Is Kitchen Design At Sarvodaya’s Damniyamgama ‘Eco-Village’ An Appropriate Model For Household Energy Use?

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala


Nearly 100,000 Sri Lankan homes were damaged or destroyed in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Two years after the tsunami nearly half of these houses have yet to be repaired or rebuilt. My inquiry focused on the Sarvodaya (an indigenous Sri Lankan NGO) eco-village of Damniyamgama. The village was completed in March 2006 and is now home for 55 relocated families from three separate coastal villages in the Kalutara District of the Western Province.

I looked at the village from a myriad of angles while engaging in research, but energy used for household purposes was the general focus of my inquiry process, wherein I posed the following question: Is kitchen design at Sarvodaya’s Damniyamgama ‘eco-village’ an appropriate model for household energy use? I explored my primary question through the perspectives of the village families and local practitioners in the household energy field. Literature from the field of appropriate technology and household energy sector informed and guided my research. I used a survey, focus group discussion, interviews, observations, and community interaction in my inquiry process.

I concluded that Damniyamgama both is and is not a model for Sri Lanka. From the perspective of mitigating indoor air pollution and creating a healthy kitchen environment for the user, it can be used as a model. International NGOs should use Damniyamgama’s kitchen design in remaining post-tsunami reconstruction efforts. However, the source of energy for cooking (in this case liquid propane gas) provided by Sarvodaya does not adequately represent local affordable alternatives. As energy is increasingly privatized in Sri Lanka, a number of decentralized community-run renewable alternatives exist and are becoming increasingly viable. These alternatives may better meet the energy requirements of other communities, but first they need additional consideration, exploration, and funding by various development actors.


Environmental Health | Place and Environment

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