Sri Lanka: giving women a voice

Following years of conflict in Sri Lanka, HI implemented a project with the support of the US Department of State to increase the involvement of women, especially women with disabilities, in the country’s reconciliation process.

The civil war [1] that raged in Sri Lanka for more than 20 years resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000 people and the disappearance of thousands more. Today, nine years after the end of the conflict, a process of national reconciliation is under way in the country. However, very few women are involved in this process, especially women with disabilities.

From 2015 to 2017, with the support of the US Department of State [2], HI identified self-help groups, local women’s organisations and community leaders in Sri Lanka, in the northern regions of Kilinochchi, and Kandy in the centre.

Our teams provided them with information on inclusion and disability issues, to ensure they are able to represent their members and influence decisions made as part of the reconciliation process, to make their daily activities (micro-credit and self-help groups) more inclusive of people with disabilities, and to help them take part in national round-table discussions with local authorities responsible for this process.

These organisations have also made recommendations on ensuring public policies take greater account of the needs of women, especially women with disabilities.

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