Jobs for peace and resilience

Joining forces to promote inclusive growth for conflict-affected communities in Sri-Lanka

ILO flagship project “LEED+” (Local Empowerment through Economic Development and Reconciliation) to be scaled up with the support of Australia and Norway.

Press release | 05 September 2018
ILO News (Colombo)-The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the new phase of its flagship “LEED+” (Local Empowerment through Economic Development and Reconciliation) project on 5th September at a launch event in Mullaithivu district. This new phase aims to promote inclusive growth strategies for conflict-affected communities in the Northern and North-Central provinces, building on over six years of work by the ILO.

This initiative has been made possible through joint funding from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka. The collaborative spirit is mirrored in the core objective of the project, which is a concerted four year effort to generate decent livelihoods for conflict-affected communities, with a particular focus on women in vulnerable situations and persons with disabilities.
From left to right:Mr Puvawaneswaran, Member of Northern Provincial Council; Ms Simrin Singh, Country Director, ILO Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives; Mr. Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther, Ambassador Norway, Mr. Bryce Hutchesson, High Commissioner of Australia, and Hon. Kandiah Sivanesan, Northern Provincial Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Services, Animal Husbandry, Irrigation, Fisheries, Water Supply and Environment
The official project launch was graced by His Excellency Mr. Bryce Hutchesson, High Commissioner of Australia, and His Excellency Mr. Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther, Ambassador Norway, attending as chief guests. The Hon. Kandiah Sivanesan, Northern Provincial Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Services, Animal Husbandry, Irrigation, Fisheries, Water Supply and Environment, as well as provincial, district and divisional representatives from the Government of Sri Lanka, will attend as guests of honour. The Udayarkattu Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Mullaitivu hosted the event which included the official inauguration of its primary fruit and vegetable processing centre – itself a result of LEED support.
Ms Simrin Singh, Country Director, ILO Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives address the gathering

The LEED project has a rich history in the Northern Province, having commenced back in 2011, with funding from the Governments of Australia and Norway. It has been a case-study for economic empowerment of the poor through the ILO’s livelihoods approach, with many lessons for job creation and income generation in the rural economy and particularly in the fisheries and fruit and vegetable sectors. Through its emphasis on value chain development, the inclusion of vulnerable women and persons with disabilities, and its facilitation of policy-level interventions, the LEED project has played a pivotal role in the region’s post-conflict recovery.

As in its earlier phase, the new LEED+ will mobilise a range of collaborations and partnerships across the private and public spheres, working with grassroots level producer organisations including cooperatives, public and private sector partners, the National Chamber of Exporters, the National and Provincial Chambers of Commerce, the National Seafood Exporters Association, the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, trade unions, and the government at national and provincial levels.

Building resilience, achieving scale, and ensuring sustainability is at the heart of this work."

Ms Simrin Singh, Country Director of the ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives
Simrin Singh, Country Director of the ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, expressed her excitement in rolling out LEED+: “The project approach is pragmatic, conflict-sensitive and ultimately aimed at empowering local farming, fishing communities, producers organisations and small and medium enterprises so that they can both benefit from, and participate in, the post conflict development of Sri Lanka. Building resilience, achieving scale, and ensuring sustainability is at the heart of this work”.
Mr. Bryce Hutchesson, High Commissioner of Australia address the gathering

LEED has demonstrated what can be achieved."

Mr Bryce Hutchesson, High Commissioner of Australia
High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson noted that Australia is pleased to be continuing its successful partnership with the ILO. He commended the impressive results achieved through LEED since 2011, providing sustainable livelihoods opportunities for men and women in the Northern Province. “Far-reaching social and economic change demands innovation, focus and persistence. It can be difficult to achieve, and slow. But LEED has demonstrated what can be achieved” he added.

We believe that linking with private sector is essential for the market expansion and a key for sustainability."

Mr Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther, Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy
Norwegian Ambassador Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther was pleased to see that Norwegian support through ILO has been used effectively and efficiently to assist conflict-affected households in achieving sustainable livelihoods. “We believe that linking with the private sector is essential for market expansion and is key to sustainability”. Highlighting the ILO’s strategy of a value addition approach, he underscored how, “increasing the value of the primary products by establishing fruit and fish processing factories will create more employment, and successfully retain wealth in the region.”

The LEED project is part of the ILO’s global Jobs for Peace and Resilience programme which focuses on employment generation, especially for young people in conflict-affected and disaster-prone countries. The project is closely aligned with the government of Sri Lanka’s vision for sustainable social and economic development.

LEED+ is also central to achieving the goals of the ILO in Sri Lanka’s Decent Work Country Programme 2018-2022 and is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) 2018-2022 for Sri Lanka.

Chief guests met members from Puthukkudiyiruppu Women Entrepreneurs’ Cooperative Society
At its very core, LEED+ is a quintessential ILO effort, given its ultimate aim of creating decent, inclusive and sustainable jobs, and ensuring the empowerment of conflict-affected communities in the process. As the ILO celebrates 100 years in service of social progress in 2019, the launch of LEED+ represents another significant milestone in its 70-year partnership with Sri Lanka.

For further information, please contact: Mr. Thomas Kring, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives: kring@ilo.org , Tel: + 94112592525 – www.ilo.org/colombo