Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Citi, UNDP and SLTDA fo­cus on sup­port­ing women in tourism in­dus­try

- Women's Rights · Society · Human Rights · Citigroup · Sri Lanka · United Nations · Government of Sri Lanka

Tar­get women who are un­able to ac­cess ex­ist­ing liveli­hood sup­port ser­vices to re­vive busi­nesses Pro­gramme will di­rectly sup­port 900 women se­lected from all nine prov­inces Se­lec­tion of ben­e­fi­cia­ries done by a panel through a trans­par­ent process

With the out­break of COVID-19, Sri Lanka’s tourism in­dus­try was one of the worst af­fected.

A rapid as­sess­ment jointly un­der­taken by the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) and the Sri Lanka Tourism De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (SLTDA) found that women were dis­pro­por­tion­ately im­pacted dur­ing this pe­riod as 67 per­cent among those who lost their jobs were fe­male work­ers.

As such, UNDP and SLTDA, with fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from Citi, are de­vel­op­ing a liveli­hood sup­port mech­a­nism for fe­male en­trepreneur­s, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on women who are un­able to ac­cess ex­ist­ing liveli­hood sup­port ser­vices to re­vive their busi­nesses. The Gov­ern­ment of Sri Lanka has made sig­nif­i­cant progress in ini­ti­at­ing early re­lief mea­sures to busi­nesses, how­ever, as women make up a ma­jor­ity of the seg­ment of un­reg­is­tered (in­for­mal) ser­vice providers in Sri Lanka, this has posed a par­tic­u­lar set of prob­lems as in­for­mal­ity trans­lates into low wages, pre­car­i­ous work­ing con­di­tions and the ab­sence of so­cial pro­tec­tion. Cou­pled with an in­crease in un­paid work and care bur­dens dur­ing the pan­demic, fe­male work­ers have faced bar­ri­ers to ac­cess­ing these ser­vices.

Speak­ing about the is­sue, Robert Juhkam, Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of UNDP in Sri Lanka said, “Build­ing re­silient so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tems that help in­for­mal sec­tor work­ers to with­stand shocks are a crit­i­cal el­e­ment of COVID-19 re­sponses. Sup­port­ing fe­male work­ers af­fected by the cri­sis is a key com­po­nent to en­sur­ing that no one is left be­hind in Sri Lanka’s so­cioe­co­nomic re­cov­ery ef­forts. This is both di­rect re­lief and re­cov­ery, and the ini­tia­tive will test new ap­proaches to in­form fu­ture so­cial pro­tec­tion pol­icy think­ing”.

Ki­marli Fer­nando, Chair­per­son of SLTDA high­lighted, “The pro­gramme will di­rectly sup­port 900 women se­lected from all 9 Prov­inces in Sri Lanka. Project ini­tia­tives will ben­e­fit at least 3,500 men and women in­di­rectly through­out the coun­try. This will be a grant and it will be a re­lief to the af­fected par­ties.

“Tourism Au­thor­i­ties in Pro­vin­cial Coun­cils have been asked to iden­tify women en­gaged in the tourism sec­tor and women who have al­ready reg­is­tered with the SLTDA who will also be con­sid­ered for the se­lec­tion. Se­lec­tion of ben­e­fi­cia­ries will be done by a panel and it will be a trans­par­ent process. Each se­lected ben­e­fi­ciary will get around Rs.50,000 worth of as­sis­tance.”

“The se­lected women will re­ceive business de­vel­op­ment ser­vices to en­hance their skills for al­ter­na­tive liveli­hood de­vel­op­ment. A sys­tem will be es­tab­lished to fol­low up with grant re­cip­i­ents to sup­port them to uti­lize the grant for de­vel­op­ing a com­pli­men­tary liveli­hood with the sup­port of pro­vin­cial tourism au­thor­i­ties. Ex­ist­ing and po­ten­tial fe­male en­trepreneur­s will be fur­ther sup­ported to ob­tain business reg­is­tra­tion with SLTDA, en­abling them ac­cess to liveli­hood sup­port from the Gov­ern­ment in the fu­ture,” Fer­nando added.

Ravin Bas­nayake, Citi Coun­try Of­fi­cer in Sri Lanka shared, “Citi once again pledges its un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to serve the lo­cal com­mu­nity, on na­tional level ef­forts to fight against the pan­demic. We are proud of our part­ner­ship with UNDP and SLTDA on this timely ini­tia­tive that also demon­strates our shared com­mit­ment to women’s eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment. We will con­tinue to demon­strate Citi’s val­ues through our phil­an­thropic ef­forts to make a dif­fer­ence to those in need.”

The project will en­gage pro­vin­cial coun­cils to iden­tify the women en­trepreneur­s in or­der to sus­tain the ef­forts of the ini­tia­tive. The pro­gramme is in-line with the UN frame­work for the im­me­di­ate so­cioe­co­nomic re­sponse to COVID-19 that calls on coun­tries to build for­ward bet­ter.

 ??  ?? Ki­marli Fer­nando
Ki­marli Fer­nando
 ??  ?? Ravin Bas­nayake
Ravin Bas­nayake
 ??  ?? Robert Juhkam
Robert Juhkam

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Sri Lanka