As Director of the Social and Economic Development Centre (SEDEC) in 1993, Fr. Oswald Firth encouraged spiritual leaders in Sri Lanka to play a bridge building role calling for peace and reconciliation and to commit themselves to sustained efforts, sacrifice and solidarity to create an atmosphere of trust, confidence and freedom to build a future based on the values of justice, human dignity and mutual respect.

As in 16 other districts throughout the country, the Kandy District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) meets regularly. The committee represents a common voice across all religions. While one channel of communications is media or press statements by religious leaders on provincial level, it is also a meeting platform for collective thought of all committee members including CBO and CSO representatives.

A country that is rich in diverse ethnicities and religions requires a democratic governing system that ensures a plural society, meaning a living in a shared space while respecting each other’s diversity.

A workshop on pluralism and inclusion for 35 of senior prison officers from prisons in Sri Lanka was held under NPC’s project Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) with the participation of the Commissioner General of Prisons Chandana Ekanayake.

A need-based training on team building and leadership was organized for Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) members in Rakwana under NPC’s Action for Religious Coexistence (ARC) project in collaboration with the District Secretariats in Rakwana and Godakawela. The 40 participants included religious leaders, police officers, Grama Niladari officers and NGO and community leaders.

A proper functioning of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) process was established to address long term grievances of the families of the disappeared. Unfortunately, this has been a disappointing process for many even after the establishment of the OMP in 2017 as part of the government’s commitment to the UN Human Rights Council to a transitional justice process for national reconciliation.

A training programme was conducted for 35 participants in Dehiowita on civic rights under NPC’s Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) project. In the aftermath of the economic crisis and rise of the protest movement, issues of civic space and freedom of association have become major challenges.

A training programme on Non Violent Communication (NVC) was carried out for 52 Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) members of the Bandarawela LIRC under NPC’s Action for Religious Coexistence (ARC) project. By enhancing NVC skills it is expected that these community leaders will use the knowledge gained to mediate and solve existing issues in their areas.

NPC is supporting four selected state universities to capacitate frontline government officers to ensure delivery of non-discriminatory and inclusive service with funding support by Freedom House. Sabaragamuwa University and Eastern University commenced the academic activities of the Advanced Certificate Course in Inclusive Service Delivery for Sustainable Peace with government officials from the state’s management service, excise, national integration and village level Grama Niladari officers and development officers.

A food relief distribution programme was implemented by NPC under the National Language Equality Advancement Project (NLEAP) that was supported by Alinea International with the funds from the government of Canada.