Norwegian Embassy, ILO partner to help economic wellbeing of vulnerable groups with $ 1.9 m project

Monday, 14 November 2022 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Norwegian Embassy Chargé d’affaires Hilde Berg-Hansen and ILO Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Simrin Singh


The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo and the International Labour Organisation have signed a partnership agreement for a new development cooperation project centred on decent employment creation and livelihood generation for the most vulnerable groups in the Northern  Province, including female heads of households, persons with disabilities, and youth.

The project, titled Promoting Advancement of Vulnerable Persons and Enterprises (PAVE), with an investment of $ 1.9 million is built upon key pillars of advancing inclusive growth, private sector investment, entrepreneurship, and digitalisation, through interventions in the agricultural and fisheries value chains.

Building on over a decade of ILO’s work in promoting sustainable, and inclusive growth strategies for conflict affected communities, PAVE will be implemented over the next three years. It aims to establish 100 new enterprises, improve the business practices of 100 existing enterprises, as well as directly contribute to creating and increasing income generation opportunities for 3,000 individuals. Strategic interventions, such as supporting large companies in select value chains to establish processing plants in the targeted areas; supporting the introduction of climate smart agriculture practices; developing capacities of existing and potential micro and small enterprises; strengthening micro and small enterprises’ access to business development services and finance; and advancing digital transformation, will form the core of PAVE’s efforts.

Speaking on the partnership, Norwegian Embassy Chargée d’affaires Hilde Berg-Hansen said that Norway is pleased to continue the longstanding partnership with ILO. “This project is highly relevant to Norway’s regional development priorities, particularly in the areas of promotion of climate smart agriculture among smallholder farmers to address hunger and food security, and promotion of gender equality and sustainable economic growth to create jobs and address poverty.”

She further said: “We strongly believe that supporting SMEs during the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka is crucial to protect vulnerable groups in society. We congratulate ILO, its country team, and the private sector partners for their continuous support to vulnerable communities in the country.”

ILO Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Simrin Singh said: “The ILO greatly appreciates Norway’s partnership and continued commitment to the promotion of decent work and employment opportunities for the most vulnerable women, men and persons with disabilities in the Northern Province, a support which is so very crucial as Sri Lanka faces this unprecedented crisis.”

The PAVE project is one of ILO’s responses in creating decent work opportunities to support inclusive growth and reconciliation in post conflict districts, and is also an overall contribution towards Sri Lanka’s recovery  from the economic and financial crisis.