Local Empowerment through Economic Development (LEED) Project

The Project contributes to poverty reduction, sustainable job creation and peace building through an improved environment with strengthened governance, effective community-based services and public-private partnership that economically empower vulnerable groups in conflict-affected populations in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

Partners: Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations, Provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Provincial Ministry of Cooperative development, National Chamber of Exporters, National Sea Food Exporters association, National Food Processor Association and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon

Target Beneficiaries: 2,400 conflict-affected households with high vulnerability including female-headed households, ex-combatants, conflict-affected youth and persons with disabilities and entrepreneurs

Regional Focus: Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullativue Districts

Project Objectives:

• To improve the enabling environment for entrepreneurship and job creation for women, young women and men and the disabled and for gender equality

• To increase employment creation and livelihood opportunities for women, young women and men and the disabled by addressing their special needs and strengthening their capacity for productive self-employment or wage employment

• To develop the capacity (systems, organizational and individual) of local business development services, training providers and local government to facilitate the development and growth of enterprises with a focus on the special needs of women and youth entrepreneurs

• To provide post-training support including technical assistance, equipment, tools and advisories on the implementation of their pre-determined plans is delivered to the target groups in order for them take off as enterprises

• Increase market absorbability through value chain development and identification of interventions targeting local competitive advantages to accommodate new business entrants and existing businesses to benefit from higher capital and market share growth both in off-farm and on-farm livelihood sectors.

• To design and implement, together with the chambers of commerce and the Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations, a sustainable business placement system in existing businesses and public sector organisations

Main Activities:

• Develop the key economic sectors including the paddy, fishery and other field crops fruits and vegetables
• Develop partnerships between the business communities in the north and south
• Develop gender sensitive Value Chains in the above selected sectors
• Develop and implement Women Entrepreneurship Development and Gender equality business development programme in the North
• Develop and implement awareness creation, job placement and MSME promotion progrsmme for the PwDs
• Develop and implement a programme to Revitalize the cooperative sector in the North

Project Outcomes:

• Four large scale rice mills reequipped, buildings renovated and in operation and 15000 farmers were benefitted though direct access to GPS. 100 direct employments ere created.
• 20 small scale rice mills have been renovated, upgraded and are in operation. 60 employments were created.
• Three value chain studies on fruits and vegetables, fishery and OFC were completed and development of the same started
• Three cooperative were supported to grow fruits and vegetables while linking with the export and local and national markets. 1000 were benefitted though increase incomes.
• Two boat yards were established and 20 direct employments were created. 500 indirect employments were created through the Boat productions
• Five cooperatives were supported to develop aquaculture enterprises and 100 were benefitted
• 200 were supported through fishing gears and boat engines and 200 self employments were created
• Fishery improvements plan has been initiated will benefit the entire fishing communities in the division of Poonekery
• 600 farmers who are engaged in OFC have been supported to do the processing and marketing of the OFCs.
• 200 woemn who are engage in MSMEs been supported to expand their businesses through WEDGE programme.
• Cooperative sector revitalization programme have been initiated with 5 Federations, 5 MPCS and 15 primary cooperatives.
• 200 households with persons with disabilities economically capable to be self-reliant and in which the person with a disability plays an active role in income generating activities.
• Newly established businesses/cooperatives and groups effectively collaborate with larger businesses in supply and demand of goods and services
• Access to markets has increased leading to growth and increased production
• A sustainable system is developed and implemented through which the private sector and the Government can continue the placements after the duration of the programme