Gender and Land Rights Database

Sri Lanka

Civil society and indigenous people’s organizations advocating for equality of land rights

- The Agromart Outreach Foundation (AOF) was instituted in 1989 with the aim of supporting rural communities and empowering women in the agricultural sector. AOF holds a community-driven gender sensitive training to promote the sustainable development of rural women entrepreneurs in agriculture and agri-related businesses and mobilize their participation in development processes (26).

- The Centre for Women’s Development and Rehabilitation (CWDR), formed in 1991, is a grass-roots women’s organization working at the community level. The Centre organizes economic development projects for women, providing women vocational training and employment opportunities through the setting up and running of income-generating activities. CWDR currently has centres in every one of the eight Districts of the Northeast. http://tamilinfoservice.com/exclusive/art/2004/may1.htm

- The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is the largest people’s organization in Sri Lanka. It is based in Colombo, but has 34 district centres and is an active in almost 15 000 villages. The organization has engaged in the programmes to empower rural women set up by the Women’s Bureau. http://www.sarvodaya.org/

Local decision-making organizations and women’s representation in them

- Kantha Karya Sanvidanaya (KKS) and Pradeshiya Bala Mandakaya’s (PBM) are women’s societies set up at the village and district level by the Women’s Bureau, to improve the socio-economic status of rural women.
PBMs, established for a wider area, have the function of strengthening KKSs in their areas.
Programmes focus on health and nutrition issues, reproductive health, women’s rights and gender empowerment issues. Rural women are also encouraged to engage in income generating activities and receive training in financial recording. As of 1999, there were 3 200 such organizations in the country (17).

- The municipal councils have routine administrative powers. In addition, they may engage in development activities, acquisition of lands, plant, machinery and equipment.

- The urban councils have environmental duties and are authorised to maintain and regulate markets, like municipal councils.

- Pradeshiya Sabhas, rural local authorities, have powers similar to municipal and urban councils with regards to routine administration of their areas (5).

- Total membership of local authorities is 4 382. In 1991, of the total number of members, 55 were women. In the 1997 election, only 39 women were elected (5).

Legal Information and capacity development on land rights

- The Entrepreneur development Training, provided by the Agromart Outreach Foundation (AOF), is designed to encourage entrepreneurship in rural communities. The programme aims at developing technical and management skills to promote sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, agri-based small industry, credit and savings, environmental conservation. Since the inception, more than 40 000 rural people, 80 percent of which were women, have been trained under the entrepreneurship and economic literacy training programmes (26).

- The Progressive Women’s Front conducts consciousness-raising among peasant women through training programmes and seminars. http://www.sawnet.org/orgns/

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography