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ActionAid International

OCTOBER 13, 2006
9:09 AM

CONTACT: ActionAid International
Jacobo Quintanilla – Communications Team Leader, ActionAid Sri Lanka – 077 357 6445 Leah Boonthanom – Communications Officer, ActionAid Sri Lanka - 077 363 5836 Dilantha Withanage - Executive Director, Worldview Sri Lanka – 077 321 8650
Ajith Dharmasekara - Communications Officer, Worldview Sri Lanka – 072 431 8545

Sri Lanka to Stand up against Poverty

WASHINGTON - October 13 - Hundreds of Sri Lankans will gather at J.R.Jayawardana Center in Colombo 07 on Monday October 16, 2006 at 2:00pm to STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY as part of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP).

They will join millions of people in more than 100 countries around the world – wearing the trademark white wrist bands – to add their voices to a 24-hour global call to demand that world leaders take action to end poverty and inequality.

Supported by ActionAid and Worldview in Sri Lanka, GCAP is uniting concerned citizens to put pressure on governments and other decision makers to deliver their promises to meet the UN Millennium Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

The STAND UP event will also feature the launch of the MDG4YOUTH website and recommendations for relevant policy and media initiatives.

“Governments and civil society must join hands to make poverty history,” said Bijay Kumar, Country Director of ActionAid Sri Lanka. “Young people are our future. We must make concerted efforts to build their vocational skills, provide them with job opportunities and enable them to contribute to the sustainable development of Sri Lanka.”

“A majority of young people experience feelings of injustice in seeking and gaining employment,” said Dilantha Withanage, Executive Director of Worldview Sri Lanka. “The government must reform labor laws that hinder youth from entering the formal job market. They must strengthen civil service recruitment policies so people are hired based on merit. They must also support the migration of qualified youth to overseas markets while providing incentives to integrate returnees into the local job market.”

Organizers hope that the global event will make it into the Guinness Book of Records as the highest number of people ever recorded to stand up against poverty.

In Sri Lanka these people will include representatives from government, civil society organizations, business chambers, trade unions, student unions and the arts community.

Key speakers will include Mr. P.H.G. Premasisri, Secretary for Ministry of Skills Development and Mr. Deepthi Lamahewa, Chief Executive Officer for Youth Employment Network.

Activities at the STAND UP event on Monday October 16, 2006, at J.R.Jayawardana Center in Colombo 07 are:

2.15 pm: Handing over a “Peoples’ Memorandum on Youth Employment” to the Secretary of Skills Development & Public Enterprise Reforms
2.30 pm: Public launch of “Youth Employment Policy” prepared by Youth Employment Network (YEN) for discussion and debate
2:40 pm: Launch of the MDG4YOUTH website
2.45 pm: Public announcement on “Solving Graduate Unemployment” in Sri Lanka by the Chairman of Tharuna Aruna Institute
3.15 pm: Handing  over of the “People’s Memorandum for Media” to target poverty and youth unemployment Open forum on “Role of Media in Poverty Alleviation”
5 pm: Close


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