Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have joined hands to extend the benefits of skill development to tribal youths living in the backward districts of Odisha. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in New Delhi on March 30, 2017 to establish a Centre for Excellence to demonstrate technology-enabled blended skill training model for tribal youth. The Centre of Excellence, housed in KISS, will support Implementation Labs located in tribal dominated districts like Sundargarh and Koraput.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Shri Jual Oram, Hon’ble Union Minister for Tribal Affairs; Shri J. S. Bhabhor, Hon’ble Union Minister of State; Mr. Ram Singh, Lok Sabha MP from Gujarat, Mr. Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in India; Shri Dambaru Sisa, Hon’ble Member of Odisha Legislative Assembly; and Prof. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS.

Even as skill development has emerged as an important priority in sustaining Indian growth story, it is challenging to provide access to right skills to the marginalized tribal communities living in remote and isolated areas. This initiative of KISS and UNDP will complement Government’s focus on providing skill development opportunities for all sections of society for faster and inclusive growth.

“We will bring together government, industry, private sector, training providers, youth, public representatives, NGOs and civil society in co-designing new skilling tools and scalable solutions to address development priorities in the tribal regions”, said Prof. Samanta after signing the MoU. It will lead to an enhanced access to quality, market relevant and area specific skill development programme and, importantly, align the training programmes with aspirations and competencies of tribal youths, he elaborated.

Among others Ms. Alka Upadhyaya, Joint Secretary (Skills), Ministry of Rural Development; Mr. Rajesh Aggarwal, Joint Secretary (A), Ministry of Tribal Affairs; Ms. Alka Narang, Assistant Country Director, UNDP and Ambassadors of various countries were present at the MoU signing ceremony. They highly appreciated KISS for this MoU.