Australian High Commission
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Development Cooperation

Development Cooperation 


Australia’s Development Cooperation in Sri Lanka

Australia is a long-standing and trusted development cooperation partner for Sri Lanka.

Our bilateral development programming is focussed on:

  • Support for governance and reform agendas that foster inclusive economic growth;
  • Improved livelihoods, including through employment opportunities for disadvantaged Sri Lankans;
  • Support for human resource development and development leadership through Australia Awards scholarships; and
  • Provision of humanitarian assistance in response to food insecurity, health and protection issues.

The map below provides an overview of Australia’s development investments in Sri Lanka between 2022-24.

More information on Australia’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka can be found here.


Seeking expressions of interest for new gender equality program in Sri Lanka

Australia is seeking expressions of interest from organisations with experience in gender transformative approaches, climate resilient livelihoods and social norms change to stand up a new gender investment in Sri Lanka.

The primary focus of the program will be to promote gender equality and disability inclusion. Through strengthening climate resilient livelihoods among relevant cohorts, the program will also change negative social and cultural norms.

Potential applicants should provide an expression of interest (strictly no more than 1500 words) by 5pm (Colombo time) 5 June  2024.

More details available here.


Strengthening Governance

Australia is supporting more inclusive, efficient and accountable governance systems in partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka.  Through our partners, the programs aim to contribute to improved evidence-based policy and decision-making, better service delivery, and improved voice and agency particularly for marginalised groups.

Australia’s partnership with the World Bank seeks to eliminate barriers to economic growth and provide improved macroeconomic stability in areas such as trade facilitation and improving the investment climate.  The Asia Foundation is strengthening subnational governance and improving service delivery particularly in the areas of public finance management, business facilitation, and social protection. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems program supports greater voice, agency and representation in democratic processes at the subnational level for women, youth and people with disabilities.  Australia also supports a wide range of civil society including partners such as Sri Lankan Press Institute, Sri Lankan Evaluation Association, Verite Research and the International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Fact sheet on Australia's support for strengthening governance in Sri Lanka


Knowledge and Linkages for Inclusive Economy grants program


The Knowledge and Linkages for an Inclusive Economy (KLIE) Grant Program supports partnerships between Sri Lankan and Australian government agencies, research institutions, civil society and professional networks. Close to AUD 4.1 million in grants has been committed since 2018.

Details of partnerships funded through the KLIE Grant Program are provided below.


Direct Aid Program

Australia’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a small grants program that works with local communities to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. It sits alongside Australia’s long-term development strategy for Sri Lanka and plays an important role in supporting local community efforts towards poverty reduction.

The 2024 Direct Aid Program (DAP) round is now live and open for applications at the following link.

More details on projects funded in 2023 can be found in The Direct Aid Program Brochure

Stories from the Direct Aid program in Sri Lanka can be found here.



Australia Awards Scholarships


Scholarships for study in Australia have been an important component of the Australian Government’s official development assistance program to Sri Lanka since the Colombo Plan in the 1950s. Australia Awards offer emerging leaders the opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development with the support of the Australian Government. The opportunities provided by Australia Awards develop the skills, knowledge and networks of individuals to drive change and contribute to development in their own countries and regions while maintaining strong links to Australia. Australia Awards Scholarships are granted on a competitive basis to Sri Lankan and Maldivian citizens who meet the eligibility criteria stipulated for their respective countries.

Full details regarding Australia Awards Scholarships, and details on how to apply, can be found by accessing the following website:


COVID-19 response

Australia responded quickly to support Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response with a focus on health, community resilience and stability and economic recovery. Read more about Australia’s COVID-19 response in Sri Lanka here.


Gender and Inclusion Plan 

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) addresses gender equality and social inclusion (GESI), both internally and externally, through a number of policies and strategies. The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper states ‘Australia’s foreign policy pursues the empowerment of women as a top priority’ and outlines disability inclusion as a cross cutting priority in Australia’s international engagement on development, humanitarian assistance and human rights.

This whole-of-Post Inclusion Strategy places inclusion at the core of all advocacy, policy and programming activities of the AHC through a human rights-based approach to social equality. 

Colombo Post Inclusion Strategy