Latest Projects

Dialogue series towards Reconciliation and Nonrecurrence

“A Sri Lanka where every individual can live peacefully with dignity, trust and no fear or suspicion, and enjoy equal rights”

In 2023, the Association of War Affected Women (AWAW) facilitated a dialogue between 7 Buddhist monks from all chapters and 7 Tamil diaspora individuals from different countries, with the aim of fostering greater collaboration and understanding between the Maha sangha and the diaspora groups, which was successful beyond our expectations and the group was able to come up with “Himalaya Declaration,” which outlines a shared vision for promoting peace, harmony, and reconciliation as well economic recovery in Sri Lanka.

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View the Himalaya Declaration in English, Sinhala & Tamil.

Photographs

Building upon the Nagarkot Dialogue – Working towards a pluralistic society in Sri Lanka

In December 2023 the joint signatories were able to officially hand over the Himalaya Declaration to His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka and the Most Ven. Mahanayaka Theros of all chapters in Sri Lanka, The most venerable Hindu Nallai Adeenam of Nallur Jaffna, His Eminence the Cardinal, The Jamaithul Ulama conference, Former presidents, Leaders of political parties, Hon. Members of the Parliament, Ambassadors and high commissioners to Sri Lanka of several countries.

Five two-day conversations were held with the aim of familiarizing 150 clergy of all faiths and civil society leaders from all districts of Sri Lanka, with the background and contents of the Himalaya Declaration, as they would serve as district coordinators responsible for disseminating its principles to the wider population.

See more – Journey of Himalaya Declaration

View the Joint Statement in English, Sinhala & Tamil

Resilience through innovation & creativity – Women taking leadership

Funded by London School of Economics. By the post COVID market survey done to ascertain the situation of the handicraft business, we found out that, the post covid situation in general has hit hard the handicraft market, but the economic crisis has hit it even worser due to the lack of tourists at the moment and the lack of capacity of the general public to spend on anything other than food. The immediate necessity was to enable the women to switch in to innovative and creative products which will have a ready market

This project was carried out in 4 districts namely Mannar, Kandy, Matara & Nuwara Eliya

ICAN: Road to Reconciliation, Hope, Dignity and Strong Democratic Institutions in Sri Lanka – Celebrating the Pluralistic and Diverse Nature of the Republic – With Special Emphasis on Gender Equality

Sri Lanka’s constitution is based on the pluralistic and diverse nature of the country, but this is being eroded through through the government’s autocratic nature. Funded by the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), we aimed to strengthen the grass root level work of women peacebuilders through peer committees, as well as working with key civil society leaders, religious leaders, trade union leaders, academics, civil society leaders, professional and women leaders through well planned strategic interventions, including advocacy and lobbying in a timely manner with important policy makers, increasing awareness of the general public of the importance of democracy and pluralism.

Through this project, we carried out a research study on “Access to services, identity politics and challenges for social harmony in the Sri Lankan periphery” A key finding of the study was the existence of Tamil Buddhists. We hope to dive deeper to further establish the historical evidence
of the existence of Tamil Buddhists which will not only prevent future conflicts in Sri Lanka, but also will pave the way for comprehensive reconciliation between and among all communities of this country. We were also able to create the Sri Lanka Collective for Consensus (SLCC), a group
of Key Civil Society members, who are committed to a Sri Lanka that is founded on ideals of pluralistic coexistence, human rights and justice. SLCC’s engagement with the government on Peace, Reconciliation and Human Rights is very productive, specifically because we are able to
share the reconciliation discourse of the country. Among our work we were also able not only contribute to PVE NAPS in Kenya and Indonesia but also to conduct Tots for women and University staff as well members of harmony centers on identifying and detecting signs of radicalization. A unity symposium “Accepting diversity and working for equality” was conducted.
Established 12 women peer committees in different districts of the country.

As a result of the people to people dialogue series towards Social Cohesion a group called “Awakened Citizens” was created (A group of clergy, academics, professionals, civil society and youth leaders who are committed to a peaceful Sri Lanka where all citizens will enjoy equal rights and work together towards a prosperous shared future.)

UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub

The project, funded by the London School of Economics with the scope of building social harmony through a series of activities on women’s economic empowerment and awareness building of new & emerging threats from the political environment and their on the ground realities. The main aim of this project is to bring rural women together across the divide to work together for a prosperous economy & build a shared future.

SCORE – Social Cohesion & Reconciliation Strengthening Good Governance & Democracy – Women Taking Leadership

In partnership with Global Communities, the aim was to reinforce cooperative relationships across divides and to increase the participation of women in peace and reconciliation processes. The project looked towards the advancement of women of all ages and all strata of life including rural and urban, women with special needs, and indigenous women. It trained women on the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda enabling them to take UNSCR 1325 to the grassroots, mitigating conflicts at community level and earning respect from the local population and enhancing their leadership. They were then able to address issues hindering the full advancement and equal participation of women, limiting the achievement of sustainable peace.

The Road to Reconciliation in Sri Lanka – Through Resilience building & Social Cohesion

AWAW in partnership with the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) aimed to build social cohesion by hosting activities in the community to bring diverse individuals together, raise awareness of the threat of radicalization and share knowledge of different groups in society. Additionally, with special emphasis on gender equality, the project  strengthened the grass root level work of women through peer committees as well as working with key civil society leaders, religious leaders, trade union leaders, academics, civil society leaders, professional and women leaders through well planned strategic interventions, including advocacy and lobbying in a timely manner with important policy makers, increasing awareness of the general public of the importance of democracy and pluralism.

Localizing SDG16 Plus -Women Taking Leadership

In partnership with GPPAC, we carried out workshops on Sustainable Development Goals for men & women of the plantation sector with the aim of highlighting the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for Sri Lanka, with the contribution from all segments and sectors of the society.

Enhancing Women’s Skills on Mediation & Conflict Transformation for Reconciliation Processes

The Association of War Affected Women created a pool of women mediators. These women were given training on gendered conflict analysis and conflict transformation. Concepts of conflict studies, conflict mapping, different models of negotiation and mediation, effective communication and negotiation skills. AWAW also launched the Sri Lanka Women Mediators Network.

Website link: https://swmnetwork.net/

National Peace Table – ‘Women do have a voice; the world should listen to it.’

Sponsored by Peace Women Across the Globe, AWAW held a National Peace Table in 2018 with the key purpose of highlighting the importance of inclusion of women at a time where Sri Lanka seeks to enhance its engagement with the international community and heal the wounds of the past. In the year following, 2019 we held another National Peace Table titled “Women do have a voice – The world should listen to it”, with the aim of enriching the Sri Lankan Reconciliation process utilising Local and International experience for women to play a central role of the process. It was titled after a quote extracted by the speech of Hon. Lord Tarik Ahamed at a reception hosted by HRH the Countess of Wessex to celebrate International Women’s Day at Buckingham Palace in March 2019.

‘She Builds Peace’ Campaign

AWAW in partnership with International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) launched a campaign ‘SHE BUILDS PEACE’ in 2020. The aim was to create awareness of the role of women peacebuilders and ensure better peace tools for women leaders. Cloth bags eblazoned with the ‘SHE BUILDS PEACE’ were handed out by women in their respective provinces to spread the campaign throughout the country. Again in 2021, we continued the campaign by bringing together women peacebuilders and subsequently they distributed umbrellas.

Strengthening Good Governance and Democracy – Women taking Leadership 

AWAW in partnership with DAI carried out workshops with the purpose of strengthening democracy and good governance in Sri Lanka by increasing women’s political participation, creating a strong network of 75 young educated women leaders from all areas, ethnicities, religions and most importantly political parties. The aim was to enable men & women politicians to advocate through understanding and awareness for the increase of women in governance structures of Sri Lanka.

Increasing Women in UN Peacekeeping

The Regional Seminar on Increasing Women in Peacekeeping was held as a follow up to the side event held in New York at the UN Head Quarters on 31st October 2017, jointly organized by the Canadian and Sri Lankan Permanent missions together with AWAW and ICAN.  This consisted of a combination of civilians and military personnel from the regional countries in South East Asia. Participants were from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal. The main aim was to discuss increasing women in UN peacekeeping missions.

The Road to Reconciliation

AWAW has carried out several activities on the topic of gendered transitional justice and reconciliation processes. Transitional justice and reconciliation processes are vital steps in the direction of sustainable peace. The project has provided an opportunity to discuss the Better Peace Tool (BPT) of ICAN to help ensure gender sensitivity in the design, substance and inclusion of all groups, especially women in the key components of the reconciliation process and to help determine the range of technical, political and financial resources needed for these processes.

Resilience through Innovation and Creativity – Women taking leadership

Project funded by Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). This project envisaged sustainable livelihood opportunities for women, to not only meet immediate needs but also to keep economic avenues open for the future. We aim to develop and replicate this project in the entire communities and district.