An Enterprise Approach to Mitigating the Human Elephant Conflict

Lalith Seneviratne
Elephant Detection Project, Austrian Sri Lankan Elephant Research & Conservation
Project (ASERC)

The Elephant Detection Project (EDP) has been working on developing a tool box of solutions to help mitigate the human elephant conflict through community participative technologically innovative solutions. EDP is now part of the Austrian Sri Lankan Elephant Research andConservation Project (ASERC) which is a collaborative effort between Austrian and Sri Lankan conservationists. A key area of activity of the EDP has been rural electrification as a means to bring about economic prosperity in human elephant conflict (HEC) areas. This initiative hasevolved from a pilot stage to be spun off as an enterprise that can clearly demonstrate long termviability and growth as well as replication, globally.

The enterprise is a joint venture between the for-profit company Flowing Currents and the nonprofitAspira. It has been structured as a “hybrid enterprise”, measuring performance through a “multiple bottom-line” approach that has attracted the infusion of funding through the right mixture of grants, social financing and commercial financing. In less than two years of operation of the enterprise, five villages beyond the pilot stage have been electrified, with a target of over twenty villages to be reached through what in effect is a regional community power company. It is on the way to proving that a market exists for electricity among the rural poor in HEC areas that can be served in a sustainable and financially viable way while bringing about economic prosperity that lessens the burden on the environment. On the technology side, appropriate environmentally beneficial biomass technology development has taken place leading to the formation of a separate manufacturing enterprise called Lanka Gasifiers Ltd.

The presentation will cover the social, economic, financial and technological aspects of the enterprise and how it can be replicated elsewhere as a means of improving the standard of living of the people who inhabit HEC areas.