There is growing interest amongst Canadians, and especially members of the Canadian Tamil diaspora, in contributing their time and professional expertise in a meaningful manner to develop and empower vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local community-based organizations in Sri Lanka.

comdu.it is a growing global network of diaspora changemakers interested in sustainable development of vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Its mission is to help shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from remittance to knowledge-based economy. It currently operates in Canada and Germany.

The Associateship program stream provides new and young professionals with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will pre-plan a project prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, do a high-intensity implementation over a specified period of time on the ground in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and continue evaluation upon their return to Canada.

Partner Description

The Mannar District Chamber of Commerce for Industry and Agriculture (MDCCIA) is a non-profit organization which has been providing its services to business entrepreneurs, especially innovative young women entrepreneurs and women-managed enterprises. It provides advice, guidance and training for the business community and the general public to strengthen their business and social activities and create an atmosphere for peaceful co-existence linked with sustainable growth through implementation of value added service. MDCCIA provides advice and guidance for small-to-medium enterprises in business development, disseminates and collects information, makes recommendations to lending organizations and financial institutions, arranges visits for national and international delegates, and facilitates trade fairs, training and capacity building programs.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Help develop business/operational plans to start up or improve ethical tourism business – including for small hoteliers, women-managed homestead tourism projects, boat rider club, safari service providers, handicraft artists, and traditional food makers.
  • Help develop communication and marketing materials for Mannar district tourism development including digital marketing tools.
  • Conduct capacity building trainings/awareness programmes subject to homestead tourism, ecotourism, community tourism, etc.
  • Support MDCCIA to develop a sustainable information hub for Mannar tourism development to provide quality service for tourism stakeholders.
  • Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.

Qualifications

  • Completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Business Administration, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Commerce, Economics, Finance, or related disciplines.
  • Minimum 5 years of senior level business management experience which could include private industry, trade associations, and not-for-profit or public sector organizations.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and execute strategic business or political strategies and manage the tactical execution to achieve results.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain a credible reputation and high profile presence in the community on behalf of an organization.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and spoken, with the ability to present to large and small groups of people.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • Strong personal initiative, resourcefulness and capacity to be self-motivated and also work as part of a team.  
  • Must be driven to improve the lives of marginalized people, and work with them to do so, in a way that is led by them, for them, and is sustainable and achieves their objectives.
  • Must be committed to equality, and by extension, open to learning about resilience, diversity and solidarity from the vulnerable communities they are working with.  
  • Must be able to lead by example by being open minded, humble and embrace opportunities to grow personally.

Preferred but not mandatory qualifications:

  • Currently in or completed graduate degree or post-graduate diploma in Business Administration, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Commerce, Economics, Finance, or related disciplines.
  • Certification in Economic Development.
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodation).
  • Guidance with booking flights, obtaining visa, accommodations, etc.
  • Participation in pre-departure training where you will have the opportunity to learn about comdu.it’s work, gain practical skills for living and working in a lower middle-income country, and meet other volunteers.
  • In-country orientation upon arrival.
  • Potential tour and briefing of the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Support and guidance prior to departure and while on assignment in Sri Lanka.
  • Return debriefing in Canada after completion of assignment.
  • The opportunity of a lifetime to provide meaningful assistance to war-impacted communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or Germany between the ages of 25 – 40 or retired professionals 65 years and older.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, vulnerable sector checks, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations).