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About Us

Today, much of RECDO’s work is embedded in grassroots community-building, particularly with respect to supporting low-income communities in the Trincomalee District that are struggling to put their lives back on track since 2009. Our work takes us to where there are localized gaps in service delivery and where community needs are greatest- be it within the context of formal education, post-resettlement food and water security, rural credit and micro-financing, CBO capacity building, or other small and medium-sized entrepreneurial and income-generation initiatives.

In 2010 RECDO won the Mahatma Gandhi Centre Award (for Sri Lanka), and the Naro Udeshi Award that same year. It has also received honourable mention in a number of international conferences including the ACHE Insight Conference in 2007. At present, RECDO works closely with over 40 organizational partners, including large community movements, local CBOs, NGOs, INGOS and international donors, together with Sri Lankan state agencies and corporate stakeholders.

Mission and Vision


REDCO exists to foster resilient communities that are sufficiently educated, economically empowered and possess enough social capital in order to overcome a vicious cycle of poverty and communal conflict.


By 2025, we envision a society, in which all households, particularly within Sri Lanka’s former war-torn north and east, are self-reliant and resilient enough to dream of better future, and meet their everyday needs and aspirations without having to depend largely on external aid. We dream of a future in which local communities themselves play an active role in critically needed physical and social infrastructure development and rural renewal. RECDO envisages more opportunities and spaces in which grassroots initiatives and informal support networks are able to take root and thrive in the very communities that they set out to serve, thereby paving the way for a more a more inclusive, sustainable and localized model of community development, that is fueled by homegrown ideas.


“A very great change starts from small conversations, held among people who care…”
Margaret J. Wheatley, writer and leadership guru

“Small conversations” have always played a central role in RECDO’s work. They are featured in our founding story, they have inspired our ideas, ignited our imagination in enabling people to think about what else they could do to make lives better for those around them. Three guiding principles form the pillars of our everyday work:

    1. 1. A strengths-first approach: the regions we work in have been affected by cycles of war and natural disasters. The narratives of these spaces – that circulate both nationally and internationally – have often been negative, depicting visions of pain, suffering and inter-communal strife. We strongly belief in the power of self-perpetuating myths. Sri Lanka’s north and east also have very affirmative stories to tell. Amidst tales of loss and devastation, there are great stories of resilience, forgiveness and inter-communal assistance, particularly in times when individuals and rural village communities could least afford to give or share. Our philosophy is such that every individual is a member of a particular society, and has the capacity to contribute in his or her own way. Similarly, no community is bereft of hope no matter how impoverished and socially marginalized they may seem at first. While attending to their needs, we are also aware of first putting to use the innate strengths and capacities of those we partner. A flame that can be kindled with the resources in its own hearth, is what will enduringly burn.
    2. 2. Needs-oriented programming: for CBOs and NGOs alike, the need to stay focused and remain relevant is often a double-edged sword. Critics, both internal and external to the system have often alluded to international aid and development as a business, which perpetuates the need for its own existence. Adopting a critical self-reflexive style in evaluating our own work often reminds us of our own dispensability in the lives of those we touch. In conceptualizing and developing programmes, exit strategies are often thought of concurrently, as we believe that the only enduring forces in people’s lives should be the individuals and social networks they encounter in their everyday lives. Therefore, projects are designed with the immediate aim of filling a particular social need, together with a medium-term view of either phasing out or handing the project to its own beneficiaries to run, when CBO assistance is deemed no longer necessary.
    3. 3. Continuous innovation and social learning: RECDO sees itself as a learning organization, and its most valuable resources are its beneficiaries, community volunteers and staff who constantly challenge our work and bring in news ways of doing and thinking. By drawing on case-studies over time, we have been building up a praxis-oriented knowledge base concerning practices and critical reflections in areas we have succeeded or could have done better in. Social research plays a central role in our work where community needs and initiatives are always explored and ground-up knowledge is generated from as many stakeholders as possible. Over the years, RECDO has also been assisting newer NGOs and CBOs with in-house capacity building for staff, together with other entities such as schools, vocational training centers and small businesses.


Over the first few years of its founding since 1999, RECDO fundraised modestly, sharing on its work with committed community leaders, businesses and other stakeholders who wanted to do their bit to improving the lives of disadvantaged communities around them. Having first started by building strong local civil society and state partnerships with organizations such as Muslim Aid, the SwarajyaFoundation, Mahathma Gandhi Centre, National language Project and Asia Foundations, the UN’s ILO and Global fund For Children, among others, RECDO receives funding on an individual project basis. Donor organizations and other funding partners are kept abreast with the latest development and outcomes of the initiatives they support through quarterly reports and evaluation reviews. The bulk of RECDO’s donations are supported by chartable foundations, INGOs, local NGO networks, private individuals and businesses.


The Constitution
RECDO’s Constitution was drawn up the day the organization was founded. The Constitution was first developed under our former name – the Educational Development Society (EDS). When EDS was changed to RECDO, the same Constitution was adopted with minor modifications to suit the needs of a CBO of this nature. The Constitution was created by the Committee and was approved by all the members who were present at the 2005 Inaugural Annual General Meeting of RECDO.

Governing Bodies

RECDO comprises of two governing bodies: the Executive and the Advisory Committees. All twelve office-bearers of the Executive Committeeare elected at an AGM; the election process takes place every two years. The Advisory Committee comprises of members who inspired and influenced the establishment of the organization, along with prominent persons in society and those with relevant expertise. The advisory panel exceeds no more than 10 persons, and any vacancies that occur during a current tenure would be filled at AGM. This committee is a permanent body and primarily serves RECDO in an advisory capacity.


RECDO’s membership is open to anyone irrespective of age, gender, class, caste, geographic, ethnic, and religious or any other identity background. Membership can be obtained by formal application and all members are required to abide by its Constitution. Membership applications are approved by the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, together with the President of the Executive Committee.

Project evaluation

Before projects are begun, RECDO requires the submission of a formal project proposal. Proposals typically comprise a concept paper/section, outlining the community needs that guided the conceptualization of the project before it is submitted/opened for funding. The objectives and outcomes of the intended project is also listed, and once the initiative commences, will be used as a blueprint to evaluate the success of our work. All proposals, together with quarterly or bi-annual evaluation reports are typically shared with donors/funders and partnering organizations.