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Sri Lanka targets Covid-19 support as 67-pct of tourism job losses fall on women

ECONOMYNEXT – United National Development Program, Sri Lanka Tourism and Citi group has started a livelihood support scheme as initial information suggested women accounted for 67 percent of the jobs
lost in the leisure sector due to Coronavirus.

“Building resilient social protection systems that help informal sector workers to withstand shocks are a critical element of COVID-19 responses,” Robert Juhkam, Resident Representative of UNDP in Sri Lanka said in a statement.

“Supporting female workers affected by the crisis is a key component to ensuring that no one is left behind in Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic recovery efforts. This is both direct relief and recovery, and the initiative will test new approaches to inform future social protection policy thinking.”

A rapid assessment jointly undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) had found that 67 percent among those who lost their jobs were female workers.

Sri Lanka’s government had given several relief measures but women make up a large number of unregistered informal service providers.

“…[I]informality translates into low wages, precarious working conditions and the absence of social protection,” the UNPD said.

“Coupled with an increase in unpaid work and care burdens during the pandemic, female workers have faced barriers to accessing these services.”

The relief program will provide up to 50,000 rupees of assistance to some of the most badly affected.

“Theprogramme will directly support 900 women selected from all 9 Provinces in Sri Lanka,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said.

“Project initiatives will benefit at least 3,500 men and women indirectly throughout the country.This will be a grant and it will be a relief to the affected parties.”

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Tourism Authorities in Provincial Councils have been asked to identify women engaged in the tourism sector and women who have already registered with the SLTDA who will also be considered. Selections will be made by a panel. (Colombo/Oct09/2020)