“Outsourcing” jobs from urban to rural locations in Sri Lanka

Firm: F. J. & G. de Saram, Lex Mundi Member firm for Sri Lanka
Client: Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunity
Issue: Setting up the Foundation, protecting intellectual property rights, and ensuring compliance support for rural youth

Business process outsourcing (BPO) has become a staple of our global economy, with corporations regularly sourcing assistance from other countries as a mechanism to cut costs or find additional qualified employees. The Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunity (FARO) is a nonprofit organization that uses the same to "outsource" work from urban centers to rural villages, giving young people better access to quality jobs without requiring them to leave the village.

FARO selects youth with IT knowledge to set up and operate businesses based on a framework established by the organization. This framework involves initiating business and technological infrastructure development through the establishment of a corporate customer base and job training programs. Once training is completed and there are clientele, the organization hands ownership and operational tasks over to village youth. The organization maintains strong connections with these outposts and continually provides mentorship to support high performance and good business governance after they have relinquished control. 

F. J. & G. de Saram, Lex Mundi Member firm for Sri Lanka, provided pro bono legal assistance to FARO on a number of issues including setting up the Foundation, protecting intellectual property rights, and ensuring compliance support for rural youth. With the help of the F. J. &G. de Saram, FARO was able to transform the once remote village of Mahavilachchiya into the first “e-village” of its kind with the highest density of computers and broadband internet connectivity of any village in Sri Lanka. 

The project has positively impacted the island nation by enhancing economic opportunity and increasing social stability as a result of the heightened levels of knowledge and entrepreneurship opportunities FARO has provided.