Building Disaster Resilience of Vulnerable MSMEs in Kalutara and Ratnapura Districts

The training programmes will be held in Palindanuwara Divisional Secretariat Division in Kalutara district and Ratnapura district in Elapatha Divisional Secretariat Division. targeting 100 vulnerable MSMEs

In late 2018, Sri Lanka was ranked the second most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change in the world. A major factor was the high level of losses caused to properties and the goods and services sector at a local level.

Losses from natural disasters have ripple effects, affecting entrepreneurs and employees who depend on these enterprises for their livelihoods. In the districts of Ratnapura and Kalutara, frequent floods disrupt the continuous operation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), thus jeopardizing local economic growth, job creation and decent working conditions, especially in the informal economy.

In the past, it was not that common to consider the link between employment and decent work in Sri Lanka in the context of sustainability, environmental degradation and climate resilience. We are now realising the inter-linkages between these factors. The 2019 report by the Global Commission on the Future of Work (FoW) has emphasized that the future of work and the decent work agenda are closely associated. In the human centred agenda of the FoW, sustainability has been recognised as one of the key elements. It underscores the importance of building climate resilience as a means to ensure sustainability in the rural economy. Thus, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) climate resilience work in Sri Lanka fits squarely within the vision for the future of work and is a core component of ILO’s commitment to achieving decent work for all.

Sri Lanka’s enterprise sector contributes extensively to its economy. However, the constant risk from natural disasters affect the business continuity of micro, small and medium enterprises, posing a grave threat to their financial survival.

The ILO with financial support from the Japanese Government under the ILO-Japan multi-bilateral programme, is assisting Sri Lanka strengthen its resilience to climate change driven disasters by conducting capacity building programmes in Ratnapura and Kalutara districts. Under this project, ILO provides capacity building of government officers who work with MSMEs in Ratnapura and Kalutara districts. Through this work the ILO raises the awareness and share knowledge on how to minimise losses to MSMEs in the event of a natural disaster. The capacity building programmes for the government officers in both Ratnapura and Kalutara districts were concluded in December 2018. The next set of awareness programmes are planned for the vulnerable MSMEs in two districts and are being coordinated by the District Secretariat offices in Ratnapura and Kalutara.

The first training programme will be held in Palindanuwara Divisional Secretariat Division in Kalutara district, targeting 50 vulnerable MSMEs in the area on the 28th of February, 2019. The training will enable entrepreneurs to learn the concepts of location of business, stock management for raw materials and finished goods, storing high value items and IT equipment, data storage among other things. Further it would enhance their knowledge on access to insurance cover and how to access relief from government affiliated disaster insurance mechanisms from National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) through National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC). These trainings would help entrepreneurs cope with disasters with increased preparedness and resilience.
The training programmes for Ratnapura district will kick off from 7th of March 2019, the first programme being organised in Elapatha Divisional Secretariat Division.
The project is funded by the Government of Japan and is implemented by the ILO in collaboration with the District Secretariats of Kalutara and Ratnapura, Disaster Management Centre and Ministry of Industries.