UNDP and the EU Create a Generation of Youth Leaders in Mannar
Jaffna, 26 February 2016: The United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] in Sri Lanka partnered with the European Union to provide training and exposure to 117 youth from Mannar under the Youth Leadership Development Programme [YLDP] conducted by the University of Jaffna. Accordingly, the Certificate Awarding Ceremony of the YLDP for these youth, took place at the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Jaffna, presided by the District Secretary of the Mannar District, Mr. M. Y. S. Deshapriya, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jaffna, Senior Prof. (Ms.) V. Arasaratnam, the Dean of the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Jaffna, Prof. T. Velnampy and Assistant Country Director, UNDP Sri Lanka, Mr. Rajendrakumar Ganesarajah.
The youth were chosen on a competitive basis for the three month, 175 hour course and were taught subjects covering areas of Project Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance Management, Leadership, Time Management, Gender Studies and Disaster Risk Management. The course also included practical sessions such as hands-on training in conducting participatory rural appraisals in three villages, exposure visits to industries, factories and farms and sharing of experiences with youth from other districts engaged in social work. Armed with this knowledge and practical experiences, the youth are now equipped to play an active role in their community as change agents bringing social issues to the forefront and seeking solutions to these.
Reflecting on her experience during the course, Vasiharan Sashikala, a youth graduate from Manthai West, Mannar said “I was working for the Women’s Rural Development Society (WRDS) in my village. However I had no proper understanding of development issues. After the course, I was exposed to concepts such Leadership and Project Management which now help me be a better leader in society. I have now been included into the Divisional WRDS networking committee to share my learnings with other community based organizations within the division. I am hopeful that I can bring about some real change to people’s lives in Mannar.’
Speaking at the event, UNDP Assistant Country Director, Mr. Ganesarajah stated that UNDP is proud to be associated with such an event for youth, saying “UNDP consciously gives priority to youth within their Programmes, in realization of the value such investment brings to the communities as well as to the country as a whole. I am pleased to see that UNDP has been instrumental in creating a set of self-confident youth leaders such as those present here today.”
The Programme received much support from the Mannar District Secretariat which assisted in the selection of suitable participants and the conducting and monitoring of the course itself. Speaking to the youth, District Secretary of Mannar, Mr. Deshapriya, urged them to take up leadership positions in society stating, “As you have completed this leadership course you are privileged among your fellow young people. Hence, you need to take responsibility to represent your community in forums such as Community Based Organizations and the Youth Parliament”. He further encouraged them to initiate self-employment initiatives rather than depending on others to find them job placements.
The success and credibility of this Programme is ensured through the dedicated lecturers of the University of Jaffna who designed the modules for the course in keeping with the specific needs of the area and its youth. Speaking on behalf of the Faculty which delivered the course, the Dean of the Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Jaffna, Professor. T. Velnampy congratulated and commended the youth who were graduating.
This YLDP is 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.
Under the EU-SDDP Programme, UNDP works to strengthen 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.