The country opens up for a brief period and sees frenetic activity on the part of the GMSL Head Office and field teams. The teams gather at the Field Office in Hunnasgiriya and put together a plan to speedily obtain the crucial missing data that would complete the inception report. The teams finally obtain the required data by the final week of August despite yet another lockdown and reimposition of restrictions due to an escalation of covid cases. A meet was held on 25th August and a final activity matrix is earmarked for the beginning of September.
1st – 31st July 2021
GMSL works on the website and does some field activities although in limited form to attempt to obtain additional data that can inform future activities. A key discussion is held with ACTED on ways forward based on the information in the IR and a plan is made to try to get the required data from the field. A key problem outlined was the lack of sufficient data on climate events, weather and environment damage. However, plan to implement a positive workaround was penciled.
10th April -30 June 2021
The country is either in lockdown or shut down due to the pandemic. Very little can be done in the field although the GMSL initiates discussions with the IFS to help with the soil and water testing as well as tries to get a meet with the Ministry of Environment to discuss carbon offsets. The offset initiative hits a bit of a wall due to external political moves and the GMSL decides strategically to remove themselves from the debate and pseudo-effort temporarily. However, the work to complete the Inception Report goes on with existing data although there are grassroots level gaps that could not be extracted due to covid restrictions. A frustrating time and the only engagement of some note are the weekly meetings between the partners. Even these seem to indicate the inability to do much. All three implementing partners flag up the fact there are serious concerns as to how effective the program would be given the fact that field operations could not be executed despite a telescoped timeline for project implementation. Not a good time to be either a donor, a lead partner or an implementing partner for exercises that require this level of physical interaction between the partners and the people.
01st-09th April 2021
In another innovative change to the approach, the GMSL realizes that it cannot use such instruments as PRAs (too localized) or FDGs (politically not the best approach given identified issues in the area) or questionnaires (too fraught with error) and therefore create a modified PRA that can encompass the realities of large geographies where communities share commons such as entire rivers or forests. The GMSL calls this a SCORECARD (Shared Commons Organization, Regeneration and Enhancement- Community Analysis of Resource Dynamics). The method is piloted in the seven targeted river basins with some success although much improvement to the methodological approach is still required.
15th-31st March 2021
The GMSL and ACTED teams meet for the first time in the field at the GMSL’s Hunnasgiriya field office. After outlining emerging design level changes that the GMSL anticipates because of the approach switch to river basins, the GMSL and ACTED team visit the Heen Ganga communities to acclimatize the ACTED team to the ground level realities.
05th – 15th February
The research team identifies that a river basin approach is more logical socially and environmentally than a GN/HH approach. This colors the entire project design and the GMSL turns its attention to identifying data related to river valley dynamics and realizes that these are almost non-existent.
26th January – 3th March 2021
The GMSL team conducts its initial observation tasks, working directly for the first time with the field staff officers and researchers. The team covers the entire potential terrain.
24th January 2021
The project kicks off with a meeting of all partners (EU, ACTED, GMSL, EFT and BRT) where each partner outlined their plans, tasks and challenges.
15-17 December 2020
Suranjan and Arjuna of the GMSL are accompanied by Ludovic of the EU and John on a pre-project reconnaissance to the Ratna Ella area in Hasalaka.