Ms. R. Satkuneswary from Mullaitivu and Ms. Murugamoorthy Calista Rosemary from Jaffna like many several hundred women in the North were involved in small home based businesses such as pig rearing and snack production respectively, prior to the escalation of the conflict. The additional income earned by these women helped them to supplement the household income and provide essentially for their children’s education expenses. Displacement and loss of their belongings resulting from the war did not deter these women who began their businesses again on a much smaller scale though with borrowed capital. Both these beneficiaries came to know of the opportunities of UNDP’s Youth Enterprise Development (YED) Programme under the Norwegian funded Northern Livelihood Development Project II carried out by the respective Divisional Secretariat offices. They took the initiative to send in their applications and thereafter underwent a series of stages in the selection process before being finally chosen as two individuals eligible to receive assistance through the YED initiative.
As successful applicants they participated in a five day workshop where business models were introduced to them and the concept of business development plans were taught. Expert advice and assistance was provided for each of the participants by the service providers (SP) to develop their individual business plans complete with marketing plans and cost estimates for business start-up and/or expansion. Joint assessments through field visits were made by UNDP field staff, the SP and the DS office to each of the identified beneficiaries’ business locations. A banker’s forum was then organized where beneficiaries’ were given the opportunity to present their business plans and market their ideas in order to secure bank loans. Ms. R. Satkuneswary was able to secure a loan of Rs. 250,000 with minimum interest from Bank of Ceylon as well as the matching grant of Rs. 300,000 from UNDP to construct a bigger and more hygienic pig farming area as per Public Health Inspector (PHI) recommendations. Once all construction work is completed, Ms. Satkuneswary will shift her livestock to the new facility and expand her business.
Ms. Calista secured a loan of Rs. 250,000 from the Rural Development Bank without interest, as well as the UNDP matching grant of Rs. 160,000. As per the recommendations of the PHI, she was also to procure some machinery and build a large scale production and cooking area to expand her product portfolio to ‘mixture’, pakoda, bites, manioc chips, Vadakam/neem based products. With this expansion and the support of her husband, Ms. Calista now has a high demand for her products and her products are being bought by almost all of the small boutiques in the Tellipallai area. This now allows her to sustain her livelihood and educate her 5 children.
(Source: UNDP, 2017)