This project will focus on empowering 100 women heads of household in eastern Sri Lanka, who were widowed during the 30 years of civil conflict. Many of who are ex-militants. Major components will include equipping women with the knowledge and skills to develop small businesses to earn and income and provide for their families and become self-sufficient, and strengthening the gender based violence desk to help these women report cases of violence, and gain the support required to rehabilitate.
30 years of civil war in Sri Lanka left many women widowed, especially in the North and East. Women who have now been thrust into this role do not have the education nor skills to be able to provide for their families - resulting in a total of 25,732 women-headed families in Batticaloa alone living under the poverty line. Ex-militant women are worst off. Many of these women have suffered abuse due to people preying on their vulnerability and have limited support to report or combat this abuse.
Women would be mobilised into groups and provided with skills development and training. Through forming cohesive groups, the women would be able to support one another and collectively negotiate. Through the skills they develop, they would be able to begin small businesses through which they would be able to support their families. Strengthening the gender based violence bureau would give women a safe space to report cases of violence without facing social stigma, and seek legal action.
The project will directly impact 100 women through the provision of training and skills development, and mobilization into women's groups. Through the initiation of their small businesses, these women would no longer live below the poverty line and would be able to provide for their families' nutrition and education. Over 500 women would be indirectly impacted through the strengthening of the gender based violence bureau as a strong functioning bureau would deter cases of violence against women.