The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will finance a pilot road project in the rural areas of Sri Lanka to train villagers, particularly women, to rehabilitate and maintain the access roads.

Under the plan, four selected non-government organisations will identify, train and supervise up to 2,000 community members, at least 50% of which will be women, to work on road rehabilitation and maintenance.

The project, funded by $3m from the Japanese government, will be carried out in over 60 villages in the Eastern and North Central provinces, and will see nearly 250km of rural access roads upgraded to better connect provincial road networks.

The project is expected to improve economy in the rural areas and benefit nearly 10,000 families, who remain in poverty primarily because of poor road access, according to ADB reports.