30 May 2013

Sri Lankan Non Profit among winners in South Asian ‘Youth Solutions’ Award

Four innovative Youth Solutions were chosen for grants between US$15,000 and $20,000 to carry out a youth-led project by World Bank, Microsoft Sri Lanka. 

‘Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment’ competition was held at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo on 21 Tuesday. 8 Youth-led NGOs from Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka participated in the competition where each NGO was given 15m to present their solution.  Shilpa Sayura Foundation from Sri Lanka, YPSA from Bangladesh, YUWA from Nepal, Live & Learn Environmental Education from the Maldives come out as winners with their creative ideas to use of Information technology  develop essinatial skills amongst youth to secure gainful employment.

Members of the Shilpa Sayura Foundation from Sri Lanka–Mithun Kumarasinghe, Poornima Meegammana, Wajira Madhushaka, Niranjan Meegammana. The Eight NGOs were short listed from, 80 project proposals recived in peliminary round included  two from each country.  Each winning project aims 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 digital short 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.  Poornima meegammana, Youth Team Leader who accepted the award for Shilpa Sayura Foundation said "This grant shall help us train a film crew for creating social media for social change, at the same time developing a good portfolio for employment prospectus". The youth group has been trained in digital media through Adobe Youth Voices program in Sri Lanka implemented by Shilpa Sayura. 

References : Sunday Times

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