The Challenge of Pluralism: Sarvodaya’s Inclusive Approach to Development and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka
This article examines strategies to foster pluralism employed by a development non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the context of civil conflict. Through an examination of the development philosophy and Buddhist affiliation of Sarvodaya, a Sri Lankan NGO, it discusses both the accomplishments and limitations of the organisation’s philosophy in terms of engaging Sri Lanka’s multiple ethnic groups. The article distinguishes between inclusive and pluralistic approaches to development and peacebuilding, arguing that pluralism provides a better foundation from which to develop effective programmes in societies experiencing or transitioning from conflict. It highlights the internal and external challenges that Sarvodaya has faced in its efforts to develop true pluralism, and ofers recommendations for overcoming them.