The project is being implemented from July to December 2019 in Matara and Trincomalee with the support of NPC’s district partner, Community Development Centre. The objective is to foster social cohesion through empowering youth and creating unity between different generations, religious and ethnic groups in Matara and Trincomalee.
The aim of the stakeholder meeting was to inform relevant officers about the project objective, the selection criteria of youth and implementation modalities of the project.
The discussion with stakeholders focused on issues related to youth within the district, which were identified as, among others, drug abuse, leaving school early on, unemployment, teenage pregnancy, mothers working abroad, lack of vocational training, suicide, misuse of the internet and social media, sexual abuse due to tourism, gambling, parental neglect and political interference in getting jobs.
The stakeholders pointed out that to resolve these problems, decisions makers and community leaders must listen to young people and understand them. Youth should receive facilities and support to develop personality and leadership skills.
One young participant said that there were many organizations conducting languages classes but a Sinhala youth was not able to have a simple conversation with a friend in Tamil because the classes focused on grammar rather then practical work.
Government officers emphasised need for the right policies to address the issues youth faced in their communities.