11/03/2013 – Vavuniya, Sri Lanka: A new book containing success stories from the Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRCS) Micro Economic Initiative Programme titled “New sunrise & a new beginning” was launched in Vavuniya recently.
The event was graced by the Head of Delegation of the ICRC in Sri Lanka Yves Giovanni along with the Treasurer of the SLRCS Vavuniya Branch K. Thanabalasingham, Deputy Director General of SLRCS Sudath Madugalle, Head of Coorporation of ICRC Janath Hettiarachchi, Protection Delegate of ICRC Laura Vogler, Manager of Economic Security of ICRC Francis Amalraj, SLRCS Programme Officer of the Post Conflict Recovery Programme Nimal Silva, Programme Coordinator of MIE Gerald Jesudasan.
Representing the Government of Sri Lanka the Asst. Director of Planning (Vavuniya South Division) T. Manoharaja, along with Gramaniladhari of Avaranthulawa Nihal Chandrasooriya & the Gramaniladhari of Irrattaperiyakulam Thanuja Devage were also present at the occasion.
The copies of the book was handed over to the distinguished guests at the event.
The Micro Economic Initiatives (MEI) Programme, an initiative of the SLRCS and implemented by the Vavuniya branch aims at improving the living conditions of the victims of the conflict through livelihood interventions.
In addition to enhancing sustainability and impact, MEIs aim to increase the compatibility of the assistance with each beneficiary’s specific needs and abilities, by placing the beneficiary at the heart of the decision-making process. This means both an increased respect for the beneficiary’s dignity and greater ownership of the income-generating project by the beneficiary.
While provide actual rehabilitation to conflict affected victims to regain their traditional livelihood and needs, it follows a very distinctive procedure to identify the most affected families and a closed coordination with the respective government stakeholders.
A thorough assessment called Household Economy Assessment (HEA) also have been conducted to identify the most affected/eligible person, a house to house survey to find out the actual needs, their current income and expenditure status and the level of motivation and skills they posses.
The selected households would benefit from a conditional cash grant* (average value 50,000 LKR but up to 70,000 LKR per household) and/or a vocational training (average value of 10,000 LKR per household). For the conditional cash grant, the amount is provided in two equal installments. For the vocational training, the amount is disbursed in accordance with the trainer and the duration of the training.
Another unique feature of the MEI is that the selected beneficiary will undergo a Business Management Skills Training (BMST) of four days and this is a compulsory step prior to receive the grant and/or the vocational training.
Monitoring of the projects is also one of the key component of the programme with close monitoring of projects for less result oriented projects and broader monitoring process for sustained projects. During this process MEI will provide further advices and support if necessary to the beneficiaries.
In its pilot phase, MEI selected 300 beneficiaries for the programme in two divisional secretariat divisions namely Vavuniya & Vavuniya south in 2011/12. MEI has further plans to include additional caseloads to the current programme and already initial implementations are underway.