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Understanding Women’s Livelihood Outcomes and Economic Empowerment in the Eastern Province of Sri La

Since the end of the war in 2009, the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka has benefited from state and non-state investments in large-scale infrastructure, resettlement, and reconstruction. However, ten years on, the province continues to have significant populations in poverty. Unemployment figures are also high with the figure for women being three times that of men. These poverty and unemployment figures persist despite the government and donor-assisted programmes that aim to rebuild livelihoods through investments in improving connectivity, developing the tourist industry, and expanding access to credit in the years following the war. Using qualitative methods, this study explores how these interventions have impacted on womens livelihoods in two districts, Batticaloa and Trincomalee, and the barriers they have faced in accessing and engaging in employment and livelihood activities. The study concludes that women continue to encounter challenges and restrictions in accessing employment and livelihood opportunities; where they do, they are often in conditions of informality and in work that lacks recognition and dignity.

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