and the mode of transportation. Additionally, community members were briefly interviewed about where they were going, how frequently they used the bridge, and what alternate route they used when the bridge was flooded. Traffic Count Results Direction



Count Adult Child Foot Bicycle Motorbike

To Magama

Sunday 23/3/08 10:45am-12:45pm







To Andaragasyaya

Sunday 23/3/08 10:45am-12:45pm







To Magama

Monday 24/3/08








To Andaragasyaya

Monday 24/3/08








Note: Transportation mode figures do not add up to the traffic count figures as often times more than one person was observed riding on a bicycle or motorbike.

Desitination Survey 62 community members were surveyed while crossing the bridge on Sunday, March 23, 2008 and the top four destinations mentioned by them were: visiting the Magama Temple, going to the pola, working in the paddy or chena fields, bathing or washing laundry in the wewas, and visiting family/friends. The majority of the community members surveyed said that they use the bridge 2km upstream when the Alipamaga Bridge floods, but a few of them brave the water and wade across. Many community members told us that the bridge needs to be desperately rebuilt, especially for the children and elderly in the community who suffer the most during the flooding season due to the added 3 to 4km to use the upstream bridge to travel between Kirinda-Andaragasyaya and Magama. Although we chose not to survey people crossing the bridge on Monday, it was obvious that the children were going to school and that many of the adults were going to work.

Tragedy on the Bridge While we were surveying on the bridge an accident happened which dramatically underscored the need for the Alipamaga Bridge to be rebuilt. A man was driving a motorcycle with his wife and young son seated behind him. He was driving rather slowly over the bridge from the Magama side but did not have enough momentum to climb up the other side of the bridge. Just as he was about to clear the bridge he hit a patch of loose sand and the entire family and the motorcycle slid backwards down the embankment into the river. Our driver quickly jumped down the bank to pull up the motorcycle so the rest of us could pull the family out of the river. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured although they were badly shaken, as were we.


Meeting Summaries March 24, 2008: We met with the Tissamaharma Local Authority to discuss the desire to reconstruct the Alipamaga Bridge. Chairman Jayasiri was aware of the condition of the bridge and has had the desire to repair the bridge but lacked the funding to do so. He indicated that there have been a number of proposals to reconstruct the bridge but have been turned down or lacked complete funding. He shared with us that there was an engineering plan and cost estimate for a new bridge which he would provide us at the next meeting. He pledged his support in helping to gain necessary approvals, use of construction equipment, and to take ownership and maintenence responsibility of the bridge once constructed. March 26, 2008: We met with the Kirinda Community Project, a Christian Children’s Fund office, to discuss what their organization does in the Kirinda community and to determine if they would like to partner in the effort to rebuild the bridge. The organization works with 900 children in the Kirinda-Andaragasyaya and Magama area from approximately 400 families. The director, Mr. Anura Kumara was accutely aware of the impact that the disrepair of the Alipamaga Bridge is having on the community and its children. He explained that his office and CCF has a small fund that could be used for the direct economic benefit of the community. This fund could potentially be used to pay for labor needed for demolition and construction. While at this meeting we were fortunate to meet Mr. Shirantha who is a project manager for a Mercy Corps fruit processing factory in Kirinda. Additionally, we were introduced by telephone to Mr. Gammanpila, the Divisional Secretary of the area who had previously submitted a proposal to have the bridge reconstructed and was very knowledgable about the community and the bridge. March 28, 2008: We met with the Hambantota Mercy Corps office to introduce the bridge project. The director seemed quite interested in the project and was very suprised that the bridge had not been funded yet. He let us know that we had just missed their funding cycle deadline but that they might be willing to work in an organizational and administrative capacity if a consortium was put together. The Hambantota director suggested we speak with their country director in Colombo. We spoke to Josh, the country director and he suggested that we speak with Lisa Hilmi of AmeriCares as they have a more open funding cycle and the project is one that they might be interested in. March 31, 2008: Met again with Chairman Jayasiri of the Tissamaharama Local Authority to update him on organizing a consortium of community organizations and donor agencies in order to raise the needed funding. We shared with him the Kirinda Community Project-CCF offer of assistance in regards to labor. He presented us with the plans for the previously proposed bridge and a cost estimate that needed updating. We shared with the chairman our scheduled meeting with AmeriCares and set the next meeting for April 10, 2008. April 2, 2008: Met with Lisa Hilmi, AmeriCares Country Director to discuss the Alipamaga Bridge project. Ms. Hilmi seemed very interested in the project and said that AmeriCares is funding a similar project elsewhere in Sri Lanka and explained that AmeriCares has more of a rolling funding process than other organizations. She asked us to send a copy of the presentation we gave her so she could share it with her engineer. We informed her about our meeting with the Local Authority on April 10th and she committed her engineer to be at that meeting and to visit the bridge site as well. We learned that AmeriCares has a good working relationship with the government of Sri Lanka and prefers to receive project proposals through official channels. All though no committment of funding was given, the proposal/funding process was outlined for us so we had full understanding of what work the team needed to do in the week before the next meeting. April 10, 2008: Met with the Local Authority Vice Chairman, Irrigation Board Director Mr. Wickampala, Urban Development Authority Assistant Planner Mr. Bandara, the Assistant Divisional Secretary Mr. Gammanpila, and AmeriCares Engineer Lanka Haturusinha. We convened in the morning at the Local Authority office and had a brief discussion with the Vice Chairman as Chairman Jayasiri had to leave unexpectedly. Lanka did have the opportunity to speak with him earlier in the morning and she was given the updated cost estimate of the previously proposed bridge. We all went to the Irrigation Board office and met with the director to request the hydrology and survey reports for the area surrounding the Alipamaga Bridge. He had no personal knowledge of the bridge and attended the site survey with us. The plan for the proposed bridge was questioned as there was a notable difference between the plan and the actual measurement of the needed bridge and it was unknown whether hydrology data was incorporated within the plan. The Irrigation Board Director agreed to coordinate with the Road Development Authority to obtain an adequate design plan, the Assistant Divisional Secretary agreed to be the official requesting agency and author the MOU, the Urban Development Authority Director and Planning assistant agreed to function as a coordinater of the various local agencies, and Lanka will submit her findings to Lisa Hilmi at AmeriCares. We agreed to put together a project description, list of key contacts, and stay involved in the process as much as possible.


Key Contacts Lisa Hilmi AmeriCares Country Director 65/5 & 65/6, 5th Lane, Nawala, Sri Lanka Office: 2805857 Fax: 2805788 Mobile: 077-3171704 Email:

Kimberly El-Sadek Master Candidate City & Regional Planning Rutgers University-New Jersey, USA Mobile: +01 732-986-0177 Fax: +01 732-222-9276 Email:

Lanka Haturusinha AmeriCares Civil Engineer/Project Manager 65/5 & 65/6, 5th Lane, Nawala, Sri Lanka Office: 2805857 Fax: 2805788 Mobile: 077-3237734 Email:

Lisa Peffer Master Candidate-Urban & Regional Planning Portland State University-Oregon USA Mobile: +01 503-282-6521 Email:

M.L.M. Yehiya Urban Development Authority Director Hambantota, Sri Lanka Office: 04722069 Mobile: 077-3952142 Email: (Attending training in Australia until June)

Jagath Ratnayake Master Candidate Town & Country Planning University of Moratuwa-Sri Lanka Mobile: 077-6414791 Email:

Mr. Bandara Urban Development Authority Assistant Planner Hambantota, Sri Lanka Office: 04722069 Mobile: 077-2941447 Email:

Amber Gress Landscape Architecture Candidate Ball State University-Muncie, Indiana USA Email:

Mr. Gammanpila General Secretariat Assistant Divisional Secretary Wirawila, Sri Lanka Office: 0472237148

Johanna Ofner Architecture Candidate Ball State University-Muncie, Indiana USA Email:

Mr. Wickamapala Department of IrrigationDirector Irrigation Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka Mr. Jayasiri Tissamaharama Local Authority Chairman Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka Office: 2237275


Kirinda Project Report  
Kirinda Project Report  

Report prepared by CapAsia V's Kirinda team.