Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Sri Lanka
With funding from USAID, we are implementing the Increased Demand and Engagement for Accountability (IDEA) activity to support CSO work on national and local governance issues and to build capacities of CSOs and networks. IDEA builds on work initiated through MSI’s previous Supporting Professional and Institutional Capacity Enhancement (SPICE) project to support women’s local networks in preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV).
Through a grant focused on supporting local women in reporting cases of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV), the Muslim Women’s Development Trust (MWDT) revived SGBV forums.
The forums grew to include representatives from non-governmental organizations, government bodies, medical officers and more across the district.
With activities including awareness raising with the police, parents of survivors and a range of service providers have played a pivotal role in strengthening responses to violence against women within the local Muslim communities.
Affected Women’s Forum (AWF), a SPICE grantee, first initiated a GBV taskforce in 2014 in the Ampara district to bring together government officials and representatives of women’s organizations and other civil society organizations (CSOs) to address the alarming prevalence of violence perpetrated against women.
“….We, as government officers, are now able to support women who have faced violence more effectively,” explained Rafana Abdul Razak, a member of the local Task Force. “Now, with the help of other organizations, we are providing our services in a collaborated manner.”
With activities including a youth forum, AWF also developed a vibrant pool of young leaders and activists to advocate against and respond to violence against women and child abuse.
Samithamby Saraniya, a 17-year-old student, emerged as a young, human rights activist after participating . “After learning about women’s and children’s rights, I can identify women’s issues and incidents of child abuse and I am also influencing my friends and their families,” shared Samithamby.
Under the SPICE project, MSI similarly worked with local civil society organizations in the Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Matara and Anuradhapura districts to address GBV through forums.