UKTSU members spent two full days in Kilinochchi to carry out a workshop for 25-30 widowed women from the Rural Women’s Forum (RWF), who were largely affected during the final battle in Kilinochchi during 2009. Most of the people living in this district were farmers. Their living depended fully on farming hence the aftermath of the war left them with very little to re-establish their livelihoods. They required capital for buying crops, essential equipment and products. Many people started up new businesses using micro-financing schemes conducted by other aid organisations.
Our workshop focused on encouraging the participants to think of ways to make their respective businesses sustainable; be it poultry, sewing, cattle or convenience stores. The participating women were co-operative and enjoyed involving themselves in the various group activities such as role plays, games, and written tasks. With our encouragement, they also built their confidence and came forward to speak out their thoughts including problems and solutions associated with their businesses.

Weaknesses of workshop participants:

  • Lack of confidence in public speaking
  • Assuming age is a restriction
  • Illiteracy
  • Understanding basic business knowledge

UKTSU members carried out some activities to help overcome these issues:

  • Individuals were asked to stand amongst their peers and talk about themselves and their business
  • In groups, they were asked to come up with plans to advertise a product in new and exciting ways, which made them think outside the box
  • Those who could write helped those who couldn’t write, which made them realise that illiteracy doesn’t necessarily have to be a barrier
  • Role plays were performed in groups – emphasising on customer service. This was performed to highlight all the things that could be done wrong in terms of service in a particular field and the members had to point out the faults. This activity allowed us to assess their observational skills and also to encourage them to put forward possible solutions to overcome such scenarios
  • The participants also shared with the others various information on business tactics necessary for becoming successful entrepreneurs

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