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

Having had its beginnings as a weaving mill in the 1960s and then destroyed in 2010 following the civil war, Ceylon Spinning & Textile Mills was reactivated as a functional mill through the valuable contributions by diaspora members from the village of Udupiddy in the Jaffna district. It is now a garment factory that caters to the local community’s needs.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Design and implement appropriate production management system to allow the company to grow in a sustainable and profitable manner.
  • Provide strong leadership, management and training to the Production team members. Constantly evaluate and when necessary, re-align team to ensure that the team workload is balanced and is working at a high-capacity.
  • Work with senior executives to build metrics and key performance indicators to monitor improvement across all operational areas.
  • Identify improvement opportunities in the production process. Collaborate with Tech, Buying, Design, and Pre-Production teams to ensure that processes are in line with cross-functional teamwork flows & company initiatives.
  • Work closely with senior executives to execute strategic sourcing strategies. Ensure that sourcing strategy is in line with company’s manufacturing needs and product initiatives.
  • Identify and train a fitting management team to be responsible for the maintenance of set standards of operations at the plant.
  • Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.

Qualifications

  • Completed undergraduate degree or diploma, and experience in Business Studies, Economics, Marketing, Management, or related disciplines.
  • Experience supervising in a production environment.
  • Familiar analyzing budgetary limitations and time constraints to achieve production success
  • Able to establish and monitor product standards to ensure finished products meet quality requirements
  • Excellent presentation, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Interpersonal skills, including open and honest communication, negotiation, and collaboration.
  • Full fluency in English and 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 recently completed graduate degree or postgraduate diploma in  Business Studies, Economics, Marketing, Management, or related disciplines.
  • Experience in production environment within the garment industry.
  • Experience in production management consulting.
  • 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 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 aged 65 and older.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, vulnerable sector check, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations).