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Livelihoods with virtual learning and jobs for widows,women headed families & disabled persons in conflict affected families in Sri Lanka

Provide range of livelihood opportunities with virtual learning & farm jobs for conflict affected families with hopes & sustainable incomes

Photo of Samantha Pathirathna

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

After 30 years of civil conflict in Sri Lanka affected families were replaced and rehabilitated. Among them the most vulnerable are widows and women headed families. Government of Sri Lanka and number of international agencies have provided support with different projects and programmes to develop their livelihoods. But still results and the impact for the most vulnerable families in terms of regular income from their livelihood is not at a satisfactory level as per most of the evaluations and as per the ground realities. This is a serious challenge for government, INGOs, NGOs and Community based organizations and of course those widows, Women Headed Families (WHFs) and disabled person in those conflict affected regions in Sri Lanka. This project will bring an innovation to provide a breakthrough solution for those the most vulnerable and those who failed to establish their livelihoods with all previous attempts. In this regard we will change the landscape of the livelihood support support project modality. We will not ask them to come and waste time for meetings and group activities. In amny cases its not possible or creating more issues. This project will introduce totally virtual livelihood support assistance mechanism including all trainings, follow ups and evaluations will be done using a mobile application installed pre configured tab. We will provide a tab 10 families for sharing and community volunteer with a practically meaningful and totally feasible private sector linked livelihood development option for each family. Instead of traditional trainings we will provide a breakthrough methodology to inspire and identify the level of entrepreneurship of the each family and to select the best livelihood development option led by private sector and through working opportunities at a commercial agriculture and livestock farm. WIth this the most vulnerable and so called "non successful" people will become success stories and develop hopes for their future.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Primary, the most vulnerable and those who have not yet able to establish a livelihood option with sustainable income (widows, women headed families and disabled person) in conflict affected Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts in Sri Lanka. 18 years to 65 years of age range. Secondary, community volunteers will get the opportunity to facilitate the programme using the mobile application embedded tabs as a virtual platform. IN the proposed commercial farm in 15 Ac land in Kilinochchi belongs to Caritas HUDEC Vanni will provide more employment opportunities those who can only work and earn and not own livelihood or economic activity.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Caritas HUDEC Vanni will be the budget holding implementing partner for this project and PASSAsia (applicant) will be the technical capacity building solutions provider including private sector cooperation. Livelihood support mobile applications, volunteer network and the commercial agricultural and livelihood farm are the three main components. This is the first time in the conflict affected areas in Sri Lanka Caritas or any other INGO or NGO is doing this kind of approach. All existing models and approaches demand more and more beneficiary meetings and group works and visits. This will make those almost zero and through the mobile application we connect, train, follow up and even evaluate their progress with close connections including virtual mentoring and coaching. Widows, WHFs and disabled will then get a big relief since they can manage all at their home. Livelihood options also selected together with the private sector and with totally new options. This is a totally new model.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC is the social arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka and is affiliated to Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations present in 200 countries and territories. Caritas HUDEC Vanni is under the Jaffna Diocese in Sri Lanka. PASSAsia is the capacity building partner for this project design and implementation.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

The most vulnerable families have not success though many organizations and government supported for them to develop their livelihood. All are thinking a solutions for that. Most of the recent evaluations also shows that we need breakthrough innovations to improve sustainable income for those most vulnerable. With this situation Caritas HUDEC Rev. Fr. Director and the staff were had many informal and formal discussions with communities and PASSAsia as their Consultant. This is a burning need.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Prosperity of the most vulnerable families in conflict affected areas has been impacted by the availability of sustainable livelihoods and income or sustainable and dignified employments. The most vulnerable families always get blame that unsuccessful on their livelihoods. Though supported they have sold those and again they expect support. They never attend meetings and their interest and commitment is not enough etc. Of course that is why they are the most vulnerable. For this contest only we have to address. With this project prosperity and the dignity of those selected most vulnerable families will be influenced with the establishment of private sector led livelihood and economic development options and opportunities. With the economic and social development of those families will be improved. Those who can not do their own livelihood activities will get jobs at the proposed agricultural and livestock farm belongs to Caritas HUDEC Vanni.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Project administration, financial management and the budget holder ownership is with Caritas HUDEC Vanni under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Director of the HUDEC Vanni. Field level facilitation to be done by group of community volunteers who are working for Caritas. PASSAsia will be the technology and the private sector linking partner throughout the project. Caritas HUDEC Vanni and PASSAsia are collaborating partners for more than 5 years of time. Existing partnership is to build staff capacity, undertake project evaluations, project designing and strategic capacity buildings. In addition all required government stakeholders will be partnered for subject matter services such as District Secretary office, Divisional Secretaries, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Animal Production and Health are some key examples. Further Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC ( will provide required national level support.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

1. The most vulnerable families have the great desire to get involve with jobs or livelihood options 2. Government organizations also will support Caritas HUDEC for this project since this will solve one of the burning issues innovatively 3. Caritas HUDEC has 20 Ac agricultural land in Kilinochchi to develop as a commercial agricultural and livestock farm to provide employments 4. PASSAsia is a proven consulting partner and private sector relationship builder to think kind of projects

Geographic Focus

Conflict affected Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi District in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Total 36 months are required 1. Some of the components are already available such as community volunteers, office facility and government stakeholder relations etc. Proposal agricultural farm also at a very small scale. Therefore within 18 months all initial setup including commercial farm, virtual learning platform as a mobile application and the connecting with private sector led most suitable livelihoods to be completed 2. Within balance 18 months the project will produce expected results

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Team (4)

Samantha's profile
Rev. Fr. Joseph's profile
Rev. Fr. Joseph Francis

Role added on team:

"Director of Caritas HUDEC Vanni office and the Rev. Fr. Joseph Francis is the project budget holder of the implementation partner of this project. He has made his commitment and eager to implement this project."

Nantheni's profile
Nantheni Ravindran

Role added on team:

"She is a well experienced social worker with over 10 years experience to support widows, women headed families and disabled person in conflict affected Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts of Sri Lanka"

Maria's profile
Maria Vincentine

Role added on team:

"Programme Manager of Caritas HUDEC Vanni. He will be the Programme Manager for this project."

Attachments (1)

Caritas HUDEC - PASSAsia Idea Concept.pdf

This paper visualize how we are going to bridge peace and prosperity to the most vulnerable conflict affected families in Sri Lanka


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ozuluonye Shedrack

Hello Samantha,

Your idea sounds great and It became more interesting when you mentioned translating information to local language for easy understanding. Although I am still curious to see  responses from users  on willingness to use the proposed app  with a guide from volunteering team. I have an experience where an app that was designed to share market and financial information to small holders farmers and at the end the users were not able to use them independently even after a guide by filed coordinators who where trained. To me it was a thing of habit and culture of local community members. Did their responses eliminate the above limitation?

Photo of Samantha Pathirathna

Hi Dear Ozuluonye Shedrack,
Thank you so much for raising this very important and practical question. You are correct this might be one of the risk for mobile application projects. In several ways we have eliminated this risk with proven results and proposed different strategy. I will explain one by one. 1. Community in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka is heavily use mobile phone and applications since they are maintaining regular communications with their relatives in abroad. They have the passion. 2. When we assess the need they were really happy to adopt such new strategies since that is one of their burning needs to save time and manage difficulties by getting training and connecting with stakeholders using such a mechanism. 3. Since the application will provide much more useful things it will be a day to day requirement for them. 4. Caritas community volunteers are not paid project staff but who work with a allowance and they are with the community for more years. 5. That is why we have allocated one community volunteer for 10 families to familiarise the use of the applications and make sure other one to one counselling in this process. 6. In this concept we have not decided to keep the mobile application as the only and main tool. But that is also a tool and flexibility is there to manage with adjustments. 7. In our pilot test with some of the community members it was noted as a good and sound solution. 8. We can one by one develop adding to the application. So in future this will be a great support for their day to day livelihood needs. I am sure that you will agree with me and I really would like to hear from you any other questions. With such questions we will be able to further refine our strategy and the technology. All the Best and appreciate your support. Samantha and Caritas HUDEC team.

Photo of Ozuluonye Shedrack

Hello Samantha Pathirathna,

Thanks a lot for taking the time to address the question constructively: With the BELOW  point you mentioned it will be a successful one (on the subject matter)..

( 4. Caritas community volunteers are not paid project staff but who work with a allowance and they are with the community for more years. 5. That is why we have allocated one community volunteer for 10 families to familiarise the use of the applications and make sure other one to one counselling in this process. 6. In this concept we have not decided to keep the mobile application as the only and main tool. But that is also a tool and flexibility is there to manage with adjustments).

Best Regards,
Ozuluonye shedrack


Photo of Samantha Pathirathna

Thank you so much Ozuluonye shedrack for your sharing and insights. Let us work together to innovate solutions to support this community. Please keep in touch for the future challenges. Best Regards Samantha

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