LEED+: Towards inclusive growth strategies for the conflict-affected communities in Sri Lanka

A series of meetings and site visits were conducted to identify key future activities of the ILO's LEED+ programme.

News | 30 May 2019
The ILO’s Programme, “LEED+” (Local Empowerment through Economic Development and Reconciliation) was launched in September 2018 in Sri Lanka. Building on more than eight years of work by the ILO and multiple stakeholders, the programme aims to promote resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth strategies for in conflict-affected communities in the Northern and North-Central provinces (Kilinochchi and Jaffna). LEED+ contributes to 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 LEED project has been implemented in the Northern Province since 2011 for the post-conflict development through poverty reduction and sustainable job creation, particularly in the fisheries and fruit and vegetable sectors. The project has empowered local farming, fishing communities, ex-combatants, producer organizations such as cooperatives and other SMEs for inclusive development. Building on previous work, LEED+ will address three main challenges: 1) income generation; 2) gender equality and women empowerment; and 3) scaling up and replication.

To review the strategy and work plan and identify key future activities, a series of meetings were held between ILO officials and tripartite constituents, cooperative support organizations, beneficiaries and representatives from project donors in Colombo in March 2019.

Crab processing plant of a fishery cooperative
In addition, ILO officials visited a number of cooperatives and other enterprises in Kilinochchi and Jaffna. Site visits included a SME involved in nuts production, a fishery cooperative with its crab processing plant managed by women members, a women ex-combatants’ cooperative, and two businesses involved in making husks for producing brushes and other products for export. Among the challenges observed during the visits are: the lack of relevant business development service (BDS) providers; limited infrastructure; and the relative isolation of the region.

Based on the meetings and site visits, key future activities were identified including on the market linkage creation and value chain development support to SMEs and cooperative enterprises, cooperative development services, skills development, institutions for peacebuilding, and knowledge building and sharing.