Jaffna goes clean | மாசற்றதாக மாறும் யாழ்ப்பாண மாநகரம்

"JCCC - Jaffna Clean City Community” is a digital community hosted under SUVADI, an Innovation-driven social enterprise incorporated as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee in Sri Lanka. This initiative is supported by the non-profit organisation Comdu.it Canada with the financial assistance provided by the Government of Canada through The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. As the host, Suvadi has brought the stakeholders of the peninsula together through networking to join hands in the transformation.

It reinforces the belief that true transformation happens only when it is sustainable and holistic. With the above perspective, this concept was first presented in Climathon Jaffna 2019 in front of many stakeholders who joined hands to build a sustainable, resilient Jaffna by 2030. Building on the network made so far at the grassroots, Municipal Council and the Provincial Government are in the process of realizing the vision of JCCC - Jaffna Clean City Community.

JCCI enables the creation of policies, structures, and processes through emancipatory means to enable the communities, elected representatives and other institutions within the municipal limits of Jaffna City to choose and adopt environmentally friendly and sustainable practices in dealing with material waste management spanning from waste generation, disposal, re-collection, relocation and transforming into usable and non-usable forms.

The issue

Poor waste management in the Jaffna Municipal Council Area negatively affects the health and businesses of all its occupants by increasing their exposure to communicable diseases and pollution in the environment. The present appearance of the Jaffna urban centre, which includes the central bus stand and surroundings, reveals the poor governance around urban waste management in the region. This can be seen in 1) negligent waste collection practices, 2) lack of community awareness on proper waste disposal, and 3) low engagement of community members in public forums for developing a livable and clean city centre. In addition, the current governance structure does not provide a democratic or inclusive platform for the city’s diversified voices, especially women and girls. Women and girls play a significant role in waste management as they are primarily responsible for household waste disposal and can influence behavioural changes within their families and community. '

Various youth organizations (ex: Plastic Zero Forum, Siragugal, Green Shadows, Yaalpana Sangam) and women-led organizations (ex: WeCan Mannar) were consulted through focus groups, surveys, and email communications on topics of engagement, inclusion, and barriers to participation in waste management initiatives. These conversations revealed that youth who were un/underemployed showed enthusiasm around participating in waste management projects within their communities. Girls and boys currently studying in school were also interested in participating as members of the Clean City Community to lead school-level awareness workshops and initiatives. Discussions with municipal waste management workers revealed the struggles and risks they faced in managing waste in the city. A random survey of city dwellers was also conducted to understand the current waste management situation, possible factors of poor management, and the responsible bodies.

The Aim & Goals

Jaffna Clean City Community (JCCC): The main aim is to foster inclusive urban waste governance by enabling and strengthening community participation in decision-making through workshops and advocacy programs in Jaffna. The main project goal is to foster inclusive governance in urban waste management in the city of Jaffna by building community capacity through a participatory planning and governance mechanism, the Clean City Community. The Clean City Council would facilitate interaction between community stakeholders, the municipality and other government authorities to co-create a livable city centre, mainly focusing on its beautification and urban waste management. Long-term expected results of the project include: strengthened links and ongoing collaboration between communities, businesses, public institutions and municipalities as a result of the project’s capacity development activities; sustained funding of the activities of the Clean City Community from government institutions, non-governmental agencies and businesses in the area; and the establishment of the Clean City Council as an influential stakeholder in municipal affairs, serving as an advisory body, pressure group, think tank and implementing agency as required.

By the end of the project: 1) 40 key stakeholders will be engaged in the project aimed at creating a cleaner, safer, the more sustainable mechanism that will be co-created to handle the urban waste. The Clean City Community will accommodate 50 members and encapsulate the voices of all urban users, and 3) a two-year action plan will be developed through the CCC to beautify and maintain the cleanliness of the city centre. This outcome also includes the economic empowerment of individuals living and working in and around Jaffna city through newly created local jobs and projects related to the beautification of the city centre. Job employment will prioritize women from war-impacted and female-headed households and families who have differently abled members.

Commuters, urban dwellers, and migrant workers who access the city on a daily basis are the primary beneficiaries of this project. They include people from all ethnicities, religions, and gender orientations. In addition, school groups, project trainees, members of the Jaffna Municipal Council, entrepreneurs, business owners, and municipal waste collectors (all genders) will also benefit from this project. All project beneficiaries will be represented as stakeholders in the Clean City Community They will be continuously engaged in the progress and monitoring of the project. In addition, stakeholder groups (schools, business organizations, Municipal Council members, NGO sector members) will train and monitor their organizational colleagues through a train-the-trainer module with proper waste management policies and tools. The Clean City Council will be the monitoring body for city waste management practices and will support other organizations to achieve sustainable waste management practices.

Main activities undertaken by JCCC


The first step is to understand what is there. Without understanding the complex issues, we won't be able to progress further.

  • Secondary data collection

  • Surveys and interviews

  • Focussed Group Discussions

  • Reflective discussions

Meaning Making

The following activities are planned to promote collective meaning-making. These activities have been undertaken along with supporting organisations.

  • Seminars, Workshops & Meetings

  • Awareness Creation Activities

  • Competitions to promote learning

Developing Options

The following options are planned for the creation of policies, structures, and processes through emancipatory means.

  • Innovative platforms

  • Innovative processes

  • Innovative Structures

  • Novel artefacts, habits behaviours.