In Sri Lanka, USAID is supporting activities that increase economic opportunities, enhance respect for human rights, strengthen rule of law, improve responsive governance, and foster political reconciliation. In recent years Sri Lanka has gone through major transitions. More than two decades of fighting prevented Sri Lanka from reaching its potential. The goal of this work is to help members of all ethnic groups rebuild their local communities, find jobs, and participate in the country’s development.
Our USAID Mission in Sri Lanka has recently forged four new business alliances with Sri Lankan private companies, under USAID’s Public/Private Alliance (PPA) Program (PDF). These partnerships are expected to create 10,000 full-time jobs in northern Sri Lanka. By helping to create jobs, USAID is assisting communities who have suffered through decades of conflict to have sustainable income and increased business opportunities.
An alliance between USAID and a Sri Lankan construction consortium will establish seven mobile training centers for construction craftsmen in the Northern Province. Training will be provided to 5,000 people over a period of six months including three months of on-the-job training.
Another alliance has been established with a leading garment textile firm in Jaffna which manufactures and exports denim textiles. This alliance will create 1,800 full-time jobs over three years.
To help young people affected by conflict get jobs, build greater capacity and fill workforce gaps, USAID is teaming with leading English language training companies to establish professional IT and English skills development training centers in each of the five districts in the Northern Province. Courses in Business Process Outsourcing and English Language Skills will be offered at no charge to over 3,000 under- and unemployed students who will then participate in on-the-job training programs with private firms. This program will be working with the marginalized population in Jaffna who have, for the last 26 years of conflict, not been exposed to even basic IT technology.
USAID is working with a major garment manufacturer to expand its operations to northern Sri Lanka. This alliance is expected to initially employ 750 full-time staff and market its finished apparel to international clothing firms. Emphasis will be placed on supporting widows, single mothers, and families with disabled members.
“I am confident these new alliances together with the previously established alliances will be significant catalysts to spur development in the North,” says USAID Sri Lanka Mission Director Rebecca Cohn.
Addendum: The USAID-supported project in northern Sri Lanka to provide IT training to under- and unemployed Sri Lankans affected by the country’s long conflict, will not include training in Enterprise Java. USAID’s partner in the project, a Sri Lankan company, initially requested to teach Enterprise Java to students that may qualify. However, after conducting due diligence, the partner found that the training programs must focus on fundamental computer skills, as the majority of prospective trainees lacked even basic experience with computers. Thus, training provided under the USAID-funded project will focus exclusively on building basic IT competencies. The reference to “Enterprise Java” in the Embassy’s press release was inadvertently included as a holdover from initial discussions.