Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) supports a series of workshops for rural women’s groups in Galle on compiling recommendations for a written submission that was submitted to the Public Representations Committee (PRC)
Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) supported the Rural Women’s Front (RWF) – Galle in organizing a series of 10 workshops in the Galle district to create awareness and increase rural women’s participation in developing recommendations to be submitted to the Public Representations Committee (PRC). This initiative was supported by TISL through its ‘Electoral Integrity Project’ funded by the European Union and was organized and facilitated by the RWF in the Galle district. These workshops were initiated with the objective of empowering rural women, increasing their participation and ensuring that their concerns are represented and addressed in the new constitution making process.
The Rural Women’s Front is a long standing community based organization, working in several districts across Sri Lanka for more than two decades. They are predominantly an activists group advocating for women’s rights and, their work mainly focuses on the empowerment of rural women in dealing with various socio-economic and political grievances.
This series of workshops were held in Wanduramba, Beddegama, Palligoda, Kalegana, Gonapola, Akmeemana, Neluwa Mabotuwana, Bope, Poddala and Galwalagodakanda areas with the overall participation of over 300 rural women. Each workshop was conducted with the support of resource persons with expertise in the field of political science and constitution making processes. The participants were given a basic introduction to understanding what the constitution is and its significance and importance to the citizens of Sri Lanka and to rural women in particular. This process was followed by group activities where the staff of RWF along with the resource persons initiated discussions in smaller groups. During the small group discussions participants were encouraged to discuss and identify problems and grievances that they face and then rephrase these problems as recommendation to the new constitution. The recommendations were presented verbally by each group at the end of the workshops and were compiled and documented by RWF in developing a written submission to the PRC.
Key recommendations agreed upon as follows;
- livelihood of rural women. Including agrarian, land, water and fishery.
- Women in foreign employment.
- Women employees in free trade zones.
- Women engagement in fishery
- Violence against women
- Women and girls in Tamil and Muslim ethnical communities.
- National reconciliation.
- Fundamental rights including women rights.
The recommendations compiled through these workshops were presented to the participants and members of the RWF at an event held in Galle Fort on 8 March 2016 in celebration of International Women’s Day and was subjected to a vote of approval by all its members. A copy of the compiled recommendations was later submitted to the PRC on 10 March 2016, where Lal Wijenayake, the Chairman to the Committee and Winston Pathiraja, the Secretary to the Committee accepted their submission.