Launch of the Employment Generation and Livelihoods through Reconciliation (EGLR) Project in Northern Sri Lanka

The Project on Employment Generation and Livelihoods through Reconciliation funded by the Government of Norway was launched in Vavuniya on the 15th of March 2017

Press release | Colombo, Sri Lanka | 15 March 2017
The Project on Employment Generation and Livelihoods through Reconciliation funded by the Government of Norway was launched in Vavuniya on the 15th of March 2017 amongst a distinguished gathering with the participation of the local politicians, key Government officials, Donor and the project partners. Honourable P. Ayngaranesan, Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Services, Animal Husbandary, Cooperative Development graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, and Mr Mr. K. Nyfløt, Counsellor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy was the Guest of Honour at the event.

The EGLR project will build on the employment generation and livelihood programme ILO has been implementing in the Northern Province since 2011 and will focus specifically on scaling up the activities in the fruits and vegetable and the fishery sectors targeting the vulnerable communities, with a special focus on women. The EGLR project will use the networks it has already built among the government and private sector key organisations in order to execute the project. The project will closely work with the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Department of Cooperative Development. The Project at the local and district levels will continue to work as well as with the Divisional Secretariats and District Secretary’s offices.

At the national level the project will continue to work with the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations, the respective line Ministries and Departments, National Chamber of Exporters, Employers Federation of Ceylon and the Trade Unions. The Project will be operational in the district of Vavuniya, Mullativue, and Killinochchi. The objective of the project is to create decent employment and income opportunities for the vulnerable communities in the targeted districts. The project aims to extend the support to an additional 2,000 vulnerable households, develop joint ventures and new business models in the fruits and vegetable sector, as well as the fishery sector.

Mr. K. Nyfløt, Counsellor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in his remarks stated that the partnership model advocated by the ILO;, namely linking the producers with the markets, has proven to be a very successful model which has been replicated by other agencies and there is still scope for further expansion. He further stated that the “EGLR project will continue to focus on women, including female-headed households, as it is one of the important foci of the Norwegian development agenda”.
Mr. A. Wimalaweera, Senior Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations, stated that, the ILO focuses on the sustainability of the livelihood interventions, thus the ILO has not only helped local businesses to grow but has ensured access to the market which has helped the beneficiaries to sustain their livelihoods.

Honourable. P. Ayngaranesan, Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Services, Animal Husbandry, Cooperative Development, highlighted some of the achievements of the cooperatives and paid his sincere gratitude to the Norwegian Government for their financial support and stated that “the cooperatives, supported under the ILO implemented project, have made significant steps in improving the livelihoods of the producers, such system of cooperatives should be further replicated beyond the regions of current operation.”

Mr. S. Rasenthiram, President of the Vavuniya North Fruit Growers Cooperative Society Limited, stated “we have achieved the target of working with 200 producers in the North under the LEED project funded by the Australian government. Now with the support of the Norwegian funding, we aim to work with another 150 producers.“

Mr. J. Francis, President of the Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Union in Poonakary, mentioned: “With the help of the LEED project, our fishermen coop is now able to sell their produces beyond the local market. Our produces are not only being circulated within Sri Lanka but also overseas.”

Finally, Mr. D. Nihal, National Project Coordinator of the ILO, further mentioned, “we usually have such events in Colombo, but this time we wanted to organize it here in Vavuniya in the Northern Province as this is the place where our beneficiaries are, where we improve livelihoods, and where we achieve results. We are thankful that the Norwegian government is on board now, and we are committed to making further progress.”