- Engendering Teacher Education
CENWOR intervened through the teaching –learning process to sensitise both sexes and empower girls and women as the education system has failed to counter effectively the impact of negative gendered norms that tend to limit the choices of girls and women, create barriers to the development of their full potential and disempower them. A teacher sensitisation programme was held to create awareness of gender issues as well as gender sensitivity among teachers as a strategy to promote concepts of gender equality in schools in order to produce in the long term more gender sensitive citizens.
Modules were developed in all three languages with the collaboration of teacher educators in University Faculties/Departments and National Colleges of Education (NCOEs)- incorporating gender issues in selected themes in core subjects in the teacher education curriculum. These modules were implemented on a pilot basis in University Departments and in five selected NCOEs. Five resource persons monitored progress in these institutions and suggested improvements in techniques.
The second round of monitoring was completed from October to December 2008 and the modules were revised and finalised on the basis of feedback obtained from the monitoring exercise. They were printed in all three languages and were presented to policy makers at the National Institute of Education, the agency responsible for curriculum development, at a workshop in May 2009 and were accepted for incorporation in the teacher education curriculum.
As a second step, curriculum materials on gender issues were developed to be used in the area of Civics and Life Competencies in Junior Secondary education grades (Grades 7 and 8) as complementary materials and also as a basis for activities in the classroom to make children aware of concepts of gender equality and equal gender relations in the family, school, society, employment, political participation and other such facets of life. The ADG, NIE responsible for the curriculum has agreed to incorporate these materials in the curriculum materials sent by NIE to schools and teachers. All the activities in this programme have been funded by UNFPA, Colombo.
- Engendering Census 2011
CENWOR has been promoting the use of more gender sensitive interview schedules in the Census survey to surface more comprehensive and realistic information pertaining to the current situation of women in Sri Lanka, particularly as the Census is the largest and most representative national survey. Consistent advocacy resulted in the Department of Census and Statistics seeking the services of an external consultant to assist in engendering the Census 2011.
CENWOR contributed to the process by organising a meeting of knowledgeable and gender sensitive persons to participate in a discussion with the consultant at CENWOR. Subsequently CENWOR provided expertise to the workshop organised for the consultant to sensitise members of the staff of the Department and for participants to examine the Census schedules critically from a gender perspective.
Subsequently CENWOR together with Dr. Raja Korale, Director of Census in the 1980s and 1990s submitted recommendations to the Department. It is expected that the Census Enumerators’ Manual is to be revised for the training sessions of enumerators. CENWOR will engage in a media programme in early 2011 as was done before Census 2001.
- Engendering Housing Laws
Housing in law Sri Lanka is regulated by State laws that apply to both allocations of State land for housing, and houses inherited or acquired by private individuals. Discriminatory legal provisions applicable to ownership of private houses are derived from family law governing succession/inheritance, and matrimonial rights. These discriminatory aspects of family law have also influenced laws and policies on State law. CENWOR together with other women’s NGOs has prepared a lobbying document highlighting the urgent need to reform the that have a bearing on house ownership.
- Establishment of a National Commission on Women
CENWOR subscribed to a letter sent by the Sri Lanka Women’s NGO Forum (SLWNGOF) to the Hon. Minister/ Ministry of Women’s Affairs with a copy to the President, Prime Minister, Secretary to the President and Secretary to the Prime Minister.
- Treatment of Mothers who Refused to let the LTTE Recruit their Children
CENWOR subscribed to a letter sent by the SLWNGOF to The Prime Minister.
- Welfare of Migrant Workers
A letter drawing attention to the need to ensure the safety of Sri Lankan migrant workers in the event of war in the Middle East was sent to the Secretary/ Ministry of Women’s Affairs with copies to Chairman/SLBFE, Secretary/Ministry of Labour and Secretary/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Sexism in Advertising
Letter sent to SLWNGOF regarding the sexist advertisement (Daily News - February 5, 2003) and urging the Forum to protest and lobby against such degrading advertisements.
- War on Iraq
Subscribed to a statement initiated by the Social Scientists Association (to be sent to the Prime Minister)
Sri Lanka Women's Ngo Forum (SLWNGOF)
The Sri Lanka Women's NGO Forum (SLWNGOF) consists of over fifty women's organisations working on gender issues. It has a Committee of eleven and a co-ordinator elected by the general membership.
The Forum initially functioned as the Sri Lanka Women's NGO Forum for Beijing and was set up in 1993 to co-ordinate activities and disseminate information relating to the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women – the Beijing Conference. The need for a permanent body to monitor women's issues resulted in the continuation of the Forum for Beijing as the SLWNGOF.
The main objective of the Forum is to function as a lobbying and advocacy body on women's concerns at national, regional and international levels. Its main focus is to popularise the Beijing Platform for Action in particular raising awareness on women's issues and rights in Sri Lanka and ensure its implementation.
The committee members SLWNGOF are
- Centre for Women's Research
- Kantha Shakti
- Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum
- Ruk Rakaganno
- Sri Lanka Federation of University Women
- Sri Lanka Muslim Women's Conference
- Suriya Women's Development
- Voice of Women
- Women and Media Collective
- Women Education and Research Centre
- Women's Study Circle
- Political participation
- Gender Based Violence (GBV)
- Law reform
- Peace building
- Gender mainstreaming
- Savitri Goonesekere
- Kethakie Nagahawatha