Under the Sustainable Peace through Pluralism and Inclusive Service Delivery project funded by Freedom House, research was carried out to identify the shortcomings in delivering public services to the Malaiyaha community. The research focused on 10 estates and divisions in the Ratnapura district in areas where the Malaiyaha community lived.

The research was conducted by Grama Niladaris and development officers enrolled in the advanced certificate course in pluralism and inclusive service delivery at the Sabaragamuwa University, which is implemented by NPC.

While selecting research areas, the officials did not choose an estate or division within their own service areas because people may have been reluctant to share information about their problems and challenges. There was also a possibility that the researchers would not report the information accurately.

Thirty community facilitators and human rights defenders from the Malaiyaha community were trained in the ten estates and divisions. After the training, a meeting was organized to build relationships between government officials and community facilitators. Initially, the community facilitators were reluctant to discuss their problems with government officials regarding public services.

To overcome this situation, group activities were conducted to build trust between government officials and community facilitators. This was important because the community facilitators and human rights defenders served as access points for issues related to obtaining government services.

A data contributor from the Hapugasthenna Estate said, “There is a hospital in the estate. However, it has only one doctor. Sometimes when the hospital closes for lunch, it is unclear when it will reopen. On some days after closing for lunch, it doesn't reopen until the next day. If a critical patient arrives during these times, they cannot receive treatment at the estate hospital.”

A data contributor from the Noragalla Estate said, “We receive services from our maternity clinic officer, who speaks Sinhala. While we have the ability to understand basic Sinhala, there are times when we need the help of another person to understand some of the instructions given. It would be even better if we could receive that service in our own language."

Community facilitators play an important role in bridging the gap between the Malaiyaha community and government services. By building trust and fostering open communication, they help ensure that the community's real problems and challenges are heard and addressed. Their involvement is essential for creating a more inclusive and effective public service delivery system.

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