The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia A. Butenis inaugurated an apparel factory in Thirukkovil, Ampara on Monday, set up under the Eastern Garment Alliance, a public-private alliance between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Daya Apparel Pvt Ltd.
Two other factories have already opened under this alliance over the past year, in Ninthavur and Maha Oya. The three factories have helped over 1,000 men and women from different ethnic backgrounds build skills and secure employment in conflict-affected Ampara. In addition to direct employment, the alliance has opened up secondary jobs, especially in construction.
“I am delighted to be in the East to see the progress of the region and its people. Since my first visit to the East, almost three years ago, what I see today is immense progress - increased economic growth, improved living conditions, and enhanced skills in a region affected by nearly 30 years of conflict,” said Ambassador Butenis in her final trip to the province.
USAID’s Public Private Alliances initiative began in 2008, aiming to boost economic growth in conflict-affected regions. It has helped thousands get back on their feet and, equally important, created a platform where people of different ethnicities learn cooperation on the job.
USAID currently supports seven alliances with Sri Lankan companies in the aquaculture, horticulture, logistics and apparel sectors. In addition to the nearly $11 million USAID has provided, the alliances have leveraged approximately $26 million from its private partners.