This project is an income generation program implemented as a pilot project in Thirukkovil in the Ampara district. The main goal of the project was to empower women economically and help them lead a dignified life. It further aimed to reduce the social ostracism of widows and create community level, rights based mechanisms that challenge the social norms which they are forced to abide by in Sri Lanka. The process also facilitated mainstreaming of widows into the national economic discourse through the active leadership of economic empowerment.
The general objective of the project was to increase female headed household income and improve living conditions in rural communities in Sri Lanka and assist those cut off from their sources of employment and social services, through the empowerment of women as wage-earners and the creation of jobs.
The specific objectives of the project was,
- To provide women with vocational training in tailoring, and managerial & technical capacity building to enable them to run a business;
- To provide women with basic equipments to start a job and support them to become organized in community-based working units to effectively manage and run their businesses;
- To establish women’s associations to represent women’s interests, provide them with technical, administrative and logistical support and promote their products in the formal market.
The implementation of the project activities commenced in February 2013. Thirteen widows were selected and given training on sewing. They were provided with necessary equipment after the training. A steady empowerment of these women would help to change the perception of widows and enable them to lead dignified lives. Thus this project enabled widows to become agents of change.
The activities under the project can be summarized as,
Identification of women
The geographical location for the activity was Thirukkovil in Ampara. 13 women from Thirukkovil were identified for the program. The identified women were widows and they belong to Tamil ethnic minority.
Formation of a Women’s Association
A Women’s Association was established including the 13 women and the field coordinator. The field coordinator acted as the agent between these women and the organization and other stakeholders.
Ancillary courses on women’s rights, gender, budgeting and management
One day workshops were held on Gender and women’s rights on 16th and 17th February 2013 in Thirukkovil. On 18th and 19th February 2013 a two day workshop was held on budgeting and managing a business for the women in Thirukkovil.