Strengthening Community Resilience Through Women-Led Networks – Colombo

CSR Lanka organized a workshop and a panel discussion on “Strengthening Community Resilience Through Women-Led Networks” recently at the Lighthouse Auditorium and Lawns. The workshop facilitator was Professor Kamala Liyanage, who is a Professor Emeritus, University of Peradeniya and Independent Gender & Human Rights Consultant.

The panel discussion was conducted by an eminent panel comprised of widely known professionals who are actively working towards peace and security of women in the country namely Dr. Sulochana Segera, Founder/Chairperson of Women in Management in Sri Lanka/Maldives and Canada.  Ms. Kshyahla Pinto-Jaywardena, motivational speaker and peacebuilder with a passion for empowering and enhancing leadership capacities in women and Ms. Wimarshana Ranasinghe, a peace builder, a facilitator and a certified trainer of Creators of Peace-Women Peace circles. Mr. Rizvi Zaheed, the Vice Chairman of CSR Lanka moderated the panel discussion.

The objective of this workshop was to empower women and to provide understanding that women have great power and ability to keep the society together and they are great change agents for peace and reconciliation. Having that as a core objective CSR Lanka organized the workshop to improve & strengthen women, to create positive change and provide pathway to reintegration which would create better environment for everyone in the country. At the workshop, attendees received the opportunity to get trained in women’s leadership for social cohesion, sexual and gender-based discrimination & harassment, value and impact of women’s role in peace building and establishing security in the country, safety & security of women and girls, legal protection, national laws & mechanisms with international protection. At the end of the workshop attendees volunteered to participate in a training program of counseling which will train them to become change agents in peace and security. The conducted workshop was one event out of other serious of programs in “Women Peace and Security” a project which is supported through N-Peace small grant scheme.

Commencing the workshop, Professor Kamala Liyanage said that women around the world have been successful peace builders because women are agents of change and their participation will draw attention to critical economic, social, cultural and political issues which are often root causes of violence. Sustainable peace progress must address imbalance of power which causes conflicts. Equitable inclusion of men/women in decision making of peace building and establishing security is a must for sustainable peace. She also stated that many civil society organisations lobby/ advocate and raise awareness against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual Harassment, Action Plans have been created and International Forum against GBV being organized, but still few women plays a role in decision making in peace processes – (2018) women made up 3% mediators, 3% military peace keepers, 4% signatories, 13% negotiators also in law making (2019 Feb.) – 24% in national parliaments; 12 Head of states and only 20.7% women cabinet ministers.

The forum was well attended by employees from reputed organizations who are members of CSR Lanka, Entrepreneurs and other members from various NGOs. At the end of the session participants had the opportunity to share their thought and interact with speakers.