Issues of the youth, which were not adequately and systematically attended and presented that have grown up over a long period of time is a major root cause of the widespread violence and unrest that exist in the country today. Formation of youth bulges due to various contributing factors was a prominent social symptom. Having worked very closely with the poorest of the poor and the youth in the South-Western coastal belt of the country for nearly 25 years Arthacharya Foundation (AF) is quite convinced that youth bulges are appearing at an alarming rate in the south of the country again. Unemployment, underemployment, political affiliation, and drug trafficking, could be considered as main reasons for the formation of these youth bulges. Arthacharya developed an effective strategy to attend to these youth bulges by providing them vocational training skills. The focus of the project is entrepreneurship development and rapid job creation, for the main stakeholders of one year initiative covering Hikkaduwa Divisional Secretary’s which were among the most violently affected. The goal of the project is to ensure that increased opportunities exist for youth to engage themselves in productive employment and voice and express opinions as well as harness innate potentials so that they become involved as productive citizens of the country while preventing the formation of destructive youth bulges.
The project have a strategy through which it will establish “down to earth and low cost” skills training programmes based on the local market demand to generate gainful employment opportunities for the youth. In doing this the project focus on “Young people who are engaged in various odd jobs in tourist industry but mainly as guides, drug traffickers and male sex workers and become criminal elements during the off season in addition to becoming vulnerable against HIV. Due to the fact that there is a considerable section of the unemployed youth who do not want to leave for towns owing to various social and economic reasons the project focus on generating employment opportunities for them in their own areas based on the best practices An innovative strategy adopted by the project in creating jobs very rapidly is to follow a ‘fast and target oriented’ method of vocational training in place of conventional vocational training programmes which are very slow, infrastructure based, expensive, non-inclusive and technocratic. The new method identifies entrepreneurship skills and vocations which have a ready market in the fast changing economy and is based on temporary training spaces which was rented by the project and a visiting faculty to be gathered from both government and private sector institutions.
Mobile phone Training, House wiring Training, Beauty culture Training, Sewing Training ( Dress making, Tailoring), Handicraft Training (making shoes and hand bags as well as cloth toys and embroidery work) and Computer skills training are included in the training schedule. The school leavers in their late teen and the youth who are in their early twenties comprise in the target group in the project area. However, the unemployed youth above this age group is included.
The project allows young women and men to launch a one year program focusing on their acquiring (i) job market targeted skills training;(ii) access to microfinance and (iii) communication skills through familiarising them with internet and email. These activities would allow participating youth as change agents to influence other youth through their best practices and success stories. The project will create a minimum of 150 gainful employment opportunities in one year in the project area and become a replicable model.
Arthacharya Foundation has been the leader in the field of participatory waste management in urban areas of the country during the last 17 years. Based on the experience gained in Galle, Habaraduwa, Hikkaduwa, Negombo, Moratuwa, Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia, Ratnapura, Matara and Tangalle Arthacharya was able to develop a participatory model for waste management involving the communities, local authorities, relevant government institutions such as DS offices, schools, hospitals and markets etc, and the private sector. ADG, an NGO in Belgium invited Arthacharya Foundation in 2007 to implement a post tsunami participatory waste management programme in Kalutara, Ambalangoda, Weligama, Matara and Tangalle to further refine the model that AF had developed. The project which covered a arget group of 10,000 families in five towns achieved all its targets in time, was funded by the European Union.
Among the activities carried out were waste audits, waste management training, composting training, waste collection, by CBO s formed, waste transport, waste storage, waste sales and waste recycling in the factory built in Matara with the land made available by Matara MC. Besides, project involved the communities to grow home gardens using the compost they made while the surplus compost was sold.
Women were also trained to produce handicrafts using plastic and polythene waste material. An important intervention made by the project was to develop a waste business group which would function between the community level waste collectors and the larger waste dealers in towns.
These newcomers who function quite well were offered credit facilities from the microfinance programme in addition to the training they had. The project developed a large number of best practices and had many a success story that could be used in replicating the model at other locations. Among the outputs of the project are the eleven publicationsmade in Sinhala and Tamil on participatory waste anagement.
This project developed a new concept and a new model too in offering livelihoods training for the unemployed youth in lantations and surrounding areas which are among the poorest areas in Sri Lanka.
Project funded by the Ford Foundation focused on 1,000 unemployed youth who were trained in driving, motor cycle mechanics, mobile phone repairing, house wiring, aluminum work as well as beauty culture etc. More than 60% of them found gainful employment in less than three months after the training while the others found jobs in six months. In contrast to the expensive conventional vocational training conducted in formal training institutes whose training is often not relevant to the needs of the villagers the project identified the required and marketable skills in the project area first through a market survey. Besides, it studied the potential work places for the trainees within the area as well as in the close by towns of the district. The development of a low cost training conducted at temporary places with part time trainers and having a market strategy made the project much more cost effective.
Though the demand for the continuation of this result producing project was repeatedly expressed by the people in the area, school teachers and principals, religious leaders as well as the politicians who participated in the project completion ceremony activities had to be discontinued due to non-availability of funds.
1.Gender Sensitive Micro Enterprise Development through Savings and Credit in Maho and Kotawehera.
– Project was supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Colombo.
– Project was supported by AusAID.
– Project covers head office and 15 project offices by supporting their staff training,
providing financial flexibility by bridging gaps, funding pulications etc.
– Project covers families below the poverty line through 5 Human Resource Developers (HRDs) and Project Manager (PM).
– Project published 3,000 copies of a Manual on Rural Development Planning in Sinhala with 190 pages.
– Project covered families in 19 Grama Niladhari Divisions (GNDs)
– Project covered families in 57 GNDs.
– Project covered families in 28 GNDs.
– Project covered families in 140 GNDs.
– Project covered families in 160 GNDs.
– Project covered 355 families in one urban settlement.
– Project covered 410 families in one small town (peri-urban).
– Project covered 120 families supported by Metropolitan Environment ImprovementProgramme (MEIP) of the World Bank
Engaged in poverty reduction Arthacharya is an organisation which focuses only on the poorest of the poor in the society. Also, it is definitely not yet another service delivery operation.
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