Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Hosts Residential Programme for Students of University of Peradeniya

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

SLRCS hosts a Knowledge and Experience Sharing Field Visit for the Agriculture Students of UoP in response to the Ground Water Recharging for Disaster Preparedness Project

COLOMBO-March 20, 2023: Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS), Sri Lanka’s largest humanitarian organisation, hosted a two-day residential programme for undergraduates from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya (UoP) in Galgamuwa. The residential workshop was a knowledge and experience sharing field visit organised as part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Empress Shoken Fund-funded Ground Water Recharging for Disaster Preparedness Project, which is being executed by the Kurunegala Branch of SLRCS.

The programme commenced at the SLRCS Kurunegala Branch’s training hall with an introduction to the organisation, Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and the Ground Water Recharging for Disaster Preparedness Project. In the initial discussion, the students were separated into three groups: agriculture engineering, soil and agriculture, and social science aspects. The students were instructed to gather information and uncover results with a preference for their chosen groups, and to submit their findings at the end of the residential workshop.

On their field trip in Galgamuwa, the students spoke with village personnel and beneficiaries, while SLRCS resource personnel accompanied the students to raise awareness about groundwater recharging linked to CCA and DRR. The students enjoyed, while learning far more than they could have imagined. As discussed at the initial stage, the students presented their findings with great enthusiasm at the Irrigation Training Institute (ITI) in Galgamuwa, using PowerPoint presentations, videos, and discussions. The students’ communication and analytical skills based on their findings were greatly appreciated by the resource personnel and staff of SLRCS.

The Ground Water Recharging for Disaster Preparedness Project is developing 65 home steads in the Ihala Palukadewa region, with 42 of them now running extremely effectively. These home gardens could be used to assess the success and feasibility of the project’s groundwater recharge technologies. The project’s positive influence on people’s mindsets, as well as the rise in soil moisture level owing to groundwater recharge, is strongly represented in these existing home staeds. The project’s indirect advantage is that it will help to alleviate the present economic crisis and food shortages.

Branch Executive Officer of the Kurunegala Branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, Sarath Wickramasinghe said: “It was a pleasure to work on the project with the Faculty of Agriculture at the UoP. My team has worked relentlessly via the project for a better environment for the people. One of the key goals of the project is to raise awareness and capacity, and being able to interact with students is confirmation that the project’s execution is in good hands, since they represent the future of this specific industry. We are excited to continue working together to help Sri Lankan communities thrive in the future”.

One of the primary goals of the Ground Water Recharging for Disaster Preparedness Project is to raise awareness and capability. To accomplish this goal, the initiative has recommended conducting awareness-raising and training programmes for key stakeholders. These programmes were created to promote both knowledge and views about the necessity of ground water recharge. The target stakeholders were grouped into three categories: community, school, and university. Programmes were held for each level, using appropriate resource personnel and methodologies.

“After visiting these locations, we realised the need for ground water recharge in villages. We were given the opportunity to visit these locations and see for ourselves the effects of such a project and its success in people’s lives as a result of the SLRCS’s knowledge and experience sharing programme. Not only in the long term, but also in the near future. We are appreciative of the opportunity and hope SLRCS continues success with similar programmes in the future”, added the Final Year Undergraduate, Faculty of Agriculture, UoP, Sunimali Attanayake.

Percolation pits, Percolation Trenches, Lock and Spills, and Percolation Wells are four techniques utilised in the groundwater recharging project to enhance groundwater levels using rainwater. The National Water Supply Drainage Board (NWSDB) recommends these approaches, apart from that, the Agriculture Instructor in charge of the region was informed about all of the construction, and the Department of Agriculture provided direction through them.

The digging and trenching were finished first, followed by the installation of gutters and pipes. The project is anticipated to recharge the groundwater from the mentioned constructions, allowing for the development of home gardens and water catchment areas. As a result, the type of groundwater charging unit received by each beneficiary is governed by the location, size, and land use.