Trust building exercises at the two outdoor events helped participants to get to know one other and lower inhibitions, especially as they came from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
A Batticaloa DIRC member, who was a retired Moulavi, recalled how all communities used to live peacefully in the Batticaloa district and shared their limited resources to develop education, health and infrastructure. However, now politicians had created divisions among the communities for their own benefit to gain votes during election time, he said.
At the monthly meetings, DIRC members shared their understanding of early warning and early response mechanisms.
The main issues identified in the Batticaloa district were that students were not attending Sunday School because they had tuition classes, posters against the Hindu religion, unfair state land allocation and racist statements by local politicians.
In the Trincomalee district, drug abuse was identified as a major problem as well as repaying micro finance loans, child abuse and the selection of the trustees to kovils and mosques.