ILO-ITUC-ICTU Programme for Skills Development and Training in India - Phase II

To help tsunami-affected people rebuild their livelihoods through skills development and vocational training; build the capacity of the implementing partners; and organize the unorganized in the project areas.

The deadly Tsunami has caused havoc on an unprecedented scale in Southern coast of India washed away thousands of lives and livelihoods. The worst affected were the fishing community, people living along the coast and people living else where but dependent on the coastal areas for their livelihoods. Entire government machineries were geared towards the relief work together with international aid agencies, civil society, corporate houses and trade unions.

ILO engaged the participation of trade unions which has been challenging but crucial to ensure sustainability of the project. Trade unions played a vital role in the relief and rehabilitation work. They ensured labour rights issues to be taken into account and the needs of the affected people be met in the ILO-led Tsunami programme. Organizising the Tsunami-affected people is essential in protecting their rights enshrined in the ILO conventions and domestic labour law. As most of the affected people are not yet organized, trade unions can use the post-disaster situation to reach out to the communities with support they need, including livelihood recovery interventions, advocacy and education, rights and economic empowerment.

With this background, the “ILO-ICFTU/APRO - ICTU Project on Skills Development and Vocational Training for the Tsunami-affected People” has been implemented since September 2005 in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts. By the end of September 2007, 1,800 beneficiaries were trained in various skills with the available training providers. With several challenges and lessons learned during the implementation process, the second phase is geared towards addressing the gaps and enhancing the employability of the target beneficiaries, i.e., fisherfolk, women and youth.

The primary objective of this project is to help the Tsunami-affected people in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam Districts rebuild their livelihoods through skills development and vocational training, income generating activities (IGPs) and awareness-raising. The secondary objective of the project is to build on existing strengths of the participating trade unions – Hind Mazdoor Sabha and Indian National Trade Union Congress - by organizing the informal economy workers in the Tsunami-affected communities, through various methods including formation of SHGs, training, advocacy, campaigns and organizing. The project will ensure that knowledge, methods and experiences are shared, leading to more strategies and best practices for trade unions in organizing the unorganized.