Dilmah Conservation will expand it outreach in the region of the Udawalawe National Park where considerable work has already been carried out to support and empower the lives and livelihoods of the adjacent communities. The ongoing Mankada pottery project, a novel concept by Dilmah Conservation will be further enhanced and plans are afoot to make the Udawalawe National Park a model national park in the country. Dilmah Conservation will use suitable tools and resources to educate adjacent communities of the need to be eco-friendly, whilst simultaneously working to strengthen their socio-economic standards.
The programme will use education as a tool to make the community understand the necessity for coexistence between man and nature in order to reduce conflict levels that occur between man and beast. It will demonstrate income earning methods by sustainably utilising nature rather than by exploiting it. This, Dilmah Conservation hopes, will generate a greater understanding of the importance of biodiversity conservation and foster greater respect for it. Dilmah Conservation will conduct environmental awareness programmes for these communities, and will include all schools in the vicinity of the Park. The programme will also provide instructions on income generation in an environmentally sustainable manner, with one such project being the manufacture of recycled paper.
The second phase of the programme will see improvements to facilities within the Udawalawe National Park and an expansion of the Mankada pottery project. This will include setting up of sales outlets at the Park entrance and at the Elephant Transit Home. This phase will also incorporate special training for the park drivers and guides in order to raise the standard of the services that they provide to visitors. The Elephant Transit Home will be upgraded with solar water heating facilities and a biogas plant to encourage sustainable use of resources and to discourage the use of firewood which was originally used in the milk-making process for feeding baby elephants.