Press release

Marking a centenary of service to the world: ILO celebrates with communities in Jaffna, Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the ILO marks its 71st year of partnership. In light of its long-term engagement with the people of Sri Lanka, including in the Northern Province, the ILO celebrated its centenary across the North between 18th and 19th March 2019.

News | Colombo, Sri Lanka | 20 March 2019
COLOMBO (ILO News)- Over the last 100 years, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has given an equal voice to workers, employers and governments in setting standards and taking tangible actions to promote decent work and social justice for all.

In Sri Lanka, the ILO marks its 71st year of partnership. In light of its long-term engagement with the people of Sri Lanka, including in the Northern Province, the ILO celebrated its centenary across the North between 18th and 19th March 2019.
Northern Province SriLanka celebration of ILO's centenary with a boat parade in Nachikudah

The final event at Jaffna Municipal Council grounds was attended by the representative of the Chief Secretary of the Northern Province, the Director of the ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives, the Assistant Commissioner of Labour, ILO Sri Lanka’s Chief Technical Advisor, President of the Vavuniya North Fruit Growers Association, President of the Jaffna Fisheries Cooperative and President of the PTK Women’s Cooperative. It featured two dance performances, including one by a differently-abled woman cooperative member from Sivanarul.

People like you are at the heart of all the work that the ILO does to create employment and boost incomes based on decent work;

Simrin Singh, ILO Country Director

“People like you are at the heart of all the work that the ILO does to create employment and boost incomes based on decent work. The ILO is here for you, and with you, as you continue to inspire us in your determination to build sustainable and resilient livelihoods in conditions of peace and prosperity” said Ms. Simrin Singh, ILO Country Director in her remarks to the large gathering.

The two-day programme, to include communities in post-conflict Northern Sri Lanka in the global celebration of the ILO’s 100th anniversary, featured a bicycle parade and a boat parade involving cooperative members from Mulankavil, Nachikudah, Oddusuddhan, Poonakary, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Vavuniya North, and Jaffna. There was also a photography exhibition showcasing members of the agricultural and fisheries cooperatives who have contributed to local economic growth of the Northern Province with the support of Australian and Norwegian Aid.
Northern Province SriLanka celebration of ILO's centenary with a cycle parade on Sangupiddy bridge

The ILO’s work in northern Sri Lanka precedes the end of the conflict. In 2004, the ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives implemented a project to tackle child labour in the area.

After the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami hit Sri Lanka in 2004, the ILO came forward and implemented the Income Recovery Technical Assistance Programme to help lift people out of poverty and enable them to rebuild their lives. The work was for all the tsunami affected people in the country including the coastal areas of the Northern Province.

Most recently, as part of the ILO’s flagship “Jobs for Peace and Resilience” programme, a project in northern Sri Lanka known as Local Empowerment through Economic Development (LEED) is being implemented. The project focuses on creating inclusive, sustainable and decent employment for conflict affected rural communities in the North, building on ILO’s sustained community-level work since 2011.
A beneficiary found herself in the photography exhibition

Over the years LEED has created employment and generated income for more than 10,000 vulnerable persons in the North. At the policy level, it contributed to timely and necessary revisions to the National Cooperative Policy and to the National Fishery Improvement Plan for the blue swimmer crab sub-sector in the North.

The impact of these initiatives reach far beyond the North, and are improving the lives of thousands. ILO-LEED continues its quest to achieve inclusive, sustainable, decent employment for the vulnerable, especially women and persons with disabilities in the North.

For more information please contact:

Mr. Asitha Seneviratne, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives: asitha@ilo.org
Tel: + 94112592525