Ravaged by a decade long civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2009, the people of Mannar are looking to rebuild their community and improve their per capita income and living standards. And, they are looking to do this while retaining their cultural and community landscape.

The challenge is to work alongside this community to re-imagine an economic development path consistent with these wishes. The Mad Cow Project, alongside its partners Bridging Lanka and Uniting Journeys, is experimenting with re-imagining Mannar.

Re-imagining is economic development that finds value in forgotten, maligned or disused assets within local communities. The Mad Cow project is all about applying your knowledge and experiences in an uncertain and unfamiliar context and terrain. Re-imagining economic development is a process that happens in partnership with the local community. 

Individual project participants are challenged, gaining personally and professionally as they tour project areas. As a project participant,  it is important to come, see, listen and work alongside others while being open to possibilities in the project area.

Phase 1 – October 2017 will:

  • bring together a small group of young business professionals to tour Mannar and other parts of Sri Lanka;
  • set up conversations between the tour group and the local community about what Mannar’s local assets are, how these can provide an income, what trade-offs might this involve and why is growth important;
  • provide the tour group with an understanding of why other NGOs left and why Bridging Lanka, Uniting Journeys and others operate the way they do;
  • apply this understanding and the group’s business skills to re-imagine Mannar’s forgotten assets (e.g. the old water kulams, the donkeys of Mannar, war widows etc)
  • trial practical prototype solutions that can be refined and scaled by Bridging Lanka staff;
  • consider the longer term question of what needs to be put in place now or planned for so that the economy can evolve and create jobs, provide income and remains consistent with the values and desires of the local community.