Reopening of the Pulopalai West Coir Factory
The Pulopali West Coir Factory, located in the Pachchilaipalli DS Division in Kilinochchi District, was once abuzz with activity. With raw material, such as coconut fibre, readily available in the region, the factory provided employment to a large number of women from nearby villages. Yet, with the building severely damaged during to the conflict, there was little opportunity for those engaged in training and production at the factory to continue their work.
A Participatory Context and Needs Assessment (PCNA) exercise conducted in Pachchilaipalli identified the renovation of the coir factory as crucial in rebuilding the village. As such, UNDP joined hands with the Department of Industries, the Women’s Rural Development Society (WRDS) and the Rural Development Society (RDS) of Pulopali West to re-establish the coir factory thereby assisting in the socio-economic recovery of this village. Funded by the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), renovation of the factory commenced in September last year and was completed in May 2011, at a total cost of Rs. 2.25 million. The factory reopened its doors a month later.
A total of 24 women are currently employed at the factory. Among them are six producers and 18 trainees. On a given day, the factory has the capacity of produce 10kg worth of ropes, 20 brooms and seven doormats.
The factory provides a range of equipment to its employees including two yarn mats, a coir rope making machine, a small lathe machine, dye, coconut yarn and husk and other necessary furniture thereby enhancing production capacity. Training is conducted on coir production techniques by the Department of Industries. UNDP has already provided the equipment needed for teaching such as white boards and flip charts. In addition, UNDP will also repair four previously used machines, in an effort to utilize these in the near future as it envisages a growth in production.
In giving further incentive to the employees, UNDP will provide the initial capital to purchase raw material and funds for maintenance of the factory. Rs. 6,000 will be provided per month for a period of four months to producers, while trainees will be provided Rs. 200 by the Department of Industries for the same period. Following the initial phase, the management and operation of the factory, including payment of salaries, will be handed over to the Industrial Development Society.
Just three months into the training, Balasingham Rajitha (22) believes once completed, the training will strengthen her skills. Having left school recently, she says, she now feels more confident that she can earn a stable income.
The establishment of the factory will also increase demand for coconut husks, the basic raw material used for coir production, which are found in abundance in the area.
Furthermore, UNDP will work in consultation with the Department of Industries to link the employees with new markets in the area as well as in other districts, thus providing new opportunities for those engaged in coir production at the factory.