Good Practice

Local Empowerment through Economic Development (LEED) - Final Evaluation

Project documentation | 24 October 2017
Contact(s): CO-Colombo
Good Practice Description

The project adapted to the rapidly changing situation following post-humanitarian response by the national and international communities. It quickly recognized that ILO had to respond effectively and offer sustainable livelihood options. ILO had a comparative advantage in engaging with tripartite constituents and the stakeholders accepted it as an honest broker in helping relevant stakeholders to come together in addressing dire needs faced by local communities. The value-chain development approach proved effective over time and the project overcame the skepticism about the new initiative such as papaya cultivation for the export market. ILO implemented the project soon after the nearly 30 years of conflict had ended and humanitarian support to local communities started phasing out leaving a vacuum to support sustainable livelihood for conflict-affected population, including women, widows, persons with different ability and vulnerable poor without hardly any means for livelihood options. Traditional structured project design approach with adequate lead-time for preparation becomes less relevant unless the project design adapts to the on the ground reality.

Capacity development intervention is effective if accompanied by market-based economic development interventions. Economic development interventions need to have reasonable viability model based on the market response so that perceived risks with undertaking new enterprises managed and where possible minimized. The introduction of papaya for commercial farming in Vavuniya North materialized because of technical support from the Provincial Department of Agriculture. Likewise, organizational strengthening of the cooperative societies was possible because of their involvement in income generating activities, papaya, and fisheries in particular.

The project provided employment and income generating opportunities for the victims of conflict who ended up being with different abilities than normal people. Timely project response boosted their morale and self-confidence in undertaking income-generating activities through MSMEs or direct employment. With the support of the project, a group of persons with different abilities came together to form a group and commenced income-generating activities. In addition, a social enterprise has been engaging about 25 women of which several are widows from conflict era and persons with different abilities. The Taprobane Seafood processing facility also employs a number of differently baled women.