EU grants Rs. 5.4bn for poverty reduction programmes in Sri Lanka
EU grants Rs. 5.4bn for poverty reduction programmes in Sri Lanka’s Uva and Central Provinces

EU grants Rs. 5.4bn for poverty reduction programmes in Sri Lanka’s Uva and Central Provinces

The European Union (EU) is to give a grant of Rs. 5.4 billion for programmes aimed at poverty reduction in Sri Lanka’s Central and Uva Provinces.
Monies from the grant are to be utilized with the particular aim of improving opportunities for women entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises.
These poverty reduction programmes are expected to be one of the largest programmes of EU development support in Sri Lanka.
The EU mission in Colombo has reportedly said in a statement that the money will help reduce poverty in the provinces by improving the income of poor people living in rural areas and helping to ensure that they have enough food to eat, even in times of hardship.
“This programme has been designed with the needs of the poorest in mind,” Tung-Lai Margue, the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives has said.
“From better water and sanitation to increasing technical knowledge and empowering women, people in these rural areas should see a marked improvement in their lives.”
The EU will partner with both the government of Sri Lanka and a number of civil society organisations in this initiative.
According to reports, the grant, which is a part of the EU’s wider programme of support to rural development in Sri Lanka, will benefit rural communities in the Monaragala, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and Matale Districts.
The programme is expected to be operational for five years, from 2017 to 2022 and is to be implemented by five partner organsiations.
CARE will assist in establishing and strengthening SMEs that are led by women and youth from rural and estate communities.
“In addition, they will aim to increase their participation in decision making around employment creation, business development and economic growth of the rural and estate sectors,” the statement said.
ACTED will aim to create jobs and increase income levels by building capacity and bringing value-addition to local farming SMEs, specifically targeting women-led businesses in dairy, vegetables, floriculture, fruits and spice value chains.
“Additionally, the project will promote a business enabling environment for SMEs, by strengthening local business support services and engaging local governance actors in integrated, climate-resilient and inclusive coordination mechanisms and economic development planning.”
Oxfam’s work will entail improving income and providing work opportunities. In addition, emphasis will be put on integrating women in economic activities.

OSL take:

The allocation of funds amounting to billions of rupees by the EU for poverty reduction programmes in the Central and Uva Provinces would result in the upliftment of the SME sector in these areas. The additional job creations would result in an increase in the economic activities in the districts in these two provinces. Apart from engaging in projects that would come directly up under the EU funding scheme, businesses and investors could also look at the two provinces for infrastructure development as well as other related projects to invest in.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/16112017/Z_4

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