Canadian Volunteer Cooperation Program recommences activities in Sri Lanka

Colombo, August 26, 2015 – The High Commission of Canada is pleased to announce the return of the UNITERRA volunteer cooperation program in Sri Lanka implemented by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI). The five year program will support the development of inclusive market opportunities for the tea, garment, and tourism and hospitality sectors through the exchange of skilled volunteers.  The UNITERRA program, which was in operation in Sri Lanka for five years prior to its interruption in 2009, will bring together, once again, Sri Lankans and Canadians for enhanced technical cooperation while fostering lasting friendships and interactions between the various communities.

The High Commissioner of Canada, Her Excellency Shelley Whiting, met with the first batch of Canadian and Sri Lankan volunteers on August 6th, stating “I am delighted at the recommencement of the UNITERRA exchange program, which builds on decades of volunteer exchanges between Canada and Sri Lanka. This program will further the close relations between our two countries while contributing to sustainable economic growth in high-demand sectors in Sri Lanka”.  

Under this program, UNITERRA volunteers will build capacity and facilitate linkages between sectors and supporting contributors, such as Chambers of Commerce and vocational training institutes, to better respond to the employment needs of women and youth across the island. The volunteers will identify the key needs of each sector and develop exchanges to share skills, with the purpose of improving the employability of women and youth.  The tea, garment, and tourism and hospitality sectors, are the focus for the program as these industries are in high demand, offer long term opportunities and have high income earning potential for women and youth. Another central feature of the program will be to promote quality and dignity of employment.      

UNITERRA is a global volunteer program spanning 14 countries and is focused on improving socio-economic conditions by strengthening networks and organizations and pooling expertise and knowledge. It is funded by the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), and jointly implemented by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI).

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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Indirani Jayawardena
Political Officer
High Commission of Canada
33A, 5th Lane, Colombo 3
Tel: 522 6232  Ext: 3352
E-mail: indirani.jayawardena@international.gc.ca