World Habitat Day 2016

The World Habitat Day was first established in year 1985 by the UN General Assembly and was first celebrated in the year 1986. Since then the first Monday of October of every year has designated as the World Habitat Day.

The Ministry of Housing & Construction has been playing a lead role in celebration of World Habitat Day under the guidance of Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Minister of Housing & Construction in delivering tangible results for the housing sector.

Each year the theme of the World Habitat Day is declared by the United Nations based on the current issues relevant to the Habitat Agenda and the theme of the current year has been chosen as “Housing at the Centre” paying attention to UN Habitat’s mandate which promote sustainable development policies for the sector. Hence, at the local level, the approach is to reinforce the importance of housing for urban planning and related to the development of cities and public. The part of housing is to be integrated into national urban policies for planned urbanization especially at the time of implementation of plans in Megapolis.

When considered the World Habitat Day Theme for the year 2016, “Housing at the Centre”, USDA plays a pivotal role in mobilizing the communities who are in underserved settlements with lack of services since the specific needs of those disadvantaged and marginalized groups are to be taken into account in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Making necessary awareness on the need for adequate housing for all in urban areas through community participation in housing projects is addressed by the institution and that could be considered as fulfilling one of the objectives of the World Habitat Day.

City-level urban poverty alleviation instruments such as city-development plans, city health plans, slum-free city plans of action, urban poverty reduction strategies and other such documents must be fed into and collaborated with formal urban planning process. In addition to this, special attention must be paid to poverty and slums in peri-urban areas and the related planning instruments applicable to these areas. The involvement of the community planners in the urban planning process should be emphasized. The government takes the necessary corrective action through USDA to ensure that urban planning includes the poor.

Urban poverty being multi-dimensional, various vulnerabilities faced by the poor in cities and towns: occupational, residential and social need to be addressed simultaneously in a comprehensive and integrated manner with a targeted focus on the vulnerable groups so that a definitive impact can be made on ground. Residential vulnerability issues are being addressed through the physical development programmes. The other vulnerability issues can be best addressed by creating opportunities for skill development leading to market based employment and helping them to set-up self-employment ventures. Further programme need to be based on skill development and easy access to credit. Major target group can be classified as Children, Youth, Women and Self employees. USDA is in the process of implementing participatory mechanism for firming up the link between finance, employment, housing, and urban poverty.

“ Swashakthi ” Children’s paintings competition

The Urban Settlement Development Authority has drawn a special attention towards the children’s aesthetic and creative development and accordingly the World Habitat Day preliminary paintings competitions were held at Viharamaha devi Park, Colombo with the participation of 15,000 children in pursue of their age groups came from low facilities settlements scattered into the ‘Samata  Sevana‘ National Housing Programme covering Colombo District and other Districts in the island. Having selected 3000 children artists, who showed their talents in that place, final competitions were held at Viharamaha devi Park on 24 September 2016 under the aegis of Madam Hema  Premadasa.

Winners will receive gifts and certificates at the National Conference on World Habitat Day.

“ Swashakthi ” Children’s Short Drama Contest

In view of the objectives of promoting the aesthetic skills, team work unity, personality development, leadership qualities of the children living in low facilities settlements in Colombo and its suburbs, Swashakthi” Children’s Short Drama festival  has  continuously been held in concurrence with the World Habitat Day commemoration since 2010  by the Urban Settlement Development Authority.  

This Drama festival is conducted in two sessions and 20 among 58 Dramas, which were staged in the first session, were selected for the final session. Accordingly, said final drama competition was held on 12 September 2016 at Maligawatta  Pradeepa Hall, Colombo and which was presided over by Madam Hema Premadasa.

Winners will receive gifts and awards at the National Conference on World Habitat Day.


Place Name of the Drama Zone Settlement
First Place Pin mada Puthun Eastern/Western


Nelson Lane

Second Place Apatavechcha de Colombo North Blue Mandel
Third Place Bonikko Borella Dadimuttuduva
“Swashakthi” Children’s Essay competition which makes Way Forward for the creative thoughts

Another attempt of “Swashakthi” Human development programme is to make a child who claims for very creative thoughts through the development of abilities, skills and attitudes of urban low facilities and low income communities. 

Children’s Essay competition is very specific among the various human development programmes, this competition could be identified as the media to unveil their own feelings and attitudes in creative manner through encouraging the nonverbal or written area of children.

The world community which is under the globalization flow, in the era of intercepting their own utterances and writings in the new media frame work, it is timely to build up a positive approach through the traditional media while identifying the self esteems.    

This competition was held in association with nearly 40 schools which are located in the Colombo Urban Zone covering the social system living with low facilities.

Winners of the competition, which was held by representing primary, junior and senior sections, will receive gifts and certificates at the National Conference on World Habitat Day.

Six a side cricket tournament for improving sport talents of the youth

Soft ball six a side cricket tournament, organized by the Urban Settlement Development Authority to commemorate the World Habitat Day was held with the participation of around 1500 youth and 150 sports societies with the objectives of improving the sports talents, harmony, team work feeling, handling winning and losing together and etc of male and female youth in the low facility urban settlements in Colombo City.

Having conducted the preliminary games, final game of this tournament was ceremonially held on 17 September at Bandaranayakepura Play ground, Rajagiriya and

Winners will receive gifts and certificates at the National Conference on World Habitat Day.

Vocational Training Programme “Win the life through vocational Competency”

In the Sri Lankan Society the youth is very often isolated from the unemployment crisis after the school education. In order to make their future brighter, such youth, who are in the low facilities of urban settlement and are gifted with much talent, are monitored by the Urban settlement Development Authority by way of performing the social responsibility with extending the join hands.   

In subsequence, a programme of referring the young children to the formal vocational trainings  and   employments opportunities after their school education   under the Swashakthi” Human development programme  is conducted by the  Urban settlement Development Authority under the joined cooperation  of the  National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) in island wide.

Accordingly, more than 300 individuals have been referred to the vocational trainings in the year 2016. This programme is a noble work to win the life through the vocational competencies.

Implementation of the community medicine clinics for healthy community life

 This programme was held under the joined cooperation of the Department of Ayurveda and Dental Hospital in the mediation of the Swashakthi” Human development programme  of the  Urban settlement Development Authority  with the objectives of improving the  health and  nutrition  of the poor families in the low facilities of urban settlement in Colombo District  and increasing their awareness and specially increasing their awareness on the prevention of kidney disease that is very critical at present and its treatments.  

Ayurvedic Medical Clinic and counseling services, Kidney clinics and counseling services, dental clinics and counseling services were conducted in the common place in association with such settlements and more than thousand families were benefited by this means.