Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
Ex-combatants following the civil conflict
Following the end of the war in 2009, there was an urgent need to address the adversities faced by ex-combatants in reintegrating to civil society and to uplift their socio-economic conditions. Reintegration of ex-combatants is a complex challenge as they were significantly affected by the 30-year long conflict, and many of them had never really experienced a normal pre-war life. Ex-combatants were deprived of formal education, employment and vocational training during the conflict and faced challenges with finding employment. Women ex-combatants, in particular, face stigma due to their involvement in the war and are worried about returning to their communities. Many former combatants experience psychological trauma and find it difficult to adjust to civilian life. There is also the issue of the resistance from the local community against the return of ex-combatants and a reluctance to integrate these individuals into community life.
Reintegrating ex-combatants into society is key to ensure that such individuals do not backtrack into anti-social activities, which would be detrimental to the peace-building process in the country. Therefore, targeted interventions are key to supporting ex-combatants to reintegrate into society, develop sustainable livelihoods and contribute overall to peace-building and reconciliation efforts in the island.
Rehabilitation and reintegration programmes: successes and gaps
The Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation was established in 2010 to lead the Government’s rehabilitation efforts for ex-combatants in collaboration with relevant government institutions. Reintegration programmes were designed to address the multiple issues faced by ex-combatants including a range of interventions such as vocational and livelihood support; educational programmes; social, community and family rehabilitation; psychological therapies and cultural programmes. Several programmes were implemented under the Government Agent / District Secretariat and they have allocated staff to work in this field.
Official statistics indicate that 12,186 beneficiaries had been reintegrated into society to date(1). There are also a number of undocumented ex-combatants who have not been officially rehabilitated. Vocational skills training (such as in agriculture, construction, food processing, carpentry, beauty culture – especially for women etc.) were a key part of rehabilitation programmes as beneficiaries expressed a strong desire for vocational training.
However, rehabilitated and reintegrated ex-combatants face continuing challenges with accessing livelihood opportunities and community acceptance.
In Northern Sri Lanka, employment opportunities are scarce especially in remote interior villages, and income and livelihood levels remain low. Lack of specialized vocational skills, business skills training and enduring stigma against ex-combatants make it even more difficult for those trying to restart civilian life and build community ties. Government statistics highlight that 16 percent (1,340 out of 8,224) of the rehabilitation beneficiaries that have been recorded are unemployed (2). The national unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, but it is much higher in the Northern districts of Jaffna (7.0%) and Kilinochchi (6.3%) (3)
Although previous programmes have provided skills to ex-combatants, a large majority of them remain idle. The proposed programme aims to support such individuals to utilize their vocational skills by addressing gaps in previous livelihood assistance programmes and providing specialized technical assistance; support in business planning, marketing and management and provision of productive inputs and infrastructure as required.
Addressing unemployment concerns of ex-combatants by facilitating opportunities to join the labour force is critical to the success of any rehabilitation programme. Economic security and increased social interactions will in turn help beneficiaries re-integrate to society. The communities too will be more likely to accept former combatants that are contributing to society, thereby promoting greater social cohesion.
Finally, although Government staff support rehabilitation initiatives, more work needs to be done to increase the capacity of Government officials working on re-integration programmes. Capacity building to enhance the skills of government staff working on rehabilitation and livelihood support programmes for ex-combatants will help ensure a long-term and comprehensive reintegration policy.
Rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants through this second level of livelihood support, complemented by capacity building programmes targeted at Government staff inform this project’s strategy to strengthen peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in the country.
Project Design and Strategy
Against the above-mentioned backdrop and considering UNDP’s experience in livelihood assistance, entrepreneurship development and reconciliation in the war affected areas, this sub-project proposes two key components:
Enhance the abilities of National, Provincial and District Officials to work on reconciliation and livelihood support programmes for rehabilitated and reintegrated ex-combatants;
Create sustainable livelihood opportunities for rehabilitated and reintegrated ex-combatants.
Therefore, a few areas of intervention are proposed, with the aim of benefitting an estimated 120 ex-combatants/families as direct beneficiaries.
Furthermore, understanding the sensitivity of mobilizing ex-combatants and obtaining data on ex-combatants and related support services; the proposed project and activities will be implemented by entering in to an Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the Ministry of Resettlement (MoR) and monitored by Government Technical Departments and UNDP field officials. The project will be implemented by working directly with GAs of respective districts and enterprise development support will be modeled on UNDP’s YED model.
Scope and Objectives
UNDP intends to recruit a National Consultant to provide Business development services ( BDS) in the area of technical, planning and implementation support to livelihood development. In addition, the consultant will liaise between the UNDP, government officials and the participants of the programme, to ensure effective coordination, progress monitoring and reporting. Given the fluid operational context, the scope, management and reporting arrangements as well as deliverables of this contract may change based on the context and the requirements to complete the project objectives as identified by UNDP’s Policy and design Specialist. Any such proposed changes will be discussed in advance with the Consultant and communicated in writing, thereafter.
Duties and Responsibilities
The consultant’s responsibilities include:
Expected Outputs/Key deliverables:
Required Skills and Experience
Qualifications & Experience:
Language: Good oral and written communication skills in English as well as Tamil is required. Being trilingual would be an added advantage