+94777073441, +94718161660 recdosl@gmail.com


1. What is RECDO registered as?

RECDO is registered with the Ministry of Social Siervices as a nonprofit organization (registration no:NEP/KT/SS/23. We call ourselves a community-based organization (CBO), in the sense that we are headquartered locally – in Kantale. RECDO is exclusively volunteer-driven and operates within the Trincomalee District.

2. Is RECDO a part of any larger religious or state organization?

No; RECDO is an independent CBO that is not fully or partially under any broader religious network or state institution. Instead, RECDO fosters partnerships with state agencies and religious organizations in accordance with its principles – that grassroots community-building work should comprise public-civil society partnerships and should take on an inter-faith identity in the most inclusive of ways.

3. Who/what communities does RECDO typically serve?

RECDO exists to serve low-income rural communities that have suffered as a result of Sri Lanka’s protracted armed conflict and have been vulnerable in multiple ways. Our target groups are selected due to their relative ‘social invisibility,’ in the sense that they may otherwise not be served by mainstream projects. Thus, RECDO’s projects are primarily community needs driven. At present, RECDO’s particularly focuses on serving pre school and schooling children, early school leavers, together with young single mothers and wartime/tsunami widows. We work with beneficiaries from diverse ethno-cultural and religious backgrounds. The ethnic and religious composition of our beneficiaries is also closely considered when we take in a limited number of participants who are likely to benefit from our programmes most.

4. Where does RECDO work?

RECDO began its work in Kantale. Many of its projects are concentrated in this immensely multi-ethnic northeastern town that has also served as home to waves of displaced people from the war-torn north and east. RECDO’s work also fans out to the wider district of Trincomalee.

5. At present how many beneficiaries does RECDO serve?

RECDO serves more than 10,000 beneficiaries. The proportion of male and female beneficiaries are almost half, and our beneficiary counts for each programme closely reflects the ethno-religious and other demographic ratios of Trincomalee district.

6. Where does RECDO receive its funding from?

Our funding comes from diverse sources. NGOs, locally-based INGOs and foundations have been supporting individual programmes that REDCO runs or co-designed. We have also received donations from individuals, state agencies and inter-faith organizations that have contributed to making our initiatives a success.

7. How is RECDO run?

RECDO is exclusively led and run by volunteers. It is a self-governing organization with an elected Executive Committee at its helm. Each year and AGM is held in which all its members and stakeholders are invited to participate and elect its leadership. As an organization, RECDO strives at making its leadership structure as non-hierarchical as possible, with as little distance between beneficiaries and volunteers. At times, our volunteers have been beneficiaries themselves, who have pulled themselves out of challenging circumstances and are now serving others.

8. How does RECDO select its Committee?

All RECDO members who are present at its Annual General Meeting elect the Executive Committee.

9. Who forms the majority of RECDO’s volunteers?

The bulk of our volunteers are drawn from the very communities that RECDO exists to serve. Our volunteers are individuals with regular jobs and dedicate their time to our projects out of sheer commitment for the people that we partner.

10. How do its organizational partners support RECDO and vice versa?

RECDO has over 20 partner organizations that comprise mostly INGOs, NGOs, other CBOs and grassroots people’s movements. RECDO continues its joint programmes with particular nonprofits by pooling in resources such as venue space and volunteer help. INGOs and foundations have helped RECDO by funding particular initiatives that have been envisioned or co-planned by RECDO. We have also partnered organizations such as state agencies, educational bodies and inter-faith networks in train-the-trainer (TOT) and other capacity building projects.

11. How does RECDO conduct its outreach?

Our individual membership and organizational partner base is the most valuable resource in our work. RECDO has an extensive network of organizations and individual members. News of RECDO’s initiatives and ongoing work are disseminated through formal and informal networks – from public noticeboards to school assemblies, and through other outreach and mobilization workers that our partner agencies send out to help spread the word.

12. How are volunteers mobilized?

RECDO has a strong presence in local community. As it also works outside its immediate environment of Kantale, we support a steady flow of volunteers from all walks of life. Some are old faces that we continually see. Others are with us at certain points in time. No volunteer is less valuable than the other, and we believe that everyone has his/her own unique way of serving society.

13. In which thematic areas does RECDO not work?

RECDO places no rigid boundaries that limit the kind of work that it does. We serve where we see the need. However, we do exist to exclusively partner low-income rural communities that have had to brave multiple challenges over time – be it within the context of wartime displacement, educational support, unemployment, the death of a breadwinner, inadequate nutrition, loss of livelihood, or poverty in itself.

14. How does RECDO choose its projects and beneficiaries?

Our beneficiaries are often selected on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with their unique social circumstances. We often encourage beneficiaries to come forth themselves, where possible, instead of having an organization ‘speak for them.’ In the meantime, RECDO works at putting in place an empowering environment in which even the youngest beneficiary is given a chance to self-advocate. The involvement of any beneficiary in one of our projects is purely voluntary. However, in instances where training or sizeable investment is warranted, beneficiaries are expected to display their commitment to the programme of their choice, with the hope of minimizing the dropout rate. Similarly, the needs of our beneficiaries determine the direction of our future projects. If we feel that the needs of a particular group of individuals have been met in ways that they find themselves to be resilient enough to stand on their own feet, we consider our work a success and direct our attention towards other areas.

15. How are REDCO’s projects evaluated?

Our programmes are evaluated independently, depending on the specific needs of each initiative. We believe there is no cookie-cutter approach to programme evaluation and therefore readily adopt individual donor evaluation tools that are critically modified to suit beneficiary outcomes and particular socio-cultural contexts that the initiatives are embedded in. All pilot projects are evaluated in close partnership with our donors, with an eye for critical reflections and learning points.

16. Have any of RECDO’s projects failed and why?

In truth, none of RECDO’s projects of literally “failed” in the strictest sense of the term. We do not roll out our projects based on available funding, but on a needs-basis depending on the particularities of our beneficiaries, and the service gaps that need to be addressed. Before an initiative is rolled out, RECDO conducts a needs assessment in order to ascertain the potential success of a new project. Programmes have been wound down because beneficiaries themselves have displayed the resilience to stand on their own feet,and have expressed the desire to do so. Hence we continue directing our efforts where it is most needed.

17. What are some of the main challenges RECDO faces in its everyday work?

RECDO benefits by and works with a vast number of community resources that are already available. However, this also renders our work a certain degree of instability – in that we are dependent on external resources, particularly in terms of infrastructure and staff capacity. Typically, RECDO is also influenced by the same constrains other CBOs of its nature are, particularly with respect to a shirking donor/funding base. Similarly, as an organization headquartered in rural Sri Lanka, RECDO also suffers from out-migration of skilled labour and potential staff. Similarly, our ability to attract new talent from around the island is also greatly curtailed, given RECDO’s location in Kantale, as opposed to a major hub such as Colombo, Kandy or Jaffna Town. Despite these impediments, we firmly believe in the value of being headquartered in a rural space, which we hope brings us closer to community needs.

18. What are the some of the new directions RECDO hopes to take?

The pace of change in Sri Lanka’s rural society, particularly in its formerly war-torn Eastern and Northern Provinces, is rapid. While Sri Lanka strides to take its place as a lower middle-income country, we must also be attuned to any segments of society that may unwittingly get left behind. Lately, RECDO has turned its strategic focus on grappling with how best to strengthen the conditions that allow for an educated society, particularly one that values ecological sustainability and inter-faith/ethnic inclusivity. Whilst continuing to experiment with our own local model of community development, RECDO draws inspiration from creative initiatives from both the global south and the north.

19. Apart from community-based projects, does RECDO provide any other kinds of services?

In the meantime, RECDOprovides services to other CBO, NGOs and third sector entities. These largely comprise research and capacity building partnerships that are tailored on a case-by-case needs basis. In the future, RECDO plans to set up a Distance Learning Center for non-profits, particularly in Sri Lanka’s vernacular languages, as we see little non-English support material for starter organizations in particular. Similarly, a Life-Skills Training Center for beneficiaries with the chance of working abroad is also in the pipeline, which offers a choice of practical hands-on learning topics – from basic language skills to inter-cultural learning.