Sri Lankan group among winners in South Asian competition on ‘Youth Solutions’
Innovative Youth Solutions were selected winners at the Regional Grant Competition, jointly organized by The World Bank, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Sarvodaya Fusion!
The competition titled ‘Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment’ was held at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo on Tuesday, with youth-led NGOs from Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka participating.
Shilpa Sayura Foundation from Sri Lanka, YPSA from Bangladesh, YUWA from Nepal, Live & Learn Environmental Education from the Maldives were the winners of the competition that sought ideas from youth on how to use innovative and creative methods to promote Information Technology (IT) skills amongst youth, helping them to secure gainful employment.
Seen here are members of the Shilpa Sayura Foundation from Sri Lanka–Mithun Kumarasinghe, Poornima Meegammana, Niranjan Meegammana (extreme right), Wajira Madhushka.
Eight NGOs, two from each country, presented their shortlisted projects with the aim of being selected for the grant programme. A total of 80 project proposals were submitted, all based on using ICT to address present day challenges faced by youth, such as lack of skills development and unemployment, the organizers said in a media release.
Each winning project received a grant of between US$15,000 and $20,000 to carry out a youth-led project for one year in duration, with the possibility of being scaled up via other public or private sector initiatives.
The panel of judges comprised Gabriela Aguilar, Senior Communications Officer for World Bank, South Asia; Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka; Anurag Kak, Managing Director, Lafarge Mahaweli Cement (Pvt) Ltd; Ms Moji Akingbade, General Manager of Avery Dennison Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Gaurav Mishra, Asia Vice President of Insights, Innovation & Social at MSLGROUP.
The project proposal submitted by Sri Lanka’s Shilpa Sayura Foundation, an organization aimed at empowering youth through ICT skills was to empower youth to produce 10 high impact films on current social issues. The project titled “Digital Rainbow” will train at least 100 youth to become film makers, a still developing industry in the country, which will offer great potential for interested youth.
According to the World Bank, South Asia created nearly 800,000 jobs per month between 2000 and 2010. However, despite growth, the region is still home to the largest number of the world’s poor – half a billion people. Since labour is the primary asset of the poor, having more and better jobs is the key employment challenge facing the region.
Janakie Karunarathne, Manager, Community Affairs of Microsoft Sri Lanka, said that Microsoft is proud to have collaborated with the World Bank in this effort to capture the youthful enthusiasm and innovative aspirations of four countries. “The youth NGOs chosen today from each respective country would work towards alleviating the challenges, such as lack of skills and unemployment in their individual countries through the use of Information and Communication Technology,” she added.