The Office of the Finland Roving Ambassador to Sri Lanka signed an agreement recently to continue funding World Vision Lanka’s Local Ecosystem Development for Sustainable Tourism Project in Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka.
The project was first launched in Koralaipattu, Batticaloa in 2014. Its main aims were to empower women and increase their chance for employment and entrepreneurship at grassroots levels. Identifying the greater need to geographically extend the project and to promote rural producer groups Phase II will include areas such as Vaharai, Kiran, Eravurpattu and Vellavali in the Batticaloa District in its second phase of the project. The batch of trained entrepreneurs numbering around 70 will be increased to nearly 200 in phase two.
While improving the livelihoods of these local communities in the relevant project areas, strengthening and diversifying income generating activities through tourism is a key goal. Thus, the project focuses on strengthening women’s handicraft production groups in the Batticaloa district. It supports them through business training, finding market linkages, as well as facilitating access to finance. The trainings included handicraft production methods using natural resources such as coconut shells, sea shells, natural beads and palmyra.
The project was funded by the Office of the Finland Roving Ambassador to Sri Lanka with Euro 70,000 for the phase 1 from October 2014 to February 2016. The current funding is Euro 50,000, for February 2016 to April 2017.
“With the tourism industry picking up in the East, we are happy with the progress and hope to see these handicrafts reaching greater markets, in turn resulting in economic development of these families,” said World Vision Sri Lanka National Director Jonathan Johnson.
The agreement for the second phase of the project was signed by Roving ambassador for Sri Lanka (based in Helsink) Rauli Suikkanen and World Vision Lanka National Director Jonathan Johnson recently.