Norwegian Embassy And ILO  To Improve The Economic Wellbeing Of Vulnerable Groups

Shakila Ifham

November 10, 2022


The new project, with an investment of nealy USD 1.9 million, will prioritize decent work opportunities for the most vulnerable and marginalized women and men. It will primarily focus on supporting value chains in the agriculture and fisheries sector towards achieving a growing and inclusive economy in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.

The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo and the International Labour Organization signed a partnership agreement today for a new development cooperation project centered 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), is built upon key pillars of advancing inclusive growth, private sector investment, entrepreneurship, and digitalization, 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, Ms. Hilde Berg-Hansen, Chargée d’affaires a.i., of the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo, stated 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.”

“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,” said Simrin Singh, ILO Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
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.