We are mobilising youth in Dikayaya village to replicate community action and broaden awareness, ensuring sustainability of our Social Media initiative Combating online violence against women and girls.
LakshikaPiyumali – Community Project Team leader, Dikyaya, Monaragala
British Council funded
To advance female empowerment by addressing violence against women and girls, through providing skills, confidence and networks to overcome challenges and contribute to their society.
Women and girls in Sri Lanka face key issues, such as a very high rate of domestic violence, sexual harassment, suicide, unemployment and early pregnancy, especially in communities below the poverty line in a post-war era troubled with drug and alcohol abuse. Our expertise working alongside local stakeholders has allowed us to select delivery partners with established strong community relations, making it easier for women and girls to participate in the project and gain positive outcomes.
This project consists of three phases: capacity building, active engagement in communities and preparation for sustainability. The interventions, workshops, community projects and social media campaigns are designed to engage men as allies, whilst strengthening the system with support services and service providers. Our unique Active Citizens delivery model is used to engage men, women and youth to identify issues within their communities and challenge attitudes on violence against women. We also worked with a civil society partner, Foundation for Innovative Social Development, and multiple district level partners.
Workshops, awareness sessions, dialogues and the ongoing delivery of community projects addressing VAWG have all had an impact. There has been direct engagement with 150 men, 150 women, 300 youth and 200 service providers across four districts. Active engagement of women over 18 for training is challenging and has been overcome by providing flexible timelines, easy travel arrangements and child-care arrangements. Facilitators adjusted language, pace of delivering and the type of activities accordingly.
200 women and girls have been recognised as community leaders, initiating interventions and solutions to address VAWG. 37 community projects have been implemented to raise awareness of VAWG; addressing issues including domestic violence, violence related to alcoholism and drug abuse, child/forced marriages, online violence of youth (girls) and female economic empowerment.
This project contributes economically, socially and politically to the prosperity of Sri Lanka, thus supporting the development objectives of the Sri Lankan Government; a key strategic South Asian partner to the UK government. UK expertise and models in gender and women empowerment are used along with local expertise to co-design the project. This helps to promote the UK’s ability to collaborate with multiple local partners, building trust at all levels and creating opportunities between the UK and Sri Lanka.