UNDP Promotes Entrepreneurship and Business Development in Conflict Affected Districts Supported by the European Union
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the financial assistance of the European Union (EU) partnered with the Industrial Services Bureau (ISB) to complete an Entrepreneurship Development Training of Trainers Programme for 191 Development Officers of Divisional and District Secretariats in Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa and Ampara, Anuradhapura, Puttalam and Moneragala districts.
This Entrepreneurship Development Training of Trainers Programme was carried out with funding provided through the European Union Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP). The EU-SDDP with a total financial envelope of EUR 60 million aims at supporting the Government of Sri Lanka’s thrust for economic and social development in 7 conflict-affected districts covering half a million people.
As majority of the unemployed in the conflict-affected districts are youth, the Entrepreneurship Development Training of Trainers Programme prepared these Development Officers to address the skills shortage of youth. The Development Officers will inculcate employable skills and business development knowledge in 40,000 vulnerable individuals across the 7 districts. This programme complements the Youth Entrepreneurship Development (YED) Programme as trained Development Officers are required to practically apply their skills by assessing and selecting suitable youth for the YED programme and other producer groups and producer organisations in their communities. The Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme falls directly in line with the key outcomes of the UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017 to increase economic empowerment of youth along with enhancing youth civic engagement and participation in decision-making and strengthening youth engagement in resilience building.
“The training taught me how to identify livelihood opportunities in the community and match these with the resources at hand. My wish is that someday my GN division and other targeted areas within the district will produce good entrepreneurs so that they can be successful and provide employment to others in the community” stated Fathima Hasmath, age 28, Economic Development Officer, Puttalam DSD, Puttalam.
The selection process of Development Officers was highly competitive. The participants were chosen based on their capacity and enthusiasm to train and mentor young entrepreneurs. The Competency based Economies through Formation of Enterprise (CEFE) method, a comprehensive set of tools to stimulate positive interventions in the small and medium enterprise development process was used in the programme.
Commenting on the Programme, Rajendrakumar Ganesarajah, Assistant Country Director, UNDP stated “The UNDP is proud to partner with the Government of Sri Lanka in creating a local resource pool of entrepreneurship and business development trainers and mentors within the Government system thus ensuring sustainability of the initiative.”
UNDP has been working in Sri Lanka for nearly five decades as the development arm of the UN and under the EU-SDDP programme, is strengthening the capacities of local governance by providing technical assistance to grass-root level youth to engage in community development processes and to enhance networking with local government officers in a bid to improve accountability of local service providers.